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 2000 AD
Judge Dredd: Clanker, Part 2
Credits: Ken Niemand (script), Nick Dyer (art), John Charles (colors), Annie Parkhouse (letters)
Greg Lincoln: Nick Dyer’s chunky, sketchy art style makes ‘Clanker Part Two’ more of a fun romp than the two part filler it might otherwise feel like. The fight against the entity of the new flesh in its Clanker body takes up most of the page space and he makes the most of that fight. Dyer draws some nicely executed close ups of the Clanker that the entity now occupies. The poses and expressions he gives both the Judges and the Clanker throughout are well crafted and really carry the tale.
Ken Niemand’s story feels like it should have included more build up to get to these events. The opening page tells us they had to search, but it feels like there was very little chase. The Judges seemingly found the entity possessed Clanker super easily. Despite having a “lesser” Psi judge foisted on him, Dredd and his posse tracked down the machine easily and with an experimental weapon seemed to have neutralized it in one go. Niemand uses this story to imply something that may come back later along with the entity. The Justice Department is apparently suffering “cutbacks.” It maybe a throwaway line explaining Dredd being stuck with Kaspian, but maybe it will come back in a different way.
Helium: Scorched Earth Part 10
Credits: Ian Edington (script), D’Israeli (art) Simon Bowland (letters)
Matthew Blair: The gambit with the living city worked, but only temporarily. Now, our intrepid band of heroes has to find a way to escape the massive Ris carrier with nothing but a tiny helicopter, an extremely limited fuel supply, and their wits.
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you view it), it looks like their wits will be able to buy them a few more minutes of life.
Ian Ediginton’s writing has really come into its own lately and in “Helium: Scorched Earth Part 10” he crafts a short, solid, and fun chase scene that has everything a good chase scene needs to be entertaining. The stakes are clear, the odds are stacked against the heroes, they do manage to get ahead with pluck and some very capable quick thinking, and there’s still enough danger to keep the reader engaged and desperate for more. On top of all of that, there is a great sense of pacing and the dialogue is effective and adds urgency to the scene. Even if our heroes don’t survive this, this will be a good way for them to go.
While the highlights of D’Israeli’s artwork has been the world design and color schemes, “Helium: Scorched Earth Part 10” gives him a chance to really showcase his ability to draw action. While previous sections of the story did have fighting and some great moments, they weren’t really drawn out and the central focus of the story. Here, D’Israeli gets to show off his skills at crafting a well laid out and thoughtful action scene that keeps to the spirit of the script and doesn’t disappoint. The action is clear and easy to see, and like the writing it leaves out enough to leave the reader wanting more.
“Helium: Scorched Earth Part 10” is a fantastic chase scene that lets the creative team show off their talent while the characters get to show off their ingenuity and skill. It’s a shame they’re running out of fuel and will die soon if they don’t get help, it would have been nice to see what else they had in store.
The Devil’s Railroad, Part 9
Credits: Peter Milligan (script), Rufus Dayglo (art), Jose Villarrubia (colors), Jim Campbell (letters)
Brian Salvatore: With some sci-fi hand waving about a trampoline, Palamon finally gets to Earth, only to begin to find it not the least bit what he expected. Peter Milligan’s script does a good job of laying out what the reader already knows – Earth is not the Eden that Palamon thinks it is – without dropping it all on him at once. Palamon will soon enough learn about Earth’s true nature, but first, he continues to fuck things up by letting his temper get the better of him, even when the dye is already cast in the situations that he rebels from.Continued below
This duality of Earth is well represented in Rufus Dayglo’s art as well, allowing the sinister to creep in through our eyes, even if it isn’t exactly there through Palamon’s yet. Dayglo also continues to draw rage really effectively, whether Palamon’s rage at his betrayal or Sister White’s rage at…well, everything. It is an interesting emotion under Dayglo’s pencil, as his work is usually less visceral and more impressionistic. Perhaps that’s why it works so well; it can cut through the very stylized pages to present something more grounded.
Enemy Earth – Book Three: Part Two
Credits: Cavan Scott (script), Luke Horsman (art), Simon Bowland (letters)
Chris Egan: Keeping at its mile a minute pace, Part Two is an energetic race as everyone tries to get away from an ever changing, monstrous Julius. With each page utilizing a minimum of 6-8 panels, the action moves up, down, and all around as the next insane set of running, fighting, and surviving scenarios unfold. When a group of commandos appear out of nowhere to get the drop on the gang and Julius, the confusion and mayhem only ramps up. Completely leaving any semblance of the Pixar style behind, this chapter now looks like something from the late 90s era of Cartoon Network. Zany and chaotic, but still mostly OK for youngish viewers. With each turn of the page, the story gets wilder, adding confusion to the characters’s point of view, but not so much the readers’s, outside of keeping enough of a mystery going as to not give us everything too early. You’ll only be as lost as the creative team wants you to be as they tell their story. With some mild twists, turns, and a decent shock at the end, this adventure is just getting started and they have hung us off the right cliff this early on.
Fun action with enough stakes to keep the energy up and plenty of smirks to go around. The writing is light and loose, a little unusual for Scott, and the artwork speaks for itself. It is wild and fun, but never strays too far from typical 2000AD or YA sci-fi fare. The use of such a varied color palette does wonders for the already solid artwork.
Feral & Foe: Bad Godesberg, Part 10
Credits: Dan Abnett (script), Richard Elson (art), Jim Campbell (letters)
Michael Mazzacane: After several strips of split parties and stunted plot developments, the tenth edition of “Fearl & Foe” is a nice change of pace. With the entire party together they are able to catch one another up and allow Wraithchild to introduce everyone to their new friend. Without all the fuss of fighting or being scared for one’s life, Dan Abnett’s scripting gets to take center stage with Jim Campbell’s lettering selling the jokes. This was just a nice change of pace.
I’m not sure if it is a commentary on myself that I did not pick up on Poor Celine’s pun name the first time I read it, but that realization being timed with Bode having the same realization within the same instance was a nice reading experience. Much of this strip revolves around Celine expositing to the party because they’re honestly a bunch of know-nothings sent by inept bureaucracy. Celine’s commentary on the ignorance of humanity is correct. Her being “right, ya know” is a nice recurring dialogic gag littered throughout the strip. Jim Campbell’s lettering these asides in a thinner, sketchier word balloon helps to sell the inflected nature of that speech. Being so dialogue driven, Richard Elson doesn’t exactly break the bank in terms of page design but shows why certain patterned panel setups are really quite effective for showing a round table discussion.
The cliffhanger is perhaps a bit too reflexive for my taste but it’s a solid gory dark gag that does promise quite the showdown in the coming weeks.