Publisher: RebellionWriter(s): John Wagner, Pat Mills, Ian Edginton, Peter Milligan
Artist(s): Colin MacNeil, Leigh Gallagher, Inj Culbard, Rufus Dayglo
Release Date: 30th September, 2015
So I have a confession to make; I’ve only read maybe a handful of progs in the 10 years I’ve been reading Comics as an adult. I feel like a fraud! I’ve read a few Dredd tpb’s and flicked through the more famous stories, but the structure of the issues themselves has always put me off, much in the same way that standard 22 issue comics put me off when I first started collecting.
Not sure what’s changed. Maybe I’m more of a grown up, maybe it’s because 1950 is a “jump on” issue, maybe I just clicked with the stories that were in this book, or maybe it’s just that I have a soft spot for anything that Peter Milligan or Rufus Dayglo do (nevermind together!). So here we go: Prog 1950 review.
Purely going from some kind of store I have in the back of by brain, I know that Colin MacNeil is as much of a Dredd Legend as John Wagner, with both of them bringing such an effortlessness to their storytelling that it’s clear why this was chosen to be presented in a jump on issue. The story itself is intriguing, with the apparent resurgence of a “Serial Serial Killer”, and the laughable death of a Magician. With some genuine humour, it was more lighthearted than I thought it was going to be, which may have had something to do with Colin MacNeil’s art. Sitting somewhere between the staunch seriousness of what I would expect from Dredd, and the art in British comics I grew up reading like The Beano and Dandy, there’s a smooth clean feel to his work that makes the pages flow so easily. There’s also something to be said for how little is actually given in these few pages, and yet you’re instantly sucked into the story, grabbing for more, like all good murder mysteries should be.
Now this is what I expected from a Prog, a straight shooting Adult Horror. With graphic detail about why people were put to death, as they rise from their graves, a family in apparent bliss, and the title splash page, I think I might grow to like this one. There’s something very classical about Leigh Gallagher’s approach to the art here, with clean detailed line work and stark black backgrounds, setting the tone in an instant. With a keen eye for detail in the characterisation, showing so much raw emotion in the faces of characters, you feel for them the second the threat kicks in (hardly a spoiler, did you really think it as going to be like Family Values?!) To top it all off, was the a cleaver with a gun on it?! Seriously?! I want one. Is there official merchandise?
What the Hell did I just read?! Like something straight out of Mystery Science Theatre, or Twilight Zone, we follow Wren and some sort of Construct (?) as they run away from big spider-leg looking things that turn people into Cube-people, trying to find *something*. No idea what was happening for most of it, but when it all took a strange Matrix turn of events, I found myself going back to the beginning to read it again. With a very European style to the at work, and character pieces straight out of my nightmares, it was damn enjoyable.
This was pretty much the main reason I picked up the Prog, thanks to Rufus on social media, and the fact that Peter Milligan was on writing duties, and frack me, the splashes and general chaos on the page did not disappoint! After the initial kaleidoscope and cacophony, though, there’s actually a strangely heartfelt tail about what can happen when war ends. Peter Milligan manages to touch on a sensitive subject about what happens to soldiers when there’s no war anymore without it seeming cheap or tacked on, with the aid of the art from Rufus and Jim McCarthy creating a beautiful Sci-Fi setting around his words. Now as someone that has had no prior exposure, I’m sure this story will come as a shock to many, and the gravitas of it can certainly be felt as it always can when a massive change is made to a status quo. That being said though, at no point did i feel like I’d missed a vital piece of information, and can’t wait to dive into the back catalogue to find out just how we got to this point.
So there we go, I’ve managed to read and review my first Prog. The last time I read an issue, it was a digital copy, however, this time round I went to a real-live shop and got a paper copy from a real person! I’m happy to report that having an actual *thing* in my hands, helped suck me into the rabbit hole further. My other half and my bank balance might not like it, but I’ll be along for the ride now, for as long as I can hold on.