2000ad Prog 1912
Review by Seth
So, that’s the Prog 2015 shenanigans out of the way. All the special shiny bits of the end of year prog’ are put away until next year. But should I have even had this less than a week after 2015? Has someone in the Nerve Centre stuffed up in sending this out 1 week after the release of the end of year special? Does it really matter?
On with the prog’.
Behind a spiffy, suitably mean and very alive looking Orlok drawn by the fantastic Mr. PJ Holden are five rather strong strips.
Episode 2 of Judge Dredd “Dark Justice” opens with a stunning page of Anderson being tormented by the Sisters of Death. The expedition director’s log describes the colonists’ progress on their galactic journey – oblivious to the tell tale signs of their supernatural stowaway. The art really is lovely, and Wagner is taking the time to build up the tension.
In “Savage” the Volgan forces surrender, but allied commanders are keen to quell any potential dissent from the resistance leaders. Howard Quartz (who looks remarkably like a high profile British entrepreneur with eyes set on space) crosses swords with Bill Savage. Art wise it can’t be faulted. It’s hard to decide who does the best black and white art in 2000ad at the moment, is it Patrick Goddard or Leigh Gallagher. Goddard provides clean, highly detailed linework with expressive faces. Brilliant. This, along with “Defoe”, is Mills’ best strip in 2000ad. It’ll be interesting where this goes next. I have suspicions we’ll be heading toward “Third World War” territory.
“The Order” is shaping up to be a mix of supernatural fantasy with a bit of science fiction. It turns out that the robot head in a knight’s helmet thing can take over recently deceased cadavers – gruesome, but what the hey. Meanwhile, we get to hear more of Anna’s background. John Burns produces some great work here, far better suited to a swashbuckling tale than something like “Sinister Dexter” (is there anything that can save that now?) and Kek W keeps up the action. Quite cool so far, and better than “Black Schuck” was at this point.
“Ulysses Sweet”’s bloody quest to find his old psyche chip continues with a psyche chip designer reluctantly in tow. Forces high up within the psyche chip manufacturing company are set to take advantage of the blood bath, resolving some boardroom rivalry, and the director of the company has set 4 sets of hunters on the tail of our hero – 1 pairing is just a bit wrong really. Paul Marshall is ideal for this kind of strip, the art compliments the slapstick and occasionally ribald script provided by Guy Adams. Not sure how often this joke will work, but for now it works for me.
“Orlok” for the uninitiated is the East Meg agent who had been a thorn in MC1s side for many years since spreading the “Block Mania” agent which led to the “Apocalypse War”. Cutting a long story short – Orlok is very, very dead – and this is set in the past. Orlok’s mission to Sino Cit goes wrong, and upsets the top brass back in East Meg One which doesn’t bode well for his future. That’s the problem with this kind of story, you know that Orlok won’t die (at least not for a while yet), it removes some of the suspense. I was a tad sceptical of this, but it’s a pleasant surprise. I haven’t felt that Arthur Wyatt’s other work has been unmissable, but this is pretty good and he seems to have Orlok’s ruthlessness down pat. Jake Lynch’s work is far better here than in “Sinister Dexter” (which I know is getting a bit of a kicking from me), it looks like a cross between early Mike McMahon, Boix and Phil Hester. It’s quite old school.
Last year the Prog’ started strong, but was on a bit of a rollercoaster for the rest of 2014. This is an encouraging start, hopefully they’ll maintain the quality for 2015.