With that menacing cover from Tiernen Trevallion depicting a snippet of The Alienist, we’re greeted by a moody opening to what is a fantastic prog this week.
Judge Dredd // “Ouroboros” Part 2 by Michael Carroll, Paul Marshall, Quinton Winter, and Annie Parkhouse
Judge Dredd as a title has had some good characters working with Dredd, as well as some truly great ones. Paradox Vega is relatively new, first appearing in the story “Deep in the Heart” (Part 5) where her skills leftover from the Chaos War were needed by Dredd. She’s enigmatic and full of energy, giving those around her a run for their money – including Dredd himself. Chopper was a great character due to his thirst for freedom and energy. Paradox Vega hasn’t yet earned the title “great”, but she’s got bags of potential used nicely by Michael Carroll.
Dredd’s sense of superiority gets challenged by Vega’s intel and it’s clear that this particular case means a lot to her, despite her being a juve and a thief. This pits two unlikely characters together, which is always a recipe for mayhem.
It is packed with crazy visuals from Marshall and Winton, not least of which is a giant dog akin to Clifford The Big Red Dog. With plenty of humour (thanks largely to Vega’s excitable storytelling style), curious plot, and great art design, “Ouroboros” is getting off to a good start.
The Alienest // “Inhuman Natures” Part 1 by Gordon Rennie/Emma Beeby, Eoin Coveney, and Ellie De Ville
Tharg gives a great intro to this title in his foreword. He makes a comparison to Doctor Who while also endorsing the upcoming Doctor played by Jodie Whittaker (the first female Doctor!).
The Alienist feels like a great mix of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who with its mysterious cases and paranormal activity. This comparison is helped by the period of history in which The Alienist is set (19th century), as well as the ‘expert & companion’ formula used successfully in both the aforementioned. The difference? The companion is really the expert!
Rennie and Beeby aren’t strangers to working together and in Survival Geeks (trade paperback of which is due in September) they stretch their legs and run with an extremely funny and original title. The Alienist is a different read, but a fascinating twist of genres as the pair tackles class, sexism, and the enjoyable reversal of tropes.
Eoin Coveney’s art is full of period clothing and style, drawn in a tasteful black and white that gives the entire strip an older feel. The scratchy dark lines enhance the environment and characters, while Professor Edward Praetorious’ henchmen, with their stitched eyes and mouths, are positively goulish.
This is going to be worth your time.
Greysuit // “Foul Play” Part 3 by Pat Mills, John Higgins, Sally Hurst, and Ellie De Ville
You’re on the roof of a bus on a perilous cliff road, the driver is falling asleep, someone just fired an RPG at you, and bullets are raining sideways. You have no weapons. What do you do? Use whatever luggage is on the roof, of course. Welcome to Part 3!
A lot of the action in this part is fun and desperate, with gory violence following absurd moments that genuinely raise a smile. Pat Mills can deliver fast-paced frenetic action, but still take a moment to provide a sense of humour.
Higgins and Hurst pull together colourful panels for the events in the “Bolivarian” jungle all illustrated with rich and bright shades. Switch to London where a parade is taking place and the art is quite different; straight lines of Victorian buildings, dark suits, and bowler hats depicted in darker shades. One page features a dark alleyway with detailed brickwork as a backdrop and this all gives great contrast to the action throughout the pages.
Where will we be taken next week?
Grey Area // “Lutwot Holiday” by Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, and Annie Parkhouse
As a break from the plotline that seems to be running behind each part, “Lutwot Holiday” concerns a small, chattering, odd, and perverted alien previously seen in the title. This brings levity to some dark and atrocious events that have occurred, but still leaves space for sentiment as the return of the alien reunites the main characters with memories from off-world.
Grey Area is a vehicle for so many things and the imaginations of all the creators that work on this title are incredible. Be it the bizarre character stories created by Dan Abnett or the visual spectacle of Mark Harrison’s work, it all comes together and presents so many different facets. Annie Parkhouse creates some great lettering that matches the characters speech. Lettering can often be easily overlooked, but with bad lettering comes a bad experience. Thankfully, Grey Area (and in fairness, 2000 AD as a whole) is light-years away from a bad experience and there is so much fun to be had as we continue with Grey Area.
Hunted // “Furies” Part 9 by Gordon Rennie, PJ Holden, Len O’Grady, and Ellie De Ville
Now that Hunted is becoming a family affair for the Traitor General, there is a lot at stake for his son. We all know what will happen if his son’s plan doesn’t work and it won’t be a simple, “go to your room!”
There is another gloriously bright opening page with Xianta warships bursting onto the scene and strange energy weapons discharging and powering up. PJ Holden and Len O’Grady seem to work very well together in style and the result is dynamic and vivid. Weapon design is great as are interiors and the red alert atmosphere as the station comes under attack gives an ominous hue to the action.
Gordon Rennie continues to deliver a twisting, turning rollercoaster of events that see the Traitor General plot and scheme while constantly being under threat. You never quite know what’s going to happen next and you don’t quite know where you (as the reader) sit in terms of loyalties. Villains are great for so many reasons; in theory we can’t relate to them entirely (look inward people – are you a villain?), but every part of us has this fascination with despots and evil. Equally, what happens on the other side of a title such as Rogue Trooper? Just what makes the bad guy tick?
“Furies” delivers every week and there is so much that needs to be tied together and answered. Just what will happen next?
We’re half-way through 2017 and it’s been one hell of a year for 2000 AD so far. The recent Fortieth Anniversary, as well as issue #2000 hitting the shelves, demonstrate the rich history of the comic. Throughout 2017, the quality has been high and with the introduction of new titles, as well as the return of old favourites, it has ensured that 2000 AD is here to stay.