After disappearing for a few months to champion the rights of puppets in comics, save the rainforest and knit tiny jumpers for kittens with alopecia, Richard slopes back for a very long winded and unsurprisingly sweary look at prog 1900. The issue that hits the shops today!
The more eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that after going from regular to semi-regular to non-existent on the ECBT podcasts I’ve also not had anything much to do with the website for the last few months after a few years putting up two or three posts a day.
Few reasons for this. The first being that I got bored of the associated bullshit that comes with any nerdy venture and the inevitable fanboy factions that arise. Some people seem to seek out and thrive on keyboard warrior confrontations, I don’t. Life’s too fucking short and at the end of the day it’s only comics. It’s a hobby not my life.
The second reason? Since the last jumping on prog I’ve kinda fallen out of love with 2000AD.
As I’ve said in the past, 2000AD is a mixed bag which is to its strength. Some strips you love, some you like, some you don’t care for. It just so happens that the recent run of progs have been filled with stuff I don’t really care for. Dredd has been the old faithful and as dependable and entertaining as ever but the rest of it? Not to my taste. Brass Sun and Yaegir, while apparent fan favourites have done nothing for me. Aquila has looked great and had some cool moments of over the top action but isn’t really my type of story and Black Shuck and Sinister/Dexter…. well, for me, the less said the better. I’m not saying any of it was bad or badly done but I couldn’t really play cheerleader when I wasn’t enjoying 4/5 of the comic myself.
So, what I am taking a stupidly long time to get to here is that I’ve gone from someone running a 2000AD website to being a lapsed fan, if not reader, who is sort of this prog’s target audience. I was still picking it up but the next half dozen or so issues were really down as make or break for me. And this was worrying. I have a Judge badge tattoo for fuck’s sake (thank you again Michael Carroll and your badger software) , if I go off 2000AD I’m screwed.
No pressure then 1900.
Kicking off with the cover, that’s some iconic looking shit right there. Everything from Dredd himself to the logo screams that this comic means business and isn’t taking any fucking prisoners. Big striking image that’ll look as cool on internet thumbnails as it does on the shelf.
Well this was pretty much perfect wasn’t it? For the newbies it’s a very similar setup to the Dredd movie with no prior knowledge needed. For the old school it’s looking like a vertical version of the classic Pit story. Dredd needs to clean up a city block with limited resources….GO.
It’s a great opening chapter setting up the story and rattling along and while I’ve cooled a bit to Ezquerra’s Strontium Dog art and especially the colouring this is classic 2000AD and I pretty much loved everything about it.
The last two pages of tiny panels which were the equivalent of a movie montage showing how much Dredd is dealing with rocked and for some reason I really liked them showing how Dredd works with others particularly the Judge Post operative calling in backup and Dredd’s “Okay this time but make sure you clear it with me in future” reply. Like the cover this is all business.
As I’ve said before I’m not in the “If it’s not Wagner it’s not Dredd” camp but it’s stuff like this that still lets you know that while others have shown themselves more than capable of taking up the reins if necessary, he is still the main man where Dredd is concerned.
I bought the first trade of this. Loved it. Since then though I’ve kinda gone off Ian Edginton’s writing. Red Seas never worked for me and I genuinely can’t see why everyone seems to like Brass Sun… which pisses me off as I know I must be missing something. Yeah, it’s the new Cradlegrave.
So, of the three in this issue this was the story I was hesitant about but you know what? It was brilliant. Cool air of mystery, tho like many I have my own theories as to where it’s going, and I even enjoyed the penny dreadful Victorian dialogue that’s the writer’s mainstay. I’d forgotten how funny his dialogue can be and the banter between Stickleback and Delor… Mr Punch was genuinely laugh out loud material. Or for the kids amongst you…LOL.
Do I have to tell you the art is amazing? Well this is the internet where stating the fucking obvious REPEATEDLY seems to be the norm (punching baby seals is bad by the way people) so….. the art is amazing. Even during the last arc which I wasn’t in love with the artwork was still a thing of stunning beauty. Married with a script this good though? You can’t go wrong. Actually makes me want to re-read the last Stickleback to see if it works better for me the second time round. Am pretty confident it will.
Well this is one strip I don’t think I’ve ever read a bad instalment of and this issue’s slice of Gene Dog doesn’t disappoint. Epic, action packed, amazing looking, everything you want. A total contrast both in tone and style to the preceding strip but equally entertaining.
Of the three this one is probably the most, and I REALLY don’t mean this as an insult, low brow. It’s just an action strip that feels suitably wide-screen, surround sound and IF YOU DON’T STOP RUSTLING THOSE FUCKING SWEET WRAPPERS I’M GONNA PUNCH YOU. I said earlier 2000AD is a mixed bag. This prog and this strip highlight this. It’s a mixed bag of style but not of quality.
Fave of the bunch? Not gonna pick one. Not an also-ran amongst them.
Am I all enthused and looking to jump back in the deep end being of 2000AD fansite webmonkey-dom? Nah… see reason one back at the start of this. That said I may well chip in with the odd review as I do miss doing the retro prog ones at two in the morning and if the progs keep this quality it’ll be a pleasure to fanboy out about them.
Am I excited to read 2000AD again? Fuck yeah, and not a moment too soon. And the best bit? Next prog is all this with added Grey Suit and Ichabod Azrael. Everything about this issue screams “BUY THE NEXT ONE”. The rest of you may have been loving the last few months of progs and if so, good on ya! For me though the thrill power is back in force.