Combo review written by Kevin Foakes
Can the Meg pull level with Toothy’s current 6 to 5 lead? After the trouncing it gave the Prog with last month’s incredible issue 350 will it continue as strongly?
Cover: Dredd by Ben Willisher
Pretty standard fair with the film version of Dredd’s outfit getting an outing instead of the comic one. It’s all very dark with little detail on the gun at all which suggests a bit of a rush in the colour dept. Verdict: Standard Execution…
Judge Dredd -Dead Zone pt.2
Wagner and Flint continue this journey into the Cursed Earth and (again) I’ve got nothing but good things to say about this. The dialogue and art is top notch as Dredd methodically goes through the motions of his investigation. Not sure why he isn’t using a lie detector and why he’s going easy on Aldrix, possibly because it’s glaringly obvious that there’s more to the scenario than meets the eye and he’s teasing it out of them rather than going in like a bull in a china shop? The development with the invisibility bracelet down in the mines was an unexpected turn, I’ve probably missed this but is it something from a previous story line?
Great art and layouts from Flint as usual, you get a sense of exactly where you are in the camp and the flashback scenes are handled seamlessly inside the narrative. The two panels where Aldrix says of the radlanders, “but we have no jurisdiction over them” to Dredd’s, “I do”, is pure classic Wagner Dredd.
Interrogation: Guy Adams
Seven pages is a lot to go into for a writer who’s done little for the world of Tharg and it’s nearly two pages in before we even get to the writing stage of his career (he was an actor before picking up a pen). Some of the piece only serves to highlight what a random old game of chance writing seems to be for Adams and it didn’t do him any favours in creating a mystique about his art.
Lawless: Welcome To Badrock pt.2
I’m loving this, the character building and art is great even if there’s the occasional oddity in the anatomy dept. with Winslade’s art (Lawson’s posture in the chair). I’m liking the quirks of character with the Marshall, the ‘let’s converse’ line cropping up repeatedly and the same closing image as the end of the first episode of her walking out of the room, hopefully something that will continue. No f-bombs this month either and I like the wild-west in space vibe of the whole thing.
Man From the Ministry – pt.4
Nope, can’t get into this, it’s not bad, just not my bag and up against very strong competition at the moment.
Interrogation: Neil Roberts
Four pages on Roberts’ work which, technically proficient as it is, I’d never once registered. His Warhammer work seems pretty great in that ‘Clint Langley heavily worked with computer’ style but, going by the examples of his strip art, his strengths lie in the singular cover image.
Second Psight: Three pages trailing the new Anderson comic from IDW, most interesting because it partially explains Carl Critchlow’s sudden disappearance from comics before his recent return on the final episode of ‘Trifecta’. I read the first issue of Anderson last week and it’s well worth the plug with Matt Smith on writing duties and Carl on art.
Dredd: Uprise pt.2
OK, so ‘Uprise’ is a future version of ‘Anonymous’ and given that groups like Total War have had a devastating impact on the City before let’s hope that Uprise do more than camp outside and throw threatening slogans around the internet. Paul Davidson’s art is still fabulous even if the page layouts can be a little lacking the dynamism of someone like Henry Flint’s. Too early to see where this is going but it’s got a solid team on it even if this week’s episode was pretty word-heavy.
Another strong issue from the Meg despite 14 pages of text features – favourite is Dredd: Dead Zone, closely followed by Lawless.
2000ad Prog 1895
Cover: Dredd by Jake Lynch
Now this is more like it, like the Dutch angle on the image and also the colour palette – a nice rough style with no-nonsense Dredd on bike by Lynch. The main logo has been inexplicably moved down to add a couple of strap lines and part hidden behind the image – it’s almost as if to say, “this is just taking up space, we don’t need it, let’s just hide part of it”. Not a classic but works far better for me than the Meg cover.
Judge Dredd: Cascade pt.2
This is shaping up pretty well, the traveller-returned-to-their-homeland-to-find-everything-changed given a new twist. Given that I’ve read the episode after this and the end reveal was something that I don’t think anyone could have seen coming it seems that there’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye in these opening chapters. Marshall’s art is decent if a bit clean and Caldwell’s colours a little on the pastel-y side for my tastes but it all sits well and I’m a fan of the black backgrounds behind panels.
Aquila: Carnifex pt.6
Rennie is ramping up the death count and the horror with demonic babies and electrified gladiators and the blood continues to flow. The head count is almost irrelevant now as we’re waiting for the double-cross and Nero’s ascension to god status (or not). As historical pieces goes this is decent enough as the horror and fantasy elements are enough to keep it interesting in the same way as Defoe’s adventures but, along with Slaine, that’s enough for me in a sci-fi anthology that I’m buying primarily for futuristic content.
Brass Sun: Floating Worlds pt.8
It’s slow and the art (as I’ve said before) is woefully inadequate but I’m still reading it…
Black Shuck: Pt.5
… which is more than can be said for this. It rarely happens that I have such disinterest in a story that I stop reading it midway (actually, no it isn’t, Sinister Dexter recently is one example). I’ve paid the cover price for the Prog, I may as well give it all a go – but by part 3 I was so bored to tears by the setting, dialogue and art that I knew I’d be wasting my time reading this for the sake of it.
Jaegir: Circe pt.3
This is everything I want in a future war story, Coleby’s excellent art driving things along and the fleeting glimpses of Rogue keeping up the intrigue. I do hope his appearances will come to something within the tale as I feel the characters are strong enough to exist without him being needed. Rennie’s take on the Nort side of things is pitched perfectly and his fleshing out of the Nu Earth world with things like Chem-bars is very welcome, love the psyche-out ending too. I hope this runs and runs as there’s plenty of scope with this team on the strip, I always thought Coleby’s original run on Rogue was a highlight of the return to the old version of the character.
It’s a tie between this and Dredd for story of the issue.
Even with only four strips to the Prog’s five the Meg is still stronger this month and takes the wins to an even 6/6 mainly due to the increasing lack of sci-fi content in 2000ad. Dredd and Dredd’s world is at an all time high with three Judge-related strips in the Meg and the main in the Prog all being strongest. The Meg still has far too much text-based content though which can come across as padding with the copious amounts of ads in amongst the pages.