We have a brand new Judge Dredd story from Rob Williams & Chris Weston, a new story of Grey Area by Dan Abnett & Mark Harrison, and this Prog is also an issue of revelations as two of the ongoing stories answers our questions.
Judge Dredd // The Fields Part 1 by Rob Williams, Chris Weston, Dylan Teague & Annie Parkhouse
The opening page for this story is full of chaos, mayhem and interesting characters. It sums up Judge Dredd and Mega-City One perfectly thanks to Weston and Teague’s artwork. A truck being hijacked by some heavily armed perps are on the run from an H-Wagon looming above them. The crazed violence and frenetic escape is given a large centre panel containing plenty of action and characters.
Overlayed is a monologue from Rob Williams that is calm and gentle while all hell breaks loose on the roads of Mega-City One. The story then begins to pick up pace as a rookie Judge Higbee and veteran Judge McVay are on scene to pick up the pieces from the hijacking.
Back to the art: it’s brutal, interesting, and often haunting as the aged lines on many characters depict a haggard and venerable life. The detail and shading shift from the brightness of Judges Badges to the dim of a hab interior effectively and match the story brilliantly.
This story hits us hard and anyone reading will be instantly engaged. The ending is also a hammer blow that’s going to leave people crying out for the next part.
Brink // Skeleton Life Part 13 by Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard & Simon Bowland
Are you ready? Have you been waiting for answers? This part’s got ‘em for you!
This part is faster paced than other segments and there’s a lot to get your head round as the plot gets smashed open and Dan Abnett’s witty characters and twisting plot reach new heights.
Other parts of “Skeleton Life” have been focused around investigation and conversation. If you take the entire story thus far, it has built and built while introducing some fantastic interaction between the various inhabitants of the Galina Habitat. The reader now gets panic, confusion, and action as Kurtis and Gibrani are hot on the tail of the conspirators.
Running at 13 issues however, has it outstayed its welcome? Some of the parts have been, well… kinda slow. Pacing as a whole is probably pretty much perfect, but we’ve reached part 13 and we only now find out what’s really been going on and as revelations go, they could have hit harder than they did.
That said, the ride isn’t over and you can expect fun, effortless dialogue and that wonderful art style from INJ Culbard.
Defoe // Diehards Part 10 by Pat Mills, Colin MacNeil & Ellie De Ville
Now the true enemy has been revealed, we discover the twisted reasoning that may leave the reader somewhat sympathetic towards the character. His sense of failure and worthlessness drives him and regardless of his plight, his actions must be atoned for.
Pat Mills brings us down to earth with a thud as most people will relate to the feeling of rejection at some point in their life. Writers might relate to this more than most it could be argued, which is why this story will speak so personally to many. Some of the best works of sci-fi and fantasy bring the reader home to values and situations that they can relate to. This part deals with human weakness and the consequences of taking extreme measures. Yeah, it’s a zombie comic, but there is always an undercurrent of reality running throughout it.
The art from MacNeil is grubby and dark as has been the defining style of this series, yet manages to convey desperation in the face of the characters. The dark lines and the whites that never quite feel ‘white’ give a sinister style to all the panels with a haunting graveyard, sinister torture devices, and some pretty cool looking weaponry.
Defoe and Gallowgrass are back again next week.
Grey Area // Back in Black Part 1 by Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison & Annie Parkhouse
Dan Abnett is a fan favourite among many and he is able to twist his style within the sci-fi genre with effective results. From the outset of this story we meet real-world themes and 2000 AD never shy away from topical events and subjects. In this case, immigration.
If you’re familiar with the title, you’ll know the scale of previous events. If you’re new to the title, fear not. Tharg’s synopsis gives you enough information to jump in and enjoy.
Mark Harrison’s artwork is unique and extremely detailed which plays beautifully to the sci-fi setting and time period. Characters are unique, clothing and armaments are distinctive, and the backdrops… oooh the backdrops! They are stunning. From orbital space to a giant crater and fallen vessel on earth, you will be in awe at the detail.
The story is full of larger-than life characters (with some great names e.g. Resting Bitchface) and the lines are slick and edgy. There is also a fantastic ‘tooling up’ scene as the ETC squad members suit up for duty. It’s almost akin to the Aliens scene, as the colonial marines suit up and set about their mission with lighthearted bravado and in-jokes.
This is one to keep an eye on because if it continues as it has begun, we’re going to be in for a lot of fun.
Hunted // Furies Part 2 by Gordon Rennie, PJ Holden, Len O’Grady & Ellie De Ville
Hunted is set early in the world of Rogue Trooper focusing on Rogue’s nemesis; The Traitor General. It is somewhat of a prequel as it tracks The Traitor General during his rise to even more nefarious status, having been responsible for wiping out all but one of the Genetic Infrantyman (Rogue). It picks up as many different parties attempt to hunt him down for the various atrocities he has enacted.
Part 2 thrusts the two protagonists Mr. Brass and Mr. Bland into the thick of a deal that’s gone south and builds to another offer for their information. They’re rapidly becoming very popular on Nu-Earth leading to Rennie’s great comedy timing on dialogue and set pieces, while creating a somewhat likable pair of arseholes that make a great read.
PJ Holden and Len O’Grady bring this title to the page in glorious detail, vivid colouring and quirky characters that will leave an impression. This second part is full of crazy action, horrific scenes and some truly menacing atmosphere. The surroundings, the clothing, the equipment, and the weaponry are illustrated in fine detail and with a superb sense of dynamic. The colouring matches this with plenty of bold hues and shading without detracting from the forms Holden has created.
This is good. It is VERY good. Read it.
This Prog serves pretty well as a jumping-on point with two new story arcs and while you’re at it, pick up Prog 2034 to catch the first part of Hunted. With a long-running Brink nearing its conclusion, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens next, but it certainly has been a long journey with Kurtis. An enjoyable one, for sure, but it does feel like a long one.
2000 AD Prog 2035 is available now in stores, online and digitally via www.2000adonline.com.