This week 2000AD Prog 2024 continues three stories started in Prog 2023 (the review can be found here) and introduces us to a new Judge Dredd arc called ‘Harvey’. There is a Future Shock thrown in for good measure and plots are building among the other titles.
Judge Dredd // Harvey by John Wagner, John McCrea, Mike Spicer & Annie Parkhouse
Despite the Justice Department’s attempts to implement robot judges in the Mechanismo story arcs, it seems they’re going to have another crack at it and this time, the all-new Mechanismo units are even more badass! Upgraded body armour, weapons and failsafes are now stronger than ever (who wants a repeat of last time?).
Part One of Harvey introduces the capabilities of the new Mark 8 RV unit (aka Harvey) and the various upgrades to its programming. The artwork by McCrea and Spicer is brutal and dynamic, throwing plenty of movement into each panel as Harvey takes on a gang of creeps with calculated efficiency. The opening page is coloured cleverly to give the effect of looking at a monitor and the rest of the strip is gloriously bright and vivid. The panels themselves are edgy and erratic, reflecting the action within the panels right across the page.
The story is penned by John Wagner, which is fitting since he wrote the previous Mechanismo titles. If there is value to be had out of a new story line concerning Mechanismo units, it’s likely Wagner will be able to deliver. And yet, haven’t we been down this road before? Hasn’t there been a multitude of science fiction titles depicting machines going wrong? Well… let’s not get hasty – perhaps the Justice Department have nailed it this time? We’ll have to wait and see…
Brink // Skeleton Life Part 2 by Dan Abnett, Inj Culbard & Simon Bowland
In this second part, Kurtis makes her appearance following the introduction in Part 1 and is on her way to the Galina habitat. It features a conversation between Kurtis and the pilot who’s shuttling her to the habitat that provides us with some insight into what might be going on but keeps the whole story sufficiently mysterious. The conversation itself features some slick dialogue thanks to Dan Abnett and the artwork is full of expression and body language between the two featured characters, while the depiction of the vacuum of space is cold and empty yet interesting thanks to the use of colours and shading by Culbard.
Future Shocks // Family Time by Rory McConville, Nick Dyer & Ellie De Ville
Family Time is a tale of a celebrity couple who have chosen to adopt children, supported by their wealth and repute. This is a satirical look at what is a common occurrence, with plenty of celebs out there choosing to adopt children from impoverished countries. The twist in this case, is that each child is plucked from various points in time. The story centres around an investigation carried out by the ‘Chrono Child Protection Agency’, and becomes more and more sinister with each panel. McConville writes a jaded view of the wealthy and celeb lifestyle with a satisfying end, while Dyer backs up the themes with some gritty panels and a suitably arrogant looking celebrity couple.
Scarlet Traces // Cold War: Book 2 Part 2 by Ian Edgington, D’Israeli and Annie Parkhouse
Where Part 1 gave us the dinge of a political delegation, Part 2 gives us some wonderful middle-eastern architecture and decor. The town is brought to life by using a single panel of a busy marketplace, illustrated by D’Israeli using strong lines, shading and use of colour. The story picks up pace and you get the sense of purpose and urgency as the threat of annihilation looms and action needs to be taken.
Cursed: The Fall of Deadworld // Part 2 by Kek-W, Dave Kendall & Annie Parkhouse
The cliffhanger from the first part of Cursed: The Fall of Deadworld sets the scene for the very first panel of this part and Kek-W gives us plenty of intrigue and backstory to Fairfax and his mentor back in the academy. The eerie and unsettling artwork by Kendall continues with some horrifying visuals and visceral violence. At the end of this part, you’re left with a better understanding of Fairfax’s motives and brings he and Jess closer together.
With a new Judge Dredd story starting and the continued unfolding of Brink, Scarlet Traces and Cursed: The Fall of Deadworld Prog 2024 is a meaty follow-up to the jumping-on prog 2023. Hopefully, the re-introduction of a Mechanismo unit in Judge Dredd will present something original and interesting, although it is perhaps a tired concept at first glance. It will definitely be worth reading to find out where John Wagner takes it. Family Time was a good standalone concept between the main titles with a nice pay-off at the end.
All in all, plenty to get your teeth into and hints at more to look forward to next prog.
2000AD Prog 2024 is on sale Wednesday 29th March 2017 in stores, online and in digital via www.2000adonline.com.