Strictly Kev presents another Prog vs Meg battle, this time Prog 1882 vs Meg 348
Tooth vs Meg 9
With the Prog and Meg finally on equal footing at 4 all which will fair the best in this month’s (admittedly rather late) face off?
2000ad Prog 1882
Slaine by Simon Davis, the universal praise with which Davis’ work has been greeted on Slaine is justly deserved and here he conjures up a lush wraparound cover with more foliage than we’re used to seeing in the war-torn dystopian landscapes usually associated with the comic. Great anatomy, a fantastic swing by the giant who may be knocking Slaine down or is he dodging the blade limbo-style? The fact that he’s still in one piece suggests the latter. Fabulous.
Dredd: Shooter’s Night Pt.4
This has been a decent enough romp with John McCrea’s art full of life, interesting angles and he draws a good rugged Dredd. His style is a little too loose in places for my tastes and the big heavy parallel line fills can make it look a little rushed sometimes but overall he’s great although his Hershey in the last panel looks a little more alien than human with those big black eyes. I liked the way the newscaster got Jimmy Zane’s name wrong even after all the previous comments he’d made for people to get it right. I do wish, like others, that we’d get more post-Day of Chaos stories rather than these ‘old Dredd’ type ones which seem to be treading water out of the established timeline until we get to the meat but the forthcoming ‘is Dredd losing his mind?’ story looks like it will plug that gap.
Indigo Prime: Perfect Day pt.3
This is fairly slow moving and the opening chapter had all sorts of teasers which may or may come into play later, with Smith at the helm you can never tell. Unthur is an interesting character but Danny seems to be weirdly modelled on some sort of Danny Dyer character and comes across as a total dick. In fact some of the dialogue in this is terrible, Major Arcana going, “Ewwwwwwwwww” and then – from the way the speech bubble is drawn – shouting ‘GIANT MONSTER SEX!!” – OK, we get it. Great panel of the two er… getting down to it but it’s the only exciting thing that happens in what is essentially an episode of chat. The reveal of Schroeder’s daughter at the end is very creepy though, very Lolita. Lee Carter’s artwork is hit and miss for me, he handles the cgi effects and aliens well but his humans can seem a little stiff and I’m not a fan of the smooth skin shading he does.
Slaine : A Simple Killing part 9
I think this will eventually be seen as on par with Bisley’s ‘The Horned God’ work as Davis is pulling out all the stops to craft something of earthy beauty. His colour palette is spot on with the organic roughness of Slaine’s world mixed with the lush green countryside and regular bright red spurts of blood that splash the pages. Mills is back on form with some great one-liners from Slaine (“bite the earth with your teeth”) and the genuinely funny speech-impaired/drunk Drune Lord and I find I’m enjoying Slaine again for the first time in years. The first page is beautiful to behold and kudos to Davis for leaving space, something all too rare in comic pages eager to fill every inch with detail. The second page is a joy to behold with its lack of panels and multiple angles breaking up the area. The Lords conversing over the battle with the giant rather than one of those ‘let’s dialogue with pithy one-liners’ was a relief and that last splash page of the beheading should see Davis winning awards at some point. The only panels that confused me were on the third page where Slaine jumps to attack the giant and it looks like he’s swatted straight back down again. We don’t see the axe swing though and surely if Slaine had been swatted by it he would have been dismembered or at least badly wounded? Still, a minor grumble in a wonderful 5 pages.
3rillers: Colony pt.3
This is basically The Thing with a Russian post-WWII setting isn’t it? Not a bad thing but quite transparent, the art is good, the colours are spot on and it resolves perfectly as stories of this kind should with the wordless final panel of the alien prisoner in the box. The image of the train speeding towards the sunrise was particularly beautiful too after the horrors the escaped duo had been through, thinking their troubles were behind them. Not the stand out of the Prog but an above average 3riller.
Outlier: part 9
Getting bored with this now, one-dimensional characters in a story I could care less about. Carcer seems like the most ineffectual bounty hunter ever and the art is functional at best. Not a fan
Top story: Slaine by a mile
Cover: Dredd by Glenn Fabry
Now that’s a cover, great image, gorgeous colours and strikes of classic Dredd / 2000ad covers of old. Some points lost for the dodgy leg of Dredd tucked underneath him which appears to have somehow twisted between knee joint and ankle at an odd angle but even more lost for the obscuring of the ‘egazi’ in Megazine in the logo. Do artists not follow the templates any more? No respect for the masthead.
