The thrills are plentiful this week as Rob Williams reunites with long-time collaborator Henry Flint to continue the exploration of Dredd’s world post-Titan. Elsewhere in the mag we’ve got mechanical attack dogs, a dissident general, time-hopping cowboys and the type of pain that can only come from an examination of identity.
I. THIS WEEK IN 2000 AD
Judge Dredd: Act of Grud, Part 1
Credits: Rob Williams (script), Henry Flint (art), Annie Parkhouse (letters)
As far as I’m concerned, Rob Williams and Henry Flint are the modern “Judge Dredd” team. That’s saying a lot, I know, considering the stable of talent on the series’ roster, but I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think it were true.
We’re continuing our investigation of the fallout of “Titan,” this time by catching up with Brit-Cit’s Judge Sam, a rookie architect who was dispatched to Titan to assist with the rebuilding of the lunar penal colony. When things got bad on one of Saturn’s other moons, Enceladus, Sam and the rest of his inter-city Judicial crew were reassigned. Things did not go so well for them, as all but Sam plummeted to their deaths while scaling down the side of a strange pit that had opened on the surface of Enceladus. At the bottom of the pit, Sam discovered the alien creatures that were behind Aimee Nixon’s return to Mega-City One and the truth behind her form. In what seemed like a final act, the cool and level headed Judge Sam let loose on the Enceladusian monsters with his plasma canon.
This week’s aptly named “Act of Grud” opens with Judge Sam in an unfamiliar pose: slumped on a rock staring down at the ground beneath his boots. This is in stark contrast with how he was portrayed through “Titan,” often shown standing tall, wistfully staring at Saturn as it sat on the horizon. The shape of the planet is still there, but it’s no longer enough to draw Sam’s attention. Now the young Judge looks inward, pondering what it is that made Grud choose him to be the sole survivor on Enceladus.
Williams and Flint are doing an interesting thing here by plucking Judge Sam from the jaws of doom and returning him to the magazine. Aimee Nixon was, for a long time, the anchor for everything these two did together on “Judge Dredd.” Together they co-created Nixon and led her down a multi-year series of story arcs that culminated with “Titan.” So now that Nixon is seemingly gone, who do the duo set their focus on? Well, I think Judge Sam would be an excellent candidate.
This is what’s interesting about the way Williams writes “Judge Dredd.” While the titular character is always present, he’s not always there. This leaves lots of room to play with other characters that are in his orbit, like The Wally Squad. Or now, Judge Sam, who was recently granted approval to transfer to Mega-City One.
Between this and the short run on “Get Sin,” it seems as if Williams is poised to kick of another long story arc. As a huge fan of his Dredd work, i’m pretty excited about this. Doubly now that Flint is involved.
Savage: The Märze Murder, Part 4
Credits: Pat Mills (script), Patrick Goddard (art), Annie Parkhouse (letters)
This week: killer robots and grenade launchers!
Technology is always slowest at the worst times, right? The transfer of information from one mobile to another may have been excruciating, but is sure did leave us lots of room for dialog and exposition! While I could have done without the lyrical narration, I did enjoy the explanation for why these mechanical beasts are referred to as ‘straw dogs.’ It’s the sort of thing Mills does really well, I think. He’s able to insert ideas that feel high-minded or abstracted, but become almost obvious once they’re laid out. It’s a clever way of pushing and pulling readers, I think.
Hunted, Part 4
Credits: Gordon Rennie (script), PJ Holden (art), Len O’Grady (color), Simon Bowland (letters)
Ugh, I’ve really got to get a deep “Rogue Trooper” read going. The stories Rennie have been telling so far, like this and “Jaegir,” haven’t required any sort of special knowledge to enjoy them, but do a damn fine job making me want to dive into those big “Tales of Nu Earth” collections.
