Archive for July, 2012


Prog 1793 – Out For Blood!

Cover:

Love it. A stunning effort from Leigh Gallagher for the first ever Aquila cover. Aquila’s stock fantasy hero pose is likely to help pull in any fantasty fans who have never read 2000AD before. Slaine hasn’t been seen in quite a while, so Aquila is very much taking up the fantasy portion of the galaxys greatest right now. I’m not sure if that monster thing in the background is two seperate monsters, or one monster which aquila has just cut in two. Either way it makes for a great background. Allround this is a very good cover indeed.

Judge Dredd – Debris – Part 2:

The fall out from the Day of Chaos continues to tick along very nicely here. I was particularly pleased to see the appearance of the Space Corps this week. A lot of people have often said they find it hard to believe in Mega City One actually having a Space Corps as they only ever seem to appear in spin off strips such as Insurrection, so it’s good to see them getting some recognition in the main strip. Two parts into this story and I can’t help but feel how effective it would be if the Citi-Def units of Sue Perkins block were actually to defeat the Judges. It would certainly help to reinforce how much of a gamechanger the Day of Chaos was, if the Judges were unable to overcome their citizens. Oh and on a side note, I was really happy to see the Nerve Centre finally acknowledging that the population is now down to fifty million.

The Red Seas – Beautiful Freak – Part 2:

It’s hard to believe that this is the penultimate Red Sea’s strip, as it seems so different to anything we’ve ever seen before in the strip. Once again this week the main characters are all absent as we continue to focus on 2012 and the escape of Orlando Doyle’s homunculus. Thats not a criticism by any means, I am really enjoying this story and continue to be intrigued as to how this is going to set up the final strip (due sometime next year apparently). A couple of nice references to Doctor Who are very much the icing on the cake of this weeks installment.

Aquila – Blood of the Iceni – Part 2:

Aquila continues to impress and continues to be the best thing in the Prog right now. I love that this week’s installment was quite dialogue heavy as it establishes the major plot points of this story without seeming to much like unneccesary exposition. Leigh Gallagher’s artwork is in a league of its own on this strip, really helping to suck the reader into a story which allready had the benefit of a great script. I’m not sure that Boudicca would actually have dressed like that mind, but I guess it doesn’t really matter when you have a story which features serpents hatching out of men’s bodies.

The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael – Manhunt – Part 5:

I’m sorry but this still really isn’t working for me at all. I certainly can’t crticise it for being in anyway bad, because it isn’t. But as I said last week I really don’t think I’m the target audience for this strip. To me the ability of all the characters to be reincarnated together after death is just taking away any of the jeopardy from the story. If you like this kind of thing then I’m sure the strip is excellent, but as I said it just doesn’t seem to be doing anything for me right now.

Lenny Zero – Zero’s 7 – Part 2:

Lenny Zero contiues to prove to be a very enjoyable read, as Zero has to deal with a rather menacing robotic loan shark. I don’t really have too much else to say about this strip this week, but thats just an idication of how competent everything is with this strip. Good without quite being great. A nice bookend to end the Prog with.

Overall:

The current lineup of strips continues to impress this week, with the exception of Ichabod Azrael (which again as I said is entirely down to my own taste rather than the strips quality). It really speaks volumes of the quality of 2000AD right now that in such a strong Prog, a brand new strip with a character we’re not familiar with yet can be the best of the bunch.

Quote of the Week: “So we’re all part of a Tortoise’s dream?” – The Red Seas

Thrill of the Week: Aquila

Advertisements

5000 Views!!!

A huge thank you to all of you who have viewed the blog, which has just reached the milestone of 5000 views. When I first started this blog last year I didn’t think anyone would be even remotely interested in my ramblings or my opinions, and indeed the first few months were a struggle. But eventually the blog took off and I’m delighted that so many of you have (hopefully) enjoyed reading my reviews. Special thanks to Eamonn Clarke for his excellent medical reviews and also to the guys over at the Everything Comes Back To 2000AD blog (http://2000ad.wordpress.com/) who have helped publicise Brit Cit Reviews from time to time, and have given me a steady supply of new readers. Once again thank you to all of you readers and subscribers and I hope you all continue to enjoy reading Brit Cit Reviews in the future.

Next to 2000AD itself, Charley’s War is perhaps Pat Mill’s most well known creation. While he’s also written the likes of Savage, Slaine, Defoe, ABC Warriors etc I personally think that Charley’s War is quite rightly considered one of his best works. Printed in the war comic Battle, Charley’s War was a huge risk to take. Having an anti-war story in a war comic is always going to be risky, especially when the comic is aimed at 10 – 12 year old boys. Add to that the removal of the artist from an allready popular strip to focus entirely on Charley’s War, then the comic was perhaps seemingly unlikly to succeed. But as anyone who has read it will tell you, Charley’s War did not just succeed, but it became one of the greatest British comic strips of all time.

