2000 AD Prog 2094 Featured Columns 

Multiver-City One: 2000 AD Prog 2094 – Annihilate!

By , , , and | August 15th, 2018
Posted in Columns | % Comments

Welcome, Earthlets, to Multiver-City One, our “2000 AD” weekly review column! Every Wednesday we examine the latest offerings from Tharg and the droids over at Rebellion/2000 AD, the galaxy’s leading producers of Thrill-Power entertainment. Let’s get right to it!

Cover by Kei Zama Richarson

THIS WEEK IN 2000AD

Judge Dredd: A Better Class of Criminal Part 4
Credits Rory McConville (script), Leonardo Manco (art), Chris Blythe (colors), Annie Parkhouse (letters)

Greg Lincoln: The finale part of ‘A Better Class of Criminal’ is a bit over full with detail and content. The three way battle between the Danforth Syndicate, the Azure Skeletons and the Judges commands one page before it breaks down to random seeming quick takes. We fully lose the sense that there are a lot of players involved in the fight as we only get to see a couple of the players. Rory McConville devotes a page to Zanzibar’s fight with the Danforth leader played over third person boxes explaining him to a deeper level. The exposition makes me wonder if this is a story that though over will have legs in the months come. The Judges bring in sonic cannon to take out the gangers en mass and it works, to what extent we don’t really know as we only see Zanzibar in custody in the end. What works well here is the hints that there is more going on, the missing presumed dead tech-Judge from Chaos Day who was behind the now super-powered gang.

Leonardo Manco and Chris Blythe has their hands full this week. They didn’t have to show the full scale of the fight but they did deliver some fully realized panels. The really outstanding work from this week is the final page showing the interrogation room. They created a real feeling of the intimidating force of facing Dredd when he’s got you dead to rights. The page has depth that the earlier pages lacked for the most part. It leaves an impression and one hard to forget. The story elements that stood out and that last panel makes me wonder if we have seen the last of this Azure Skeleton story.

The Order ‘The New World’ Part 8
Credits Kek-W (script) John Burns (art) Annie Parkhouse (letters)

Michael Mazzacane: The previous issue ended on the massive reveal of an iron giant. How does this latest strip start? Somewhere else, purposefully refusing to end the tension and narrative from that reveal. It does serve a purpose, we get some more background on the relationship dynamic between Daniel Calhoun and Clara Weitz as they meet at gunpoint. Burns gives Daniel perhaps his best expression yet, this jockish smirk as he reveals his Order necklace as he tries impress Clara.

In the present things are going about as well as one can hope when fighting a giant robot with roughly mid nineteenth century revolvers: not well. Burns layouts in these initial pages do a excellent job of emphasizing the size disparity by featuring the robot in a full body panel that takes up two thirds of the page, with a vertical cascade of panels for everyone else getting thrashed around. Subsequent pages stick to playing off extreme low angle perspective when focusing on our band of adventures and high angles when dealing with the robot. These pages do a good job of creating the sense of scale and spectacle while still being very readable.

As is the case in these strips, the giant robot isn’t their biggest problem. That would be the arrival of xenomorph raiders – not those kinds of xenomorphs. These ill formed raiders ride worm horses that look more like lizards and are dressed like they’re going to a HyborianCon. Burns changes up his art style for the panels that feature a majority of these creatures, dropping the painterly application for more traditional line art. Juxtaposed by a group shot of our heroes it’s an effective demonstration of how different they are from one another. To further emphasize the separation he goes in with coloring these panels with two tones, one for the cast and one for the xenomorphs.

Continued below

Much like the strip dealing with the assassination of President John Adams, Burns shows a skillful hand at creating pages that feel big but still read well.

Tharg’s 3rillers Present: Appetite: Part Two
Credits: James Peaty (script), Andrea Mutti (art), Eva De La Cruz (colors) Ellie De Ville (letters)

Rowan Grover: Peaty ramps up the tension in this second installment of “Appetite.” The general plot here is that Mr Jones is going undercover into the cult-like ‘Kneale Institute for Harmonised Living.’ It’s a good cautionary horror/conspiracy theory type tale, and Peaty delivers on all the usual notes. We get people chanting in sequence, people relaxing in baths designated to “renew and reinvigorate the body” and people eerily obeying orders. It’s pretty by the book as far as these types of tales go, but what makes it interesting is that Mr Jones is not a typical heroic protagonist. We don’t know for sure that he won’t get caught or trapped or killed at any given time because of how boisterous he is with self confidence and how little he knows in dire situations. It’s a good way to keep us on edge, and makes the dramatic reveal of the last page feel even juicier than it has any right to be.