In reading this strip I had a mini epiphany: I view Rogur Trooper the way a lot of people in this world do, as something that happened elsewhere and before my time. Rennie has seen to it that readers understand the Rogue is thought of almost as a legend or mythological being. His history is fuzzy because so much of what people know about him is second or third hand information. It’s exactly what my grasp on the character is, an amalgamation of bits and pieces that I’ve picked up over time and very little direct knowledge. I can’t help but wonder if, in some indirect way, Rennie isn’t commenting on the character’s long semi-absence from the magazine and the way new readers must think of him.
Holden and O’Grady do it again this week, and even get to pull out some nifty little surprises. I especially enjoyed the Doom-by-way-of-Liefeld character who pops up towards the end. Armed with a BFG and what I can only describe as a Prophet crown, this guy is a perfect blend of everything that kept my adolescent brain occupied in the 90s. Not only that, but he and his pinky partner are the center of my ‘gotta read more Rogue’ open this week.
Flesh: Gorehead, Part 4
Credits: Pat Mills (script), Clint Langley (art), Ellie De Ville (letters)
Langley sure went dark this week. Not in a morbid or emotional way, I mean literally. There are passages in the strip that almost look as if they’re being acted out in silhouette. I know his art tends towards moody, particularly when he’s working in this style, but it’s a little much I think. I got to read this digitally, which means it’s backlit and can handle a greater range in visible value. I’m really curious about how it’s actually going to look in print.
We’re a month in and I gotta say that I don’t think Langley’s art is doing it for me . Yes, this chapter seemed darker than usual, but that’s not really it. I just can’t get myself excited about the use of photos in the art. It’s too… real? I know he’s not doing it as a shortcut, as the amount of work he’s putting in is obvious, it just feels flat to me. I know he incorporates this style into his “ABC Warriors” work, but usually just as bookends, leaving the core of the story to be told using pen and ink. Seeing so much of it leaves me feeling indifferent, leaving me wish for a different approach to the storytelling.
Counterfeit Girl, Part 5
Credits: Peter Milligan (script), Rufus Dayglo (art), Dom Regan (color), Ellie De Ville (letters)
Hats off to Rufus Dayglo. He’s doing some all-time best work on this strip and producing some particularly impressive pages. It’s like he’s infusing the style we know him for with this Paul Pope by-way-of Brett Ewins element that really makes this strip sing. Couple that with the hyper-saturated colors from Dom Regan and you’ve got yourself a strip that really stands out in a crowd.
We’ve moved a little deeper into Libra’s history and are beginning to explore what led her to become the person she is today. Milligan is taking a measured approach to this, feeding readers just a little at a time. It’s a good move, considering how bombastic the overall story and art are. A heavy backstory dump right here would bog things down and take some of the air out of the energy in the story, I think, so letting the heavier elements trickle in is a good move. It’s gotta be tough for Milligan, right? He clearly knows what he wants to do, and I’d imagine that it isn’t always easy to hold back. But the guy’s a pro, and this ain’t his first rodeo, so I’d expect nothing less than Milligan at his sharpest when telling a brand new story.Continued below
At Multiver-City One, we understand trying to figure out to start with a selection of almost 40 years worth of comics can be daunting. What do they publish? Where can I get it? What’s up with Judge Dredd? Can I still read “2000 AD” if I don’t like Judge Dredd?
To help all you new & potential readers, we’ve put together something we call An Earthlet’s Guide to 2000 AD. This FAQ collects everything you need to make your initial foray into the 2000 AD Thrill-verse as easy and simple as possible.
That’s gonna do it for us this week! “2000 AD” Prog 2000 and Judge Dredd Megazine 376 are both on sale today and available digitally worldwide on:
- The 2000 AD Newsstand app for iPad and iPhone,
- The 2000 AD app for Android devices,
- 2000ADonline.com in DRM-free PDF and CBZ formats.
They are available in print today from:
They are available in print in North America next month from your local comic shop.
So as Tharg the Mighty himself would say, “Splundig vur thrigg!”