Review by Richard Mc
Well that’s a thing of beauty isnt it? Been a fan of Ben Templesmith since first reading 30 Days of Night. Not just a great cover but one which will catch they eye of casual American readers so ideal for a book like this which should serve as a stand alone sampler of all things 2000AD. Kudos to whoever thought of/arranged this. Couldn’t be better.
Judge Dredd : Sorebone –
Felt more like a Tales from the Black Museum than a Dredd but enjoyable stuff. Liked how the guy was pretty much faking it then just when the real monster was due to appear Dredd pops up and blows him away. Was slightly confused at the end. Are they just doing the classic end of horror film jump scare? And should I know what’s in his hand? Anyway, nice one and done with suitably horrific artwork.
Rogue Trooper : The Feast
Bit of a weird one in which we go on a mind trip with a drugged Rogue. Firstly Lee Carters art is brilliant and any whinges we might have had back in the Necrophim days about his characters looking a bit stiff have now gone way out of the window. This really is beautiful looking stuff.
The story was a good one and I really enjoyed the mirroring of what was going on in Rogue’s head against what the bio-chip boys were discussing out in the “real” world.
Enjoyed it but not as much as the Rogue in the Summer Special which, from memory, was by the same writer and would have been a much better fit in what I’m taking to be a horror themed issue. That said if Rogue does come back I think we’ve found our writer.
I had a major problem with this, one which almost stopped me writing a review of this issue as I’m very aware it might just be MY problem not one with the strip.
The first thing from the writing team on this I heard was a Doctor Who audiobook which I really enjoyed and reviewed on here. Now it might be because of that, and probably is, but to me this felt like a rejected Doctor Who comic pitch, reworked to fit into 2000AD as an original property. Yes, it’s another “strong female lead” ™ , but really… it’s pure Doctor Who, right down to the psychic paper. The story itself felt like the last ten minutes of Matt Smith’s debut and the only switch is that the proposed companion (their word not mine) is going to be a bit of a Remington Steele.
The question mark at the end makes me think there’s a few more Who scripts waiting for “and when everyone leaves we’ll reveal the assistant is really the Doctor” additions and…. yeah. Couldn’t get that out of my head all the way through and spoiled the thing for myself. I’ll move on but will say…. you know what? Fuck it. 2000AD was built on a thinly disguised Bionic Man “tribute” so what the hell. Oh, and the art was REALLY good.
Terror Tales : Phantom Pains
Really nasty little horror story that felt very British and had the cool thing going on where at the end you still don’t know if it was all in the guys head or not. Great artwork, tight storytelling, nicely done. If these shorts are still testing grounds for new talent then it’s a hell of an audition.
Defoe : Frankensteiner
A bit different in that it deals with an ongoing strip but as its a prequel and possibly a one and done we can just read it for what it is.
I’m a Defoe fan so totally worked for me. Not too sure of the physics involved in him getting someones gun off them whilst in stocks and NOT getting bitten but Defoe has always felt like a bit of a renaissance action movie so I’ll go along for the ride. Any excuse to get some of Gallaghers gorgeous black and white monster art in there. Pretty sure I read the next Defoe arc is going to feature him as a younger character so hopefully this means it isn’t too far off.
Anderson Psi Division
Story first. The use of the video game I’ve seen before but it was so well done in such a short space and the twist that it was a bullied kid just trying to scare off his tormentors was a really nice touch as was Anderson’s verdict at the end. Grant really seems to be enjoying writing Anderson lately and damn does it show.
And the art? Holy fuck! Don’t know where to start as I loved everything about it. Great expressions, a cool looking Anderson, messed up horror elements and loads of cool stuff in the backgrounds. I mean… did you see the Lawmaster bed? Awesome! It was a brilliant issue but the combo of art and story on this last one made it the pick of the bunch for me.
So….. not a dud in the bunch and this time a cover worthy of the contents. Only the one I had problems with but again these were probably more about what I was reading into it. It was just me, right?