If, like me, you have even a passing interest in the First World War then you’re sure to love Charley’s War. Right from the start of this first volume it’s clear that this isn’t going to be any prosaic Commando style war story, with seemingly invincible British soldiers “taking it to the Bosche”. No, here we have a main character who has very little in the way of intelligence (as brilliantly portrayed in his letters home), is certainly nothing out of the ordinary, and is perhaps one of the least likely people to become a soldier. In that respect he is very much your typical “Tommy Atkins”, just a working class boy who was called away to fight. The supporting cast are all well fleshed out characters too, such as Smith 70 and his obsession with anything techincal, and the tragic figure of “Lonely” who has been traumatised by his experiences in the trenchs. The German’s are written for very well too. Rather than be portrayed as evil monsters to be overcome, they are instead portrayed as the German equivalent of our soldiers (which of course is what they really were). There are perhaps some stereo typical characters thrown into the mix however, such as the cockney Sergeant and the upper class officers, but the reason they’re stereotypes is because they often were as portrayed here, the officers in particular.

While Mills provides a fantasticlly well researched script, a lot of the praise must go to the late Joe Colquhoun’s superb artwork. Every panel expertly evokes the feeling of the First World War trenches, with loads of detail being put into the backgrounds of every panel. I can’t begin to imagine how long it must have taken to draw the Charley’s War strips, but a quick flick through any volume will give the impression that the artwork must have been highly labour intensive. It’s a testament to Colquhoun that in a strip with such a large cast of characters, every character is easily recognisable and distinguishable from the others.

If there’s one niggle I have with this first volume it’s that some of the dialogue does feel quite dated. Being written in the 1970s there’s a lot of characters saying things which people just wouldnt really say or even think, for example describing what they are about to do when in a fight with an enemy soldier. Still this doesn’t detract from the quality of the story by any means and must just be viewed as a byproduct of the times it was written in.

As both an anti-war story and a comic strip, the first volume of Charley’s War succeeds tremendously. This is exactly the sort of thing which would be perfect to give to any school children who are studying the First World War at school, as everything from the script to the art is pretty historically accurate. If you read Charley’s War on it’s original run then I would still recommend you pick this up, as not only does it remain a classic comic strip, but the added extra of Pat Mill’s commentry provides a fascinating insight into his thought process when writing the strip. I can’t believe it took me so long to start to read Charley’s War, particularly considering I allready had an interest in the time period. So if you’ve been thinking about picking up this first volume for some time, then I recommend you get of the fence and purchase a copy asap.

Prog 1792 – Cashback!

Cover:

Certainly an eye catching cover this week, announcing the return of Lenny Zero. It’s a bit busy for my liking, with the perspective on the two characters perhaps a little bit off (although if they’d been standing straight on then the whole thing probably wouldn’t work as well). However I still thinks it’s a good cover, I mean who doesn’t want to see a Polar Bear smoking a cigar? I like the little touch of having former Chief Judge Griffen on the 100 Cred notes, and the 2000AD logo is clear to see which is always appreciated.

Judge Dredd – Debris – Part 1:

Now this is much more like it. After two disapointing Dredd’s in a row we get the strip which should have immediatly followed the Day of Chaos. What’s really good about the set up for this story is that there’s no black and white good guys and bad guys. Everything is very much a shade of grey here. The Citi-Def units blockading themselves in their blocks are perhaps being a bit selfish, hording all their supplies from the hungry masses, but its hard not to sympathise with them. They’ve come through the Day of Chaos unscathed without any help from the city, and now they understandably don’t want to have to give up everything they’ve worked for. It will be very interesting to see how this story plays out, but after just one part I’m pleased to say that this really is a vast improvement over the last couple of weeks. Mind you, Tharg really needs to update the Dredd synopsis on the contents page as Mega City One is most certainly not home to 400 million citizens anymore.

The Red Seas – Beautiful Freak – Part 1:

Its been quite a while since we last saw The Red Seas in the Prog, and according to the Nerve Centre this is sadly going to be the penultimate story. It’s a very different start to this story, with the action being set entirely in the modern day and Captain Jack Dancer and his crew nowhere to be seen. I loved the little touches in the backgrounds of this weeks installment, such as Delboy and Rodney in the Cafe and Cavorite’s Spaceship from the First Men on the Moon. The appearance of Orlando Doyle in the final panel is surely going to be setting up the final Red Seas strip, and with several more Ian Edginton scripted strips on the way, I can’t help but feel that we will be getting some kind of cross over story soon. I thouroughly enjoyed  this weeks installment and am intrigued as to where this is going.

