2000 AD Prog 2290 Featured Columns 

Multiver-City One: 2000 AD Prog 2290 – Double Impact!

By , , and | July 13th, 2022
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 Andy Clarke

THIS WEEK IN 2000AD

Judge Dredd: Special Relationship: 02
Credits: Rob Williams (script), Patric Goddard (art), Quinton Winter (colors), Annie Parkhouse (letters)

Greg Lincoln: Rob Williams builds a palpable level of tension this week by detailing the fallout between Brit-Cit and Mega-City over the Black Atlantic Tunnel incident, with both parties playing a predictable blame game. The fight over culpability divides them, setting up the situation that the Sov Block so obviously exploits. The really effective moments are in the dialogue between Dredd and his Brit-Cit counterpart. There is as much clear respect paid between the two street officers as there is political and financial animosity between the areas. The story pacing up to the moment of the violence starts is very punchy and thriller-like in this chapter of ‘Special Relationship.’

Peter Goddard’s pacing and atmosphere matched the feeling of the narration. The talking heads scenes have a nice flow moving from mid-shots to closeups that moves the story along at a thriller movie kind of clip. The scene revealing the nature of the hack deliver by Brit intelligence goes from bright and sterile to moody and dimly lit in ways that tie into the Mega City assault scene that follows. There is something in the character design and Quinton Winter’s colors that, although clearly classic, manages to feel freshened and updated somehow.

Dexter Bulletopia Chapter 10: Malice in Plunderland Part 2
Credits: Dan Abnett (script), Tazio Bettin (art), Matt Soffe (colors) Annie Parkhouse (letters)

Matthew Blair While the premise of a simple mob war seems kind of plain and boring for Dexter and his crew after everything they’ve been through, it turns out that their current predicament is far from boring and has plenty to offer in terms of interesting stories and ideas. Case in point, Dexter is starting to realize what’s going on and now it’s time for him and his merry gang to dig themselves out of this hole by lying their butts off.

While the last section of the story drew some criticism for being a bit boring, “Dexter Chapter 10 Part 2” offers a roaring comeback for Dan Abnett’s stellar writing. Abnett offers a callback to the classic Kurosawa film “Yojimbo” by having Dexter and his small group land in the middle of a small town mob war and by having both criminal factions attempt to woo Dexter to their side thinking that he works for a larger crime syndicate. The different viewpoints are masterfully handled by having gangsters from each faction break the fourth wall and tell the reader what they’re thinking, the story is given a chance to establish a breakneck pace with plenty of space to breathe, and the case of mistaken identity adds a wonderful bit of tension. It’s a great bit of storytelling that leaves the reader on the edge of their seat, waiting to see what happens next.

While Tazio Bettin’s artwork takes something of a back seat in “Dexter Chapter 10 Part 2” it does a fantastic job of enhancing the story and giving the reader something great to look at. While the constraints of time and page count limit how the artwork can express itself, the panel layouts do a great job of giving the reader a sense of space and timing, which goes a long way towards enhancing Abnett’s snappy dialogue. The two big action scenes in this story are easy to understand and exciting, while Bettin uses a minimalist style to make the character’s facial expressions easy to read and highly emotive.

“Dexter Chapter 10 Part 2” is a definite return to form for the entire creative team and does a great job of getting the reader invested into what is going on. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun to read.

Skip Tracer: Valhalla Part Three
Credits: James Peaty (script), Paul Marshall (art), Dylan Teague (colours), Simon Bowland(letters)

Continued below

Michael Mazzacane: This goes against everything the “2000 AD” is structured around, but the creative team for this strip should’ve ended this entry on the third page. That simple mirrored page of 6 panels in the middle of the strip. Nolan and the reader are now fully informed as to what the quest is so that’s taken care of, all that’s left to do is say goodbye. Peaty and Marshall don’t create this third page around a “goodbye” it’s something deferred, nebulous, unspoken. It’s an “I hope” as Nolan tries to comfort his daughter as she wonders if she’ll ever see him again. It’s a wonderful moment that pays off all the work done in the opening strip and the emotional climax of this strip.

The following two pages are technically necessary for plot purposes, though not consequential as it is just literally moving them to the cube and could have been omitted in the gutter space between Progs. So, like the attempt at humor Nolan gives about calling ahead to the cube, these two pages don’t really work. They are technically fine but does the cliffhanger on the final page seem all that gripping? Of course, everything is going to go wrong. Marshall’s figure work in a zero-gravity space is solid along with Dylan Teague’s colors giving things a very Alien vibe. But they don’t create strong emotion in me as a reader because I’m hung up on the hopes and dreams of a father and daughter.

As far as exposition dumps and mission briefs go, the opening two pages are about as textbook as you can get. Just enough information for readers to understand the heist. Just enough garbled audio to give the hint of danger and Weirdness they’ll be running into. In particular Marshall’s emotive work on Nolan during this sequence sells the sequence. Now they’ve got to go back to the cube and maybe find the macguffin that will turn this whole thing around, if they can survive the ordeal.

Brink: Mercury Retrograde Part 19
Credits: Dan Abnett (script), INJ Culbard (art), Simon Bowland (letters)

Brian Salvatore: After focusing almost exclusively on Maz for the past few months, ‘Mercury Retrograde’ pans back to the union folks, specifically ‘Evan Leeden,’ aka Denny Reardon. We don’t know which name is real, or exactly what he is doing, but it appears that Denny (as his contact on the outside calls him, so let’s presume that’s his actual name) has been leading the union towards radical action not because he’s a true believer, but rather because he’s an embed from somewhere else.

This, of course, all makes sense. His arrival was one that was unexpected and sudden, but through his wit and charms he was able to weasel his way into the union without much trouble. INJ Culbard always drew him a little different than the rest; not enough to stand out like a sore thumb, but enough to never look quite like everyone else. At first, I thought it was his Jesse Plemons look that made him not blend in, along with his eyes. The eyes that, to me, looked like a true believer’s, instead are that of an interloper and instigator.

Dan Abnett’s script lays out a lot here, but not so much as to leave the story totally without mystery or intrigue. The story of the blackout, or Denny, and even of Maz, is starting to all come into focus now, allowing the story to, sort of for the first time, look like a mosaic instead of a jumbled collage. We know that Denny is setting the union up for something that, maybe, was never really meant to happen. But he’s here, and it is. The only question now is how bad it will be.


//TAGS | Multiver-City One

Brian Salvatore

Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).

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Matthew Blair

Matthew Blair hails from Portland, Oregon by way of Attleboro, Massachusetts. He loves everything comic related, and will talk about it for hours if asked. He also writes a web comic about a family of super villains which can be found here: https://tapas.io/series/The-Secret-Lives-of-Villains

EMAIL | ARTICLES

Greg Lincoln

EMAIL | ARTICLES

Michael Mazzacane

Your Friendly Neighborhood Media & Cultural Studies-Man Twitter

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