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: End of Days, Part Eleven
Credits: Rob Williams (script), Henry Flint (art), Chris Blythe (colours), Simon Bowland (letters)
Michael Mazzacane: With “Dredd” running for as long as it has, and through various strips either in Progs of Megazines, it has a curious relationship to continuity similar and different from the American superhero. Where the American superhero is constantly being reset and rebooted, “Dredd” has yet to pull such a move. That doesn’t mean it is on a straight line of serialization with just as many Progs dedicated to one or two shot stories as there are mega epics like this one imagines itself to be. By telling so many stories “Dredd” is able to have a looser sense of continuity. The last major Event would probably be “Day of Chaos” and that was nearly a decade ago. Continuity, or more appropriately history, for “Dredd” is a curious thing where it matters but more often just adds flavor and texture to a strip like ‘The Bird Lady of Al Capone’ from Prog 2176.
Williams uses the history of “Dredd” in this way to quickly add texture and flavor to Dredd and is dealing with the Sovs, who still haven’t forgotten what Dredd did to them in the ‘Apocalypse War’ which was published nearly forty years ago! It turns these Russian stereotypes into something more resembling functioning characters. That history and old grudges and the thread that tie the extended walk and talk sequence together, building towards the excellent cliff hanger. For all their talk of togetherness some Sovs would rather use this as an excuse for retribution and turn the horsemen War on their vaunted enemy.
Henry Flint’s art work is starting to grow on me. In particular how they used basic walk and talk presentations and mixed it with a truly disorientating background. These backgrounds are not poor or misdrawn, but they disrupt the supposed unity of a walk and talk segment. You can’t tell where they are going or how far they’ve gone. It helps to create an unsettling feeling as a reader. The use of a near two thirds page single panel to show what remains of the Sov Bloc after Dredd dropped their missles on them is the best use of large panel imagery in this series thus far. It is a moment that feels earned and could only work in such a large image.
Full Tilt Boogie #10
Credits: Alex De Campi (script) Eduardo Ocana (art) Simon Bowland (lettering)
Matthew Blair: The standoff is over. The lights of order have lost and the bounty hunter and her crew have managed to add two new members to their crew and have made their escape…with the help of a magic space cat.
“Full Tilt Boogie” #10 is a moment of transition, allowing writer Alex de Campi to move things along and get the characters off the asteroid and onto some other adventure. All the characters behave as they should and de Campi creates a very interesting situation where the Knights are much more complicated and Macheavellian than the propaganda has led many of us to believe. There are some moments that appear out of the blue and could have benefited from a bit more set up and foreshadowing and the plot point about Prince Ifan seems to have dropped off the map for now, which is kind of disappointing, but it’s a good set up for what appears to be the real meat of the story.
The artwork on “Full Tilt Boogie” #10 is just like the writing: perfectly functional and moving people and things from one place to another. There’s one big opportunity for artist Eduardo Ocana to show off, but it gets lost in a slew of small panels and the needs of the story. It seems that the comic is starting to fall back on the old problem of not having enough space to get all the information it needs to get out there and that this comic would have been much better as a standard monthly limited series or a graphic novel. Still, when a reader wants more story instead of less it’s not a bad thing, and this section of the story does a great job of setting up for the future and leaving the reader wanting more.Continued below
“Full Tilt Boogie” #10 appears to be nearing the end of what could be called a prologue to the actual story. The pieces are in place, the characters are well established, and there is a future filled with mystery, violence, and danger. If that’s the case, my only regret is that it took this long to get here.
Sinister Dexter Bullettopia Chapter Two Stay Brave: Part 1
Credits: Dan Abnett (script), Steve Yeowell (art), John Charles (colors), Jim Campbell (letters)
Greg Lincoln: Personally having missed a story arc or two it’s impressive that I caught onto pretty much everything that the creative team was seeing in this strip. Dan Abnett is such a skilled writer that a familiarity with the strip is the only real cost of entry. The script in “Stay Brave” hits the ground running and tells you everything you need to know about the situation. Our hero need a safe house and their recent abode fits the bill at least for the next couple hours. It’s enough time for Finn and the woman in the run with them Hosanna to break down the situation, come up with a hasty plan and briefly discuss the fact they have a previous relationship, on only he recalls. There is a bit of a narrative bomb dropped by him as the strip ends but it sure assures that next week we’ll all be reading again.
There is a real sense of nostalgia in the way that Sinister Dexter looks. The way that Steve Yeowell composes a page mixed with the very primary color palette that Charles is using makes this feel like a really one school comic. That feel though fits the pulp, crime story atmosphere of Sinister Dexter. Yeowell creates images that suggest much more then he’s putting on the page, particularly his expressions. The way he uses the few lines on Hosanna’s face subtly tells you a lot that she’s not saying. Ramon and Finn are kind of flat expression wise so having someone so expressive, even subtly, lends a lot of feeling in what could have been a dry script.
The Order: Land Of The Free, Part Eleven
Credits: KEK-W (script), John Burns (art), Simon Bowland (letters)
Rowan Grover: This chapter of “The Order” focuses a little more on following on from the events of the last issue, dealing with Antoine Berg and Cass. The former is an especially interesting character in this prog since KEK-W has him dealing a lot with balancing his Wyrm heritage with his humanity and landing somewhere in the middle of the two. Cass functions almost as a hero to Berg’s damsel in distress which I totally love for her, and her get-shit-done attitude makes her just as compelling as the more introspective Berg. The rest of the issue, once we get into the train scene, is a bit more of a visual showcase, but there is an interesting complication when Cass sees what appears to be a ghost of Sim, although it’s not explored too heavily at this point.
Burns does some great work with page structure and colors in this prog. The opening page shifts camera angles so quickly it creates an earthquake-like effect as Berg struggles free from Bacon’s grasp. The palette change in the second panel to a more eye-searing green expresses the effort that he’s putting in really effectively too. The comic switches back and forth between a more standard palette and this more shocking palette cleverly throughout the prog, to convey intense tone during the action or dialogue. One of the best uses of Burns’ painterly style is when Cass sees Sim later in the issue, who Berg exclaims to be a mirage. He doesn’t have the ghostly blue coloring or blurry texture, rather Burns has the blues of Cass’ jumpsuit start to fade through his figure, making him more like a faded poster on a brick wall.
I still have no idea what the endpoint for “Land of the Free” is, but it still continues to be an exciting ride, and I like the mystery of not knowing where it’s going more than I think I usually would.
The Out, Part Eight
Credits: Dan Abnett (script), Mark Harrison (art), Annie Parkhouse (letters)
Brian Salvatore: “The Out” continues to be full of surprises, and this chapter takes the story into two very different directions that could not have been predicted at the end of last week’s installment. Or, maybe they can. Did anyone have “Cyd dies and gets her consciousness transferred into a new body and the story jumps ahead in time 47 years” on their Bingo card?
All credit goes to Dan Abnett, whose storytelling beats never feel rushed or out of left field, but still manage to surprise. Cyd is fine after the climactic attack of last issue, which is slightly surprising, but then Abnett doles out the information at a pace that is slow enough to digest and still be surprising. It’s a really well handled chapter, and it benefits from the visuals of each chapter being so unique and different. Sure, the world looks totally different than it did in the last Prog, but Mark Harrison has been doing that each week, so the time jump is not suspected until the bombshell is dropped. As per usual, “The Out” continues to keep the readers guessing.