Aquila – Blood of the Iceni – Part 1:

I’ve been really looking forward to this since the Prologue way back in Prog 2012. Judging by the first installment this is going to be everything I hoped it would be. It’s a seemingly indestructible gladiator fighting against the Romans (or the Britons in this first part) depicted in gory detail. The art is absolutly stunning with special mention going to Gary Caldwell’s superb colours. This is shaping up to be a fantastic addition to the Prog and I am very excited about reading it each week.

The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael – Manhunt – Part 4:

I think I’m beginning to grow a little tired of this strip. As I mentioned previously I haven’t read the original Ichabod Azrael strip and I’m really struggling to find anything of interest here. The art is great but I still feel that there is far to much white space on the page between the panels. I’m certainly not suggesting that this is in anyway a bad strip, but I just don’t think this is going to be for me. However I will keep an open mind and hopefully this strip will win me over before the end.

Lenny Zero – Zero’s 7 – Part 1:

I’ve never read any Lenny Zero strips before although I was aware of who the character was. Judging by this first installment this is going to be a pretty enjoyable read. There’s lots too enjoy here, from the talking Polar Bear to the…erm…talking cash machine and just like The Red Seas there’s plenty going on in the backgrounds, with extra merit for the inclusion of a Shako poster in the pool room. The story is one we’ve seen loads of times before, even in a Judge Dredd strip not so long ago. But I think this is going to be a fun ride and I look forward to reading the rest of this strip.

Overall:

A really good Prog this week with four out of five strips firing on all cylinders. Often when we’re on the run into a hundred numbered Prog the line up of strips can feel a little tired, but judging by the four strips which started this week that is not going to be the case this time around. Roll on next week.

Quote of the Week: “You brought me here to meet a cash machine.” – Lenny Zero

Thrill of the Week: Aquila

 

Since I began this blog back in November of last year, all of the reviews have been 2000AD related. However after much consideration I have decided that I am going to extend the blog’s remit to include non 2000AD strips from 2000AD creators. I will be beginning these non 2000AD reviews with the first volume of Pat Mill’s legendary Anti-war classic Charley’s War. This strip did of course get a reprint run in the Judge Dredd Megazine a few years ago, so I guess its not that far from the blog’s original remit. Hopefully I’ll review all of the Charley’s War strips in time. Rest assured regular readers that this blog will still be predominantly about 2000AD, with these other reviews hopefully adding a little extra to the blog. Expect the first review in the coming weeks.

Prog 1791 – The End

WARNING – REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

Cover:

A stunning cover this week to advertise the very last installment of Nikolai Dante. The sunset backdrop is a nice allusion to the strip finally coming to an end, while the subtle face of Dante appearing on the wall is a very nice little touch. This is a brilliant cover to use for the end of the strip, going very much for the quiet approach rather than an overly dramatic one, which would undoubtedly have failed.

Judge Dredd – The Rich Cabaret:

I’m afraid its two lacklustre Dredd’s in a row now. Once again this weeks strip feels like it was written before the Day of Chaos, with a couple of references to the events being seemingly shoehorned into the script. I find it quite hard to believe that all those people would be sitting around watching a cabaret after 350 million citizens have only just lost their lives. The artwork isn’t up to scratch this week either. What on Earth is going on with Maitland’s uniform this time around? On the plus side it was nice to see the return of Deller to the strip, having last been seen in an eight part story at the beginning of last year. However his appearance isn’t enough to save this week’s Dredd in my eyes.

The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael – Manhunt – Part 3:

Ahh now I understand whats going on here. This weeks installment of Ichabod is pretty heavy on the exposition, but for someone who has never read the original strip this is something I’m very thankful for. What we learn in this weeks installment sets up the rest of the strip quite nicely, and the contrast of black & white and colour art is extremly effective. I’m now looking forward to seeing where this will go.

Tharg’s 3rillers – 1947 – Part 3 (Final Part):

An excellent end for what has been an excellent little story. We finally get a glimpse of the mysterious Allies this week, and I love how this was done. Rather than make a big fan fare of thier rather grotesque appearance, we are instead given one panel of what they look like without any reference being made to it in the script. Once again this week I have to say that theres more than enough good ideas on show here for a full length series. Indeed the ending of this strip seems to be positively screaming out for a continuation. I sincerely hope that we get to see more of this alternate history strip.

Future Shocks – Other People’s Machines:

I have no idea what this strip was actually about, and to be honest I don’t really care either. This is a very poor story which seems to have been forced into just four pages when it most certainly needed more. Even had it been longer I wouldn’t have enjoyed it though, as there’s little to recommend here. A total contrast in quality compared to the excellent 3riller.

