Alex Ronald’s front cover is a different subject matter to that which we’ve been used to recently as Greysuit makes its way to the front. It might have roots in sci-fi, but make no mistake, that cover sums up the action perfectly.
Judge Dredd // “Ouroboros” by Michael Carroll, Paul Marshall, Quinton Winter, and Annie Parkhouse
Taking a break from the standalone stories, we have the first part of a new series. We kick off in a nightclub where an undercover op is underway and the sting is foiled by an unknown party. Michael Carroll gives us some classic Dredd belligerence and attitude with some very funny moments assuring a smile on your face.
Paul Marhsall and Quinton Winter present some great panels (night clubbers in panda costumes had to be fun to illustrate and colour) which suit the tone of the story perfectly. Dredd’s chin is suitably mean and the reds of the helmets are enhanced well to improve his overall look and presence.
For existing Judge Dredd readers, you’ll get a reward from the ending as a familiar face appears to mix things up for Dredd next week.
Grey Area // “Border Ops” Part 2 by Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, and Annie Parkhouse
Starting with an intense gunfight erupting across the opening page, the action is thick and the dialogue is witty and often funny (despite the tricky spot squad 86 find themselves in). This is perhaps one of the best things about this title; it doesn’t matter what subject Dan Abnett is tackling, it is executed with levity rather than a bleak and depressing feel. Given the subject matter, it could be very grim and, although it doesn’t shy away from the politic themes, the action and interaction is fast, fun, and utterly enjoyable.
Mark Harrison has such a unique style and the colours employed are so bright and varied, yet delivered in a crisp and interesting way. Light shines in beams from torches, muzzle flashes are incandescent, weaponry is solid and deadly. It feels alive with detail.
The story of Grey Area continues to evolve and develop, setting the scene for a lot of possibilities.
Greysuit // “Foul Play” Part 2 by Pat Mills, John Higgins, Sally Hurst, and Ellie De Ville
That waterfall! The opening page is not only beautiful, but brilliantly laid out by Higgins and Hurst as Blake falls to the bottom. His descent is magnified in some panels while the backdrop is an enlarged shot of the waterfall itself. This is the kind of over-the-top action you can expect from Greysuit, but there is also a lot more to it.
For one, Greysuit has some strong commentary on the upper/ruling classes. While the agents on the ground duke it out and get their hands dirty/bloody, the “gentlemen” in control sit in their clubs; out of touch and obsolete. Their use of latin is redundant and a hangover from their upbringing and education which has no place in modern society. This is emphasised as one such “gentleman” persistently uses incorrect terms for contemporary actions (e.g. sending “twitters” not tweets).
Ellie De Ville has some fun with the lettering as one mercenary sings as he shoots, fights, and generally carries out commands. Each bubble is therefore accompanied by musical notation as some familiar lines are sung, all the while chaos unfolds. It’s a bizarre experience at times, but it is a lot of fun.
Future Shocks // “The Body Politic” by James Peaty, Andrea Mutti, and Simon Bowland
This story by James Peaty has a great flow to it and sets the context instantly, allowing us to jump into things with ease. At four pages long, Future Shocks need to grab our attention and keep it which is exactly what “The Body Politic” does. Not only is it a good story, but it is an interesting world that’s been created – there is rich political history at play and we get nuances of this throughout.
The art by Andrea Mutti really is a brilliant accompaniment to the story and the sci-fi world is full of great detail, elaborate weapons, and interesting species. The action is dynamic and gritty, with some very violent scenes that are tastefully presented adding a wonderful style to a very dark story.
As is the case with most Future Shocks, the ending makes or breaks the story and in this case it absolutely makes it. A great use of four pages and an excellent read.
Hunted // “Furies” Part 8 by Gordon Rennie, PJ Holden, Len O’Grady, and Ellie De Ville
With the end of Part 7 leaving us reeling, we’re brought up to speed with the Traitor General’s son adding yet more plot development and an opportunity to create absolute mayhem on a galactic scale.
The Traitor General really has no shame and in one page we see just how ruthless he is prepared to be, pulling back from a sadistic act at the very last minute (but only because it suits his plans – for now). Gordon Rennie has managed to create an emotional link to the Traitor General via the General’s Son and although he is keen to help his Father, the naivety is perhaps driving him more than his true beliefs.
The last page of this part is perhaps one of PJ Holden’s best panels of this series so far and depicts a fleet of ships in glorious detail. It is a looming threat that is heading straight for the reader and bursts out of the page. Len O’Grady has coloured this vibrantly, paying attention to the detail and enhancing the effect.
“Furies” remains a great series so far.
Prog 2041 is another wonderful issue packed with variation, humour, drama and addictive stories. It is available on Wednesday 26th July in stores, online and digitally via www.2000adonline.com.