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!
THIS WEEK IN 2000AD
Judge Dredd: The Booth Conspiracy Part 4
Credits T.C. Eglington (script), Staz Johnson (art), Abigail Bulmer (colors), Annie Parkhouse (letters)
Greg Lincoln: Told in a montage of relatively quick takes ‘The Booth Conspiracy’ part 4 hits several satisfying if kind of predictable story beats. Most likely the penultimate part of the arc TC Eglinton, Abigail Bulmer, Staz Johnson and Annie Parkhouse did a great job of crafting a story that both introduces new readers to the important plot points in this arc without excessive exposition and also moved the narrative along. They make it very plain just how well the Judges are playing Linus with the promise that the ex-president is still alive and in Judge custody. The one two punch of attractive the bait and the threat of loosing the ex-President to a location the Cursed Earth forces Linus to act with no time to think it through. No rational argument from Bren, currently Linus’s most rational lieutenant, can stop the hasty rescue mission the Sons of Booth leader organizes. Thinking about it that way the fact they could locate the Judges launder service vehicles and commandeered them so fast is a testament to their level of organization and connections.
The way the story is visually structured made the weeks chapter speed by. The quick changes from the relaxed and controlled leadership of Chief Judge Hershey is well juxtaposed to Linus’s bombast intimidation and bombast well sets the scene for the coming confrontation. leadership It’s a moment you can see coming but would likely have been disappointed if no one posed the possibility of a trap once or like in this case twice. The action and talking heads montage contributed by Staz Johnson and Abigail Bulmer supports the narrative well. They deliver a near silent page that shows how the Sons of Booth score their laundry truck transports from the Judges themselves.
Survival Geeks: Slack and Hash, Part Three
Credits: Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (script) Neil Googe (art), Gary Caldwell (Colors) Ellie De Ville (letters)
Rowan Grover: Rennie and Beeby bring the team back together, for better or for worse, in part three. I like that Rennie and Beeby are expanding upon this world by highlighting several aspects of it, like the house being invaded and Cthulhu Howard standing watch to protect it. However, it’s just as good to reunite Simon and Rufus with Sam, who finds herself constantly criticizing the Final Girls for their allegedly feminist outlooks. Clive comes off as a little too annoying in this part, however, always playing the continuity expert and pointing out flaws in the consistency of the plot, making them annoyingly visible to readers too. However, I still think the meta commentary on the typical structure of horror films is sound, and I think the ending here sticks this better than most.
Neil Googe’s art here is more dynamic than it’s felt before. From the tense closeups in the first page and fantastic camera angling to show Cthulhu Howard, we get a great sense of stealth action. The woods scene is a little more decompressed, but there’s some great moments with Rufus’s fake jumpscare, showing Rufus looking suitably bizarre. What I think goes unsung in Googe’s art is how he is able to command a large group of characters in a small panel and have them all look individual and unique. In the second last page, we get a good shot of the gang with the Final Girls, all who look believable and real, and on the last page, we get some great shots with inventive Slasher designs in single panels. Caldwell’s colors keep a consistent dusk-to-night tone throughout, keeping the tone feeling sinister but not dark enough to be truly depressing.
This has been the best of the latest series of “Survival Geeks” so far, with the narrative coming together smoothly and with great dynamic art from Googe. Let’s hope that it keeps momentum from here on in.Continued below
The Order ‘The New World’ Part 12
Credits Kek-W (script) John Burns (art) Annie Parkhouse (letters)
Michael Mazzacane: So remember last week when I said they didn’t have a spare robot around to save Calhoun with ? Turns out they do because he’s been a robot all this time! Honestly with the amount of people who have turned out to be cybernetic in some way, I’m half expecting Ana to just pull off her face and show the machine within.
This revelation actually provides a nice organizing principle for the strip as Ana and Daniel’s reunion and the need to protect his weakened body drive things. Burns has a habit of placing them at the top of the page and letting the chaos action unfold beneath them. The Queen of Shadow Worms seems to be living up to that moniker as they disappear from the strip and the threats page in and page out are their creeping black wyrm tentacles.
Pages acted little action beats unto themselves. On one page Ana acquires a weapon from Armored Clara and uses it to save her friends. In the next Armored Clara helps out Berg jr.. It’s like everyone is getting their moment to shine. After last strip felt a bit thin on perspective, keeping things straightforward like this made for a more enjoyable read. I wouldn’t say anything technically stood out, but there is a consistency and overall execution to this strip that made it one of the more enjoyable ones thus far.
Mechastophales: True Faith, Part 7
Credits: Gordon Rennie & Lawrence Rennie (script), Karl Richardson (art), Simon Bowland (letters)
Kent Falkenberg: Lord Mechastophales is still largely absent from “True Faith, Part 7.” But Gordon Rennie, Lawrence Rennie and Karl Richardson infuse this installment with enough sinister undercurrents that it’s easily one of the most compelling.
Karl Richardson’s character design has been a mix of the ornate and the unsettling. And here that fine work is both bathed in bleak shadow and drenched in crimson. At one point, Cardinal Cesare is framed dead center in the middle of the page. It’s a positioning that makes the villian as imposing as the title character, even though he’s a fraction of the size.
Later in “True Faith, Part 7,” a character we’ve been following since the start sheds her human disguise to reveal the demon she truly is. but Richardson never lavishes in a complete portrait of the spidery creature she is. He pulls back to only show glimpses of her spindly limbs as the stab and pierce and impale. There’s an atmospheric edge to this scene, and it’s riveting.
This week, the Rennies’ and Richardson let us know there’s far more to this tale than fiery, demon mech.
Grey Area: Every Dirty Job
Credits: Dan Abnett (script), Mark Harrison (art), Ellie De Ville (letters)
Tom Shapira: We’re seem to be back to the political front with a short spotlight on anti-alien politician, who we haven’t seen since (I believe) the first strip in the serial. Good, this is possibly the most interesting element in “Grey Area” right now, even if it is delivered with all the subtlety of a brick to face (forwardness has always been part of the charm of 2000AD. The problem is that after that bit we are back on the old treadmill with Bulliet talking about investigating the supposed deaths of his teammates while the powers that be plot around him. The serial is just treading water at this point – we’ve been here before and it feels like we’ll be here again.
Mark Harrison’s art works a bit better on the small personal scenes between Bulliet and Birdy, though it lacks some necessary softness that would make their interaction feel truly intimate, but everything else rather falls flat. The scene in the office between Birdy and Hallard, though an interesting character development, jumps about so much that I had hard time reading it; and it’s just two characters sitting in an office and taking. I understand the need to keep a conversation scene alive by moving the angles a bit, but Harrison’s art seems to move about haphazardly, creating not tension but confusion. This strip could, and should, be better.