No line up changes from last month, behind a striking, if tad murky cover from Clint Langley.
Al Ewing and Ben Willsher’s (ably abetted by Adam Brown’s colours) intriguing Dredd tale “The Cop” reaches episode 2. Reading like a Philip Marlowe story, characters double crossing and triple crossing, dense and intriguing with no sign of Old Stoney face himself. Ewing crafts a noir ish tale, and far more interesting than “Dark Justice” in the weekly. Willsher is occasionally flashy, but a great action artist, stylish with some interesting camera angles. Hopefully, we’ll continue to see him in the the Prog’ and its siblings even when he is drawing “Martian Manhunter”.
“American Reaper” plods on, and I mean plods. I hate to be negative about this, but god it’s dragging.
It doesn’t help that the art is so dark and murky that I can’t tell what is going on, just makes it all a bit of an…. effort. It’s like we’ve gone back 20 years. Moody? Yes. Decipherable? Hell no. Not one of Pat Mill’s best, especially when you consider what Savage has been like in the weekly (well, up until “Grinders” anyway – seems a bit rudderless). Still, like I said before – I just know I’ll pick up the collected edition, perhaps it’ll read better in one hit.
“DeMarco PI” wraps up surprisingly early. After last month’s Yeowell / Townsend art mash up, I’m glad to see Yeowell back on his own. Townsend is a good artist, but his heavy inks swamped Yeowell’s delicate and wispy pencils – it wasn’t a good fit. Story wise, this is just a means of setting up a new status quo for our flame haired ex Judge PI. Insubstantial and disappointingly slight. Mike Carroll is capable of far better than this, his work on DeMarco is yet to turn the character around and make her an essential read. Another unnecessary spin off?
Art honours this month go Lee Carter, beautiful full colour rendering in “Angelic” – Pa Angel’s origin story. I have mixed feelings about things like this. I tend to think that Wagner should write these kind of strips, he created the characters after all. But I’d question why you need them at all. Mystery is sometimes more interesting than fact. The guys was nuts and evil – why do you need a reason why he turned out like that? Why spoil it with history? Having said all that, it’s a great Cursed Earth strip, Rennie script is suitably gritty and reads like a latter day western.
Extras : Nice Willsher double page spread of Dredd’ versus the Dark Judges, he’d have been a good alternative to Staples .The “Interrogation” this month is with Roger Langridge – long term readers will remember him from the early days of the Meg’ – “the Straitjacket Fits” – not the greatest strip ever, but he went onto greater things – I can recommend his “Snarked” series for Kaboom! The best “Interrogations” are where the creators are candid, Langridge doesn’t disappoint.
I dreaded (ahem) the freebie this month. Mike Fleisher, Steve Dillon and Kev Walker’s reboot of the “Harlem Heroes” as a 21st Century “A Team” who in their spare time play a bit of aeroball, kind of like how a GP plays gol, but, you know, with limbs being broken.
This is the tenous tie with the original incarnation, other than that it bears little or no relation to the Tully/Gibbons strip. I remember reading this when it first came in the prog’. We’d recently had the peaks of “Necropolis”, “The Horned God”, “Zenith Phase III”, “Rogue Trooper War Machine”and then we had…………. this.
Debuting in the same prog as “Armoured Gideon” (which thankfully, almost neutralised this drek), “Harlem Heroes” (1990 version) is where the rot of the nineties first took hold. Reading it now, 25 years on, it isn’t the worst thing that has appeared in 2000ad (that’s another Fleisher series, “Junker” – and if they republish that, then they really are scraping the barrel). Cliched plot, painful script, but glorious art. The worst thing about it is that it continues next month. And there was more to come, a Siku drawn run before the strip was finally put out to pasture, or more appropriately, the glue factory.
A mixed bag, but it’s been worse.