Jake Lynch presents an amazing cover this week and he manages to make Dredd look seriously cool on that Lawmaster. We’ve got the concluding part of Hunted “Furies” and the second part of The Alienist to get our teeth into.
Judge Dredd // “Ouroboros” Part 3 by Michael Carroll, Paul Marshall, Quinton Winter, and Annie Parkhouse
You don’t see many smiles in Mega-City One or the Cursed Earth. Unless of course, you meet Paradox Vega in which case you’ll see plenty of grinning. Vega and Dredd are so mismatched, it’s hilarious.
Dredd is an immovable slab of patience whereas Vega is a razor-sharp chisel. When she’s not chipping away at Dredd’s patience, she’s actually very useful as you’ll find out this part.
Michael Carroll has created a playful yet capable character in Vega and the story keeps getting better in terms of humour and action. The fun and creative panels from Marshall capture that self-assured, cocky character in such a likeable way. Vega is superior to many individuals and to Dredd she’s an annoyance. To us, she’s great fun to look at and Marshall conveys loads of character, be it in her body language or grinning facial expressions. Winter’s colouring is full of plenty of interesting shading that brings out facial features and even reflections on helmets and attire. capturing realistic reflections is no easy task. The result is polished and distinctive.
Expect brutal action, smiling, lots of humour and more smiling. Hint: you’ll be the one smiling.
Grey Area // “Signal Six Twenty-Four” Part 1 by Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, and Annie Parkhouse
The previous stories of Grey Area have varied in scale but focused pretty closely on small-scale or individual cases. In “Signal Six Twenty-Four” there is a lot at stake and Dan Abnett throws a huge moral dilemma at the characters.
Immigration and Asylum are different things, yet are often treated interchangeably. This story makes a clear distinction and presents us with a potential disaster that will feel close to home for many countries. Just how much help can a country offer and what are the consequences of refusing aid?
These themes are fronted by more of Mark Harrison’s stylish work. He can pick out minute detail and make individual characters feel unique and personal but in other panels, he can create whole pages with epic themes and vast scale.
This story feels significant and the character of Bulliet is headed for some serious conflict and challenges ahead.
The Alienest // “Inhuman Natures” Part 2 by Gordon Rennie/Emma Beeby, Eoin Coveney, and Ellie De Ville
The useless nature of Wetherall is explored in more depth but despite being completely out of his depth, he is useful for a few tasks. Vespertine uses Wetherall like a puppet with little regard for his opinion on the matter, at times literally controlling his mind. Last week his usefulness was questioned and this part seems to raise this as a theme again.
Rennie and Beeby have presented Praetorious as a character that is at once similar to Vespertine but whose motives we don’t fully understand. He is arrogant and his inclusion in the story just shows how out of his depth Wetherall really is. It leaves you feeling a little sorry for Wetherall but at the same time his misfortune and the dry lines delivered by Praetorious somehow raises the reader above the human experience, giving some funny moments as their human puppet does their bidding.
When it comes to the human experience, Coveney has some beautiful panels in this part that show off his ability to depict human expression and fantastical events. From a close-up of Vespertine to paranormal events, his black and white style really suits The Alienist as a title. It feels like an old TV show (but with far better special effects) and this gives the title a certain charm.
This part keeps our attention and builds on the plot nicely.
Greysuit // “Foul Play” Part 4 by Pat Mills, John Higgins, Sally Hurst, and Ellie De Ville
Greysuit “Foul Play” is an interesting vehicle that comments on society and class while delivering an enjoyable amount of mayhem. Sometimes, it works well and other times not as well. As an example, the head of British Intelligence makes cultural references which are typically wrong and he is constantly being corrected. This is often funny (although perhaps not subtle) and it distances him from relevance. However, he makes a perfect pop-culture reference to Star Wars in this part. This line seemed to break the rules for that particular character.
The viciousness of the Greysuits and the methods they employ are delivered in this part without compromise (particularly during a flashback sequence where we witness the death of a look-alike character). Pat Mills doesn’t hold his punches and this makes Greysuit stand out as a raw experience that you won’t find in other titles.
Higgins and Hurst’s artwork really does match this nicely. The art isn’t crisp and clean because nor is the story. “Foul Play” is full of nasty moments and these moments are filled with garish colours; the bright orange and yellow glow from a fire surrounds a murder which makes the event stab at the senses. It’s unpleasant, just like the murder itself.
Greysuit might split its readers into two camps. For some, the raw nature of the story telling will be a blast. For others, it might be difficult to get into. But… we’re only on Part 4. So where Pat Mills is taking us is yet to be determined.
Hunted // “Furies” Part 10 by Gordon Rennie, PJ Holden, Len O’Grady, and Ellie De Ville
We’re at the conclusion of this part and it doesn’t disappoint. The true nature of the Traitor General really is without any kind of moral compass and his final decisions at the end of this is ruthless in the extreme.
Gordon Rennie’s plot has twisted and finally spiralled, leaving the situation in complete chaos. It’s unsure whether or not the Traitor General actually wanted the events that transpired to happen or whether he’s just making the best of a bad situation. Either way, it’s a good finale with a fitting ending.
Art from Holden and O’Grady is as always fantastic. The gloomy reds, overlaying the action is effective at enhancing the bleak situation. The environments are detailed and rich while the action is dynamic. At times, it is also gruesome and unsettling.
All in all, this has been such a great run and it’s a shame that it won’t be here next week. However, there is promise of more as the end of this story is certainly not the end the Traitor General.
The balance of stories and titles is what makes 2000 AD so unique from other titles (not to mention the fact it is weekly!). Each Prog is packed full of variation and this keeps it fresh and interesting. With that, we bid Hunted a farewell but we welcome back Hope next issue. There is something for everyone each week and you never know what might capture your imagination next.