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Review – Prog 1927 (2000AD)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Rebellion
Writers/Artists:
JUDGE DREDD: ENCELADUS By Rob Williams & Henry Flint
ORLOK, AGENT OF EAST-MEG: THE RASPUTIN CAPER By Arthur Wyatt and Jake Lynch
SLÁINE: PRIMORDIAL By Pat Mills & Simon Davis
GREY AREA: JUST ROUTINE QUESTIONS by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison
STRONTIUM DOG: THE STIX FIX By John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra
Release Date: 22nd April, 2015


We’re in deep now, folks. 4 progs into the current refresh, characters are getting fleshed out, and stories are beginning to unfold. So is 2000AD able to sustain its high standard, or is it just stuck in a holding pattern?

JUDGE DREDD: ENCELADUS By Rob Williams & Henry Flint

Continuing to explore the interim between the events of “Titan” and this, Williams and Flint make a bold decision to exclude Dredd altogether from this issue. It works extremely well, however, as it serves to humanise our villain all the more – after all, the rogue judges fail because they are entirely human. Bringing in one of the great, grisly aliens, the reptilian Klegg is also more than just fan-service – it’s a potent means to drive forward the narrative. This is a brilliant story with dynamic, arresting (sorry) artwork and is on its way to confirming its place as the next truly great Dredd epic. Worth the cover price alone. (For more about this, check out Jules’s interview with Rob Williams)

ORLOK, AGENT OF EAST-MEG: THE RASPUTIN CAPER By Arthur Wyatt and Jake Lynch

You need a good romp in 2000AD, it’s in the rules, I swear. But this is no daft caper, as the title implies: instead, it’s a slice of retro heaven, like all the 80s Cold War progs we knew and loved. What works particularly effectively is here the story gathers pace, which is not only good for this but as part of the prog as a whole – as an editorial decision, it balances out the stories in the issue overall. With Orlok getting his man, and dealing with the competition, we find ourselves again rooting for one of the Megaverse’s ultimate villains, and ending on a wry smile doesn’t hurt either.

SLÁINE: PRIMORDIAL By Pat Mills & Simon Davis

It’s really unusual to have another more cerebral issue of Slaine, one that’s heavier on the dialogue (though still absolutely lush on the artwork) and taking the time to explore the character in depth. It’s a bold move from Mills, whose gritty, grinding, pacey narrative style has become part of his signature from classic ABC warriors to the more recent Savage. This could almost be meandering, but instead it serves to embed the character’s uncertainties, which acts as an effective counterpoint to the splattering ultra-violence that we expect (and hope for), ratcheting up our anticipation. It’s a great way into the broader story – as long as it delivers next Prog, which it surely will.

GREY AREA: by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison

A pet hate of mine is writers who try to express character boredom through boring their reader (as seen in Harry Potter Goes Deathly Camping, for instance). It’s a truly gifted writer who can express frustration through the mundane, and my admiration for Abnett has only increased in the course of this. By separating the story into mini-narratives on a prog-by-prog basis, it also serves to emphasise the abject, pointless wait that the characters are faced. Coupled with art that manages to make shower scenes appropriately mundane, rather than titillating, together Abnett and Harrison make the apocalypse that’s approaching the characters all the more awful as they are so utterly powerless to affect their situation. It could be dire – instead, it’s funny, infuriating and compelling.

STRONTIUM DOG: THE STIX FIX By John Wagner & Carlos Ezquerra

Again, this is about pacing. We’ve had a lot of laughs in what is ultimately a very dark chapter in the life of Johnny Alpha, as you’d expect from the dream team. However, they know when to turn it around: again, not only to the benefit of this story, but for the Prog as a whole. Like all the best mutie stories, this has a strong Old West vibe, and feels as if we’ve entered the next act of a classic Western, with lone gunman Johnny entering the frightened inbred town for an unwinnable showdown. It’s an absolutely glorious, technicolour romp that’ll make you reach for the sky.

2000AD just keeps getting better. With Free Comic Book day just around the corner, do yourself a favour and get stuck in.

Rating 5/5.


SAMDAVThe Writer of this piece was: Sam Graven
You can follow Sam on Twitter


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