Judge Dredd // “The Wrap-up” by Arthur Wyatt, Tom Foster, Chris Blythe, and Annie Parkhouse
A cache of treasures left over by Judge Cal is the setting for this short mystery. Strange things are afoot and Dredd must investigate the disappearance of several Tek Judges. The link? A sarcophagus of unknown origin.
Foster and Blythe have created a dark appearance that befits the rather spooky happenings. Characters are full of detail and Dredd’s iconic helmet is depicted rounder than many current incarnations, giving it a more ‘classic’ Judge Dredd feel. The result is modern with a hint of nostalgia.
As stories go, Wyatt has created a simple setup that is a lot of fun with plenty of dark humor. It ticks along nicely with action and mystery and features a typical Dredd ending that is perhaps even cheesier than normal. This leaves you with an inner-groan rather than a smile, akin to an aged relative telling a joke from a Christmas cracker. One-liners are common, but the cheese factor is perhaps a little too much in this case for some.
Brink // “Skeleton Life” Part 18 by Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, and Simon Bowland
Holy shit! We’re greeted by a shocking event at the start of this part that hints at the terror of things to come (that we probably don’t fully appreciate just yet – though Kurtis’ history gives us a good idea).
INJ Culbard has been amazing throughout and this part gives a rich and detailed backdrop to a very serious and dark conversation. The content and lighting in these panels is dark, but the imagery on the walls behind the two characters is full of beautiful landscapes with birds in flight and wind-swept trees. What great contrast this is.
We’re at the conclusion of Dan Abnett’s sci-fi saga that has spanned 18 weeks. It’s been a hell of a journey and this final part tears at our nerves and sets us up for more.
Those who have enjoyed Brink “Skeleton Life” a.k.a. Book 2 (there will be many of you), you’ll be pleased to know that Book 1 is out as a graphic novel in September of this year.
Greysuit // “Foul Play” by Pat Mills, John Higgins, Sally Hurst, and Ellie De Ville
A large introduction is provided that gives a highly compressed history of Grey Suit and its principal character, John Blake. The strip has a hell of a history and although this intro will make your head want to explode with info, it provides much needed backstory.
Higgins and Hurst have created an interesting, almost period art style that wouldn’t be out of place in a 90’s Vertigo graphic novel. It does, however, contain rich detail and colouring with beautiful moments such as large explosions or that fantastic waterfall in the final panel.
Part 1 hits the ground running and features plenty of action mixed within dialogue that will bring you up to speed. The dialogue itself is bonkers and Zil (a Russian Greysuit) is an eccentric baddie who’d be right at home in an X-rated spoof of a James Bond movie. This is funny in parts, if not a little over the top, and it may not appeal to everyone. If you like a touch of comedy with your action (and indeed violence) to break up the usual deadpan spy genres (e.g. Jason Bourne), this will be enjoyable!
Grey Area // “Border Ops” Part 1 by Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, and Annie Parkhouse
Grey Area has been present for a number of weeks and it looks as though we’re getting a multi-part saga starting now! An operation is underway to stop a criminal group transporting Grey Area residents outside the facility. Squads 7 (under Grell) and 86 (Bulliet) are moving in to surprise the traffickers giving a tense clash of opposing politics and morals as the two squads try to work together.
The abuse of alien species is a theme, as is hatred and xenophobia. Grell is positively abhorrent towards alien species and treats his fellow alien squad mates with equal disdain, stopping short of physical harm by narrow margins. Abnett has taken common derogatory terms wielded by ignorant social media users (such as ‘libtards’) and integrated them into the conversations. This, as well as the story and content, makes everything relevant and poignant to the point of stirring anger towards those who commit these fictitious hate crimes.
Mark Harrison’s artwork is stunning as usual and really is distinctive and fresh, leaving us to soak up the detail and unique character designs while we enjoy a great story.
Hunted // ” Furies” Part 7 by Gordon Rennie, PJ Holden, Len O’Grady, and Ellie De Ville
A lot has happened since Part 1 and the Traitor General has managed to dodge or otherwise twist his way out of several assassination attempts. He’s still standing but the two mercenaries are on his tail. “Hunted” truly is the word and the pressure is applied almost every issue.
PJ Holden gets to grips with some full-on action and deadly weapons tech designs. The environments are bold and detailed which sets the scene for brutal deaths and gory effects, while creating exciting moments thanks to great angles and fluid movement. The interior of the station is full of graffiti and grime with Len O’Grady’s colouring giving atmosphere to darkened chambers, bright corridors and areas with red alarm bulbs flashing.
Gordon Rennie delivers a gripping ending which will leave you in shock as another great part leaves us eager for more.
Prog 2041 is yet another great issue with balanced titles keeping the issue fresh and interesting. The calibre of work every week is joyous to read and 2017 continues to be a fantastic year for 2000 AD readers.