Andrea Mutti provides some solid art in this prog, though it skates the line between traditional western inking style and the cleaner, simpler aesthetic of last issue. Mutti does provide great use of body language when the camera calls for a longer shot, like in the first page when we see Mr Jones’ arrogant and impatience through his standing over Camilla and hands-on-hips placement. This also works well in portraying the creepy, alien-like nature of Doctor Kneale, as Mutti always portrays her with poise and calmness, something that no one else seems to have in this comic which makes her stand out. Eva De La Cruz also nails the colors here, giving the Institute a very cold and clinical green palette to go with the overall narrative tone, and giving the “half-merge” room in the last scene a truly alarming red flashing palette, automatically signalling to the readers that this isn’t like any other room in the Institute.

“Appetite” proves to be a thriller style comic in the action heavy pages of 2000 AD. Peaty has a great handle on character and Mutti and De La Cruz convey great emotion and tone through their work together.

Mechastophales: True Faith, Part 2
Credits: Gordon Rennie & Lawrence Rennie (script), Karl Richardson (art), Simon Bowland (letters)

Kent Falkenberg: ‘True Faith, Part 2’ shine a little more light on the world as whole that exists outside the fiery belly of Lord Mechastophales. Under Gordon Rennie, Lawrence Rennie and Karl Richardson guidance, we’re given a world full of demons, rock monsters, and the seeming safe-haven of a religious oligarchy behind giant stone walls.

‘True Faith, Part 2′ also introduces us to a drunken artist living within the relative safety of Benedicitia. The Rennies’ hint at trouble in his backstory caused by his tendency to paint demons. But as he says it, “I do not paint demons… I paint only the world as I see it.” So it’s plain to see that there’s much more in store for him as he comes to meet the characters we’ve come to know so far.

Karl Richardson’s art is smooth as ever. His line work feels just as comfortable carving nuance on the face of those making difficult decisions as it is pulling back to show demon hordes swarming the wastelands just outside Benedictia’s fortress walls. And his introduction to the artist, Chiaroscuro, makes frequent use of shadows obscuring the man’s face. There’s a tension in this framing that leaves it quite ambiguous as to where his loyalty, morality, and ambitions lay.

In ‘True Faith, Part 2,’ Richardson and the Rennies’ continue turning up the heat while turning their lens out upon the vast crimson wastelands of the world they’ve created.

Grey Area: The Laundry Room
Credits: Dan Abnett (script), Mark Harrison (art), Ellie De Ville (letters)

Tom Shapira: shocking absolutely no one it turns out the EXO members who’ve been unceremoniously ‘killed’ four weeks ago are actually alive (if not well). That’s fine, the story thus far wasn’t about shocking the reader with their death, it was obviously a fake out, but about examining the emotional trauma on their fellow officers. In that the strip was pretty successful – prodding the inner world of Captain Bullit as he tries to project control outwards while burning inside.

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Now we finally get to see what exactly Kymen and Resting-Bitch-Face (god, but I love that name) have been up to – forcefully recruited into anti-alien Suicide Squad, a black ops version of their old unit. I’m not sure I’m buying this; while there is a justification for using them (they each have a special ability that is not easily duplicable) it seems like a very stupid idea to let them do a job basically in the shadow of their former team-mates – while said team-mates are looking for them and while they are held against their will. Maybe if the usefulness of their abilities was better defined, and its importance given more room, during this storyline I’d find this development more believable. But as is it seems like their bosses are just looking for trouble.

Mark Harrison’s art is still the weakest part of this strip. The layouts are still shaky and often confusing, the scene in which Kymen and Resting-Bitch-Face are first approached by their now commander jump cuts between angles in every new panel (making it hard to follow), and the faces have a strange rubbery quality to them that makes them not so much unpleasant but uninteresting – I can’t read much in their expressions.

There’s a lot to like in “Grey Area” overall, but sadly the art remains an entrance barrier.


//TAGS | Multiver-City One

Greg Lincoln

EMAIL | ARTICLES

Tom Shapira

Writes for Multiversity, Sequart and Alilon. Author - "Curing the Postmodern Blues." Israel's number 1 comics critic. Number 347 globally. he / him.

EMAIL | ARTICLES

Rowan Grover

Rowan is from Sydney, Australia! Rowan writes about comics and reads the heck out of them, too. Talk to them on Twitter at @rowan_grover. You might just spur an insightful rant on what they're currently reading, but most likely, you'll just be interrupting a heated and intimate eating session.

EMAIL | ARTICLES

Kent Falkenberg

By day, a mild mannered technical writer in Canada. By night, a milder-mannered husband and father of two. By later that night, asleep - because all that's exhausting - dreaming of a comic stack I should have read and the hockey game I shouldn't have watched.

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Michael Mazzacane

Your Friendly Neighborhood Media & Cultural Studies-Man Twitter

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