Jumping on Prog!!! This review is brought to you in partnership with that great writing lubricant, Navy Strength Cannonball Edinburgh Gin, and the letter “F”. Luke takes a look at the latest attempt at attracting new and lapsed readers. And you know, spoilers. But it has been a week – if you haven’t read it yet, where have you been?
2000AD Prog’ 2150
Review by Luke Williams
So, what about that cover by Joseph Michael Linsner eh? The latest big (ish) US artist to contribute to the Galaxy’s Greatest. All very 1990s. Linsner is incredibly talented, but his art is slick. Perhaps too slick for the prog’ in the way that Weston and Bolland can carry it off so elegantly. It’s nice and its eye catching, but Joe D looks like he needs a teeth grinding guard, when the clear intention is that he’s looks grim and determined. Cass’ doesn’t look much different from JMLs “Dawn” character, rocking Farrah Fawcett flicks, but her expression and pose is that she is having one of her “heads”.
I was sold on this prog’ the moment I heard Wagner and MacNeil were on Dredd. The fact that a very prominent cast member who has been around an awful long time is throwing a seven is not going to come as a surprise, but what I am bit disappointed at is how quickly “they” are dispatched, no 6 page homage like “Death Of A Hero”, having said that I defy anyone not to be moved. Suffice to say, it got a bit “dusty”
I’m not crying, YOU are.
A sequel to their last story “Machine Law”, Joe, Beeny and a Mechanismo Judge head off to the robot ruled state of Guatemala. Expect lots of faux Spanish dialogue in the next prog. MacNeil just rocks, full-stop. And as much as Dredd has been pretty good lately, no one writes Dredd like Wagner. I don’t want this to end, even if apart from a significant supporting cast member’s demise, nothing has happened yet.
Skipping past the new subscription offer and financial dilemma of moving from the manageable monthly sub to an annual subscription to get the disproportionate reward of a Dredd poster prog’ and a badge, we get “Hope… “the tale of a PI in an alternate universe where the supernatural and magic exist. This latest instalment explores Hope’s past and his time in the armed forces which is coming back to haunt him. Guy Adams who should contribute more to the prog’, I get the feeling that i was the one person who liked his Ulysses Sweet series. Jimmy Broxton is all haunting grey tones and intricate detail; beautiful art. Their “GoldTiger” didn’t get enough love. I love this, but I have a feeling it needs to be read in one sitting
“Brink – Hate Box”– between this “Lawless”, “Wild’s End” and “The New Deadwardians” the reception to Abnett’s output went from a round of indifference from me, to eagerly anticipating the next strip (with one exception – see below). Earth is dead, and the remnants of humanity are living in huge metal tubes in outer space, breathing in their own recycled farts under artificial sunlight. The focus shifts here from Bridget to a newbie Tunde Weyowa of the Habitat Security Division, something is amiss at Salma Habitat, and it doesn’t look like the greenhorn fumbling of Tunde are going to reveal it. If I have any criticism of Culbard’s clear, clean art is that occasionally it’s difficult to tell his characters apart, but not so much anymore, certainly not as much as it is Brass Sun. The extended gaps between strips don’t help those with a middle aged. TMOs summary is insufficient – but it just means I have to go back and reread one of the best of the new generation of strips in the prog’.
“Future Shocks: Restructuring”, by Karl Stock and Will “Friday Rogue Trooper and Game of Thrones” Simpson. I have missed Simpsons’ art, I loved his water colours on Dredd and RT. “Future Shocks” have improved over the last few months, but this one kind of loses its way and the message gets a little muddled, – or perhaps dementia has set in early with me. Still, good to see Simpson back in the prog’.
“Anderson” –This has a feeling of déjà vu about it, with Anderson investigating a perp impersonating Judge Death. Not much to give it credit for, other than rising star Jake Lynch’s art, which for some reason remind me of Jim Bleach. His gangly figure work and page layouts are great, the story itself is humdrum and Alan Grant is capable of more than the odd allusions to a (faded?) Hollywood star of the 90s. Anderson says she’s known Judge Death for 40 years, and yes that’s how old this feels. There is only one panel you could really show from that strip isn’t there?
“Defoe” -sad to see Colin MacNeil not sticking with the strip, his B&W painted work is exquisite and apposite for the world Mills and Gallagher had built. Mills has run clockpunk the extra mile, shooting for the moon – quite literally. New boy Stewart Kenneth Moore rocks the Kelley Jones / Bernie Wrightson stylee with a touch of Charles Burns and Shaun Thomas via Photoshop. The text on the opening page is migraine and eye strain inducing and the art is occasionally distinct, but quite happy with guns, zombies and spaceships. “Defoe” is where Mills is still shows interest – mad and occasionally impenetrable, but this is some of his best recent work. Keep him away from “Nemesis” revivals and meandering “Slaine“4 book painted epics and on crazy stuff like this.
“Zzzzinister Dexter” up next. I’m sure I’ve used that joke before, but that seems appropriate as nothing seems to move on here. Whatever limited interest I had in this strip has long since evaporated. Well past its use by, it’s really about time this was wrapped up in a hail of lead, or I’d settle for a full stop. Abnett is wasting his talent here, why TMO continues to commission this is beyond me, hands up who is still a fan? Steve Yeowell and John Charles slick art doesn’t save it, though he has brought a consistency to proceedings. I’m past caring; let them go out in a blaze of glory – but for Christ’s sake make it interesting. And no, you can’t have a scan of a panel to accompany the review.
Kek W and Dave Kendall’s’ “Fall of Deadworld” rounds things out. It is well crafted, Dave Kendall art is occasionally indistinct, but creepy, gory and disturbing and he’s come a long way from his Psycho Killer. The series could suffer from spin off syndrome; sometimes its better not to fill in a back-story, better it remains a mystery. This is being spun on too long now, but it has been done well. Appearances by a bizarrely corpulent Mortis geeky references to long dead mid nineties Meg’ strips only add to the appeal. I’ve never quite understood the some of the raving fanaticism about this but it is good stuff.
So, all in all a very long winded way of saying,”yes, that was good prog’ with only a little bit of filler”. Good relaunch Mighty One.
Excellent ‘all-new thrills’ prog although I kinda wish John Wagner and Kek W had worked together to bring us the Fall of Deadworld. I struggle to consider it canon material. I’m not a huge fan of the series.
Highlight is Judge Dredd but a special mention goes too… Will Simpson. Wow, a real blast from the past. He was given the job of updating Rogue Trooper with War Machine back in 1989! Hopefully he can do a new strip with some of his distinctive colour artwork. Example below:
Looking to the near future, I think Matt Smith is going to start the 2020s decade with many new thrills. I think we may be entering a major new era of 2000 AD with lots of new characters. Exciting times ahead.