Dredd: Rad To The Bone pt.2
Amazingly Dredd isn’t brain damaged after that punch to the helmet last month (or is he???) and the opener with the smashed respirator is pretty nasty. Cook’s artwork is decent but there are still too many yawning blank beige backgrounds for my liking. I am liking his Hershey with severe Louise Brooks bob cut but the reappearance of Smiley is odd, what does he do all day? just pop up clutching his tea when needed for a scene of internal turmoil / dialogue? The Judge eagle badge as page layout was a nice idea and the cliff hanger image is classic, the story is so-so but I’m enjoying it enough to to want to know what happens next month each time.
Interrogation: Mark Buckingham
Fairly interesting 7 pages on Buckingham who has only had minimal links with 2000ad in the past but has a career long and interesting enough to warrant the space at least. As I’ve said before, when an artist or writer has 20-30 years worth exploring then I’m fine with these sort of interviews even if the links are tenuous, it’s the newbies used as filler that feel like a waste of paper. Even a revisit of some of the older artists first covered with a catch up on what they’ve done since would be welcome.
Tales From the Black Museum: …and Death Must Die.
Suitably dark black and white artwork by Jake Lynch makes this tale of a serial killer looking for kill thrills in a broken city a great read. He decides to kill Judge Death and seemingly finds him just by locating the coldest point in the city (!?) The Death stabbing moneyshot is great but his one-liner comeback is even better and we learn that Death has pity (although it could be argued he’d had that before with Mrs Gunderson). Not a bad little tale with a major villain at it’s centre no less.
The Man From the Ministry Pt.1
Don’t know what to make of this military chasing UFO’s series yet, Kev Hopgood’s retro B&W art isn’t doing much for me and reminds me of Mach 1 more than anything else. Too early to tell
New Comics: 2000ad Summer Special
A four page ad for the relaunched SS, the cover of which is contender for worst of the year, if not the decade, if I were a newbie I’d steer well clear of that on the shelf – they must have been desperate. With a cover like that they need to do all the promo they can I suppose and the Rogue Trooper and Robo Hunter art looks incredible enough to sway me to pick this up and check out some of the new talent.
One-Way Ticket by Jonathan Green
A decent conclusion to this text story with a great 1 pg illustration by… who is it by? Why don’t people credit artists / photographers / illustrators / writers? That’s just plain laziness these days.
The one-page teaser for the Wagner/Flint Dead Zone strip has got me very excited as this is the Dredd dream team about to blow minds again no doubt.
Anderson : Dead End pt.6
This is starting to pick up at last and Anderson gets shirty with Dredd after the ‘safety shot’ incident. His dialogue here just seems off and I’m surprised with Grant writing it, ‘we started so we’ll finish’ and ‘somebody’s gotta look after you’?? He’s more of a bit part player here and a pretty ineffectual one at that.
Another thing, when they go checking out the Fire-raisers why doesn’t Anderson have any sort of probe / premonition when they open the door to Tevoit that he’s got a fireball behind his back? I notice he blasts them and they both manage to survive whereas the poor sap on reception gets a well-aimed fireball to the head as does Dredd later with a lawgiver-melting volley.
Anyway by the end Dredd is down but Tevoit hasn’t made sure he’s out yet (sloppy) so there’s still time for him to recover and turn a water cannon on next issue. So-so story-telling from a veteran that can do better, the art is good but can suffer from lack of background detail in the interior scenes.
The less said about the Janus floppy the Meg came bagged with, the better…
A hard one to call on this head to head, I prefer the Megazine’s cover to Toothy’s but only just and they’re fairly evenly balanced at the moment with hits and misses. I think 2000ad takes it though this time as the Meg has double the pages and is only just measuring up, the Man From the Ministry has yet to prove itself and there was some filler with the summer special piece. So 2000ad pulls into the lead for the first time at 5 wins to 4 but we have the Meg 350 ‘jumping on’ issue coming up with Wagner and Flint and THAT Bolland cover to look forward to.