Nikolai Dante – Sympathy For The Devil – Part 6 (Final Part):

And so after fifteen long years, the saga of the Russian Rogue finally bids “Dosvedanya”. Thats a hell of a long run for a comic strip these days ( which to put into perspective I would have been just six years old when Nikolai Dante began!). This wasn’t the ending that I was expecting, but it is most certainly the perfect ending to the strip. Having Dante walk away from all his responsibilities to continue his life of adventuring is absolutly keeping in character, although it is perhaps a little bit harsh on Elena. Although this is most certainly the final end for the strip, its nice that we as readers are left in no doubt that Dante will continue to have many more adventures without us. A perfect ending to one of the most important strips in the history of 2000AD.

Overall:

A rather lacklustre Dredd and a very poor Future Shock bring down the quality of this weeks Prog, although the other three strips were so good that this doesn’t really matter too much. We’ll forever remember this Prog as the end of Nikolai Dante, but we should by no means overlook just how good the 3riller and Ichabod Azrael are this week.

Quote of the Week: “Damn you, Nikolai Dante. Damn you to Hell.” – Nikolai Dante

Thrill of the Week: Nikolai Dante

Prog 1790 – Shooting Star

Cover:

Very mixed feelings on this weeks cover. Artwise it’s perfectly good, but theres something very off in the composition. The background image could have been a very effective cover on its own, but Durham Red in front of it really does ruin it. Durham looks like she’s just been stuck in front of the background image, and so rather than looking like a cohesive cover it looks more like two seperate images, one in front of the other. Its not a terrible cover, but I don’t think it really works.

Judge Dredd – The Bean Counter:

Well the Day of Chaos arc is officially over and now we’re left with its aftermath. This weeks strip has really divided opinion over on the 2000AD forums with many feeling that this story feels wrong after every thing thats come before it in the Day of Chaos arc. In this respect I have to agree with them, as even though there are a few references to the Chaos Day in the strip, it just doesn’t look like we’re in a city that has been totally devastated by an epidemic and mass riots. This feels very much like a standard one off Dredd strip and I can’t help but feel that this could have been scheduled for later on in the year. Story wise its not bad but I don’t think its particularly good either. A bit of a disapointment after the phenomenal year of Dredd we’ve just had.

Durham Red – The “Nobody Wants This Job” Job – Part 6 (Final Part):

Durham Red comes to the end of her current run this week, and I think overall this has been a fun, if rather inconsequential story. This has been far better than Alan Grant’s recent Cadet Anderson story, although it has suffered from the same problem of not presenting us with anything new for the main character. The ending for this story does feel like a little bit of a copout, but in does make sense given what we’d learned about Avi Reebok previously. The thing that really bothered me was the way Durham Red treats Jones The Voice (I think that was his name anyway) at the end. Taking all the money for herself and leaving him with nothing seemed a bit out of character from her, even if Jones has invited himself along on the hunt. Overall I won’t be overly excited if Durham Red returns for another of these strips, but I certainly won’t mind seeing another one in the Prog either.

Tharg’s 3rillers – 1947 – Part 2:

I continue to be impressed by this latest 3riller. I don’t really have an awful lot to say about it, but everything is working very well here, and like I said last week I genuinly feel that the premise of this strip would be enough for a full length series. I’ve no idea how it’s going to end next week, but I’m certainly looking forward to finding out. Excellent stuff.

The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael – Manhunt – Part 2:

I have absolutly no idea whats going on here, but I’m happy to go along for the ride for now. The art is excellent, although I can’t help but feel there’s far to much white space between the panels on each page. The setting of 1920’s America is certainly an interesting one, and one I don’t recall having seen used in the Prog before. The panels with the Jazz singer in the bar practically provid the reader with the soundtrack for this series. I haven’t a clue why Al Capone appears to be a Devil though. Time will tell I suppose.

Nikolai Dante – Sympathy For The Devil – Part 5:

The penultimate installment of Dante and the strip is just dripping in suspense. How is this going to end? Will everybody get out alive? Will we get the happy ending that we all so desperatly want for the characters? Next week’s presumably double length episode must surely be one of the most anticipated installments in the history of 2000AD. This really is absolutly fantastic stuff and I’m going to be sad when this all comes to an end next week.

Overall:

A very mixed Prog this week. It’s still pretty damn good, but after the dizzying highs we’ve had from the Prog lately it does come as a little bit of a disapointment. It seems so strange to see Dredd go from being the best thing in the Prog for pretty much a whole year, to suddenly being the weakest strip in the Prog this week. Still there’s no actual bad strips here, so I remain very happy with the current thrill output from Tharg.

Quote of the Week: “I’m what happens to heroes.” – Nikolai Dante

Thrill of the Week: 1947

 

%d bloggers like this: