Category: Prog


Judge Dredd – IDW #1

On the back of the recent Dredd movie, 2000AD have taken the decision to produce a brand new series of Judge Dredd comic strips aimed at the American market. Chances are if you’re reading this then you allready knew that. While a lot of people were excited about the prospect of (once again) trying to launch Dredd in the States, there was some apprehension over how much the iconic character we all know and love would be changed to fit in with the American market. So how recognisable were the two strips we were presented with in this first issue? Well the answer is that they are both pretty spot on. Although the strips are set in 2100 (34 years behind the Prog and Meg) everything is recognisably Dredd, from the streets of Mega City One to the Lawmasters and Lawgivers used by the Justice department. But how good are the stories themselves?

RIPE – The main strip in this first issue is 16 pages in length and appears to be the first part of a multi part story. The idea of killer fruit being released in the Meg is a classic 2000AD idea, so the creators have got this aspect of the strip correct straight off the bat. It’s perhaps not the most exciting first installment, but it’s ok and I imagine it would be a very effective opener if this was the first time you’d come across Judge Dredd. The character of Dredd himself seems to be pretty accurate with the exception of a couple of clunky lines, but these can be ironed out over time. It seems like this opening story is going to be focusing on a robot rebellion (aka the first robot war) so this could be an intriguing opener once we’ve seen a few more installments. The art is ok although the colours are a little bit muted for my taste. Still not too bad a start at all.

PROTECTION RACKET – Also included is a 6 page back up strip, which is perhaps a little stronger than the main strip was. This story of a shop owner trying to defend his shop against looters is one I could easily imagine appearing as a one off strip in the prog, and seems to show the same writer getting a better grip on Dredd’s world allready. The art is a step up from the main strip, with much more detailed panels and much more effective use of colour. However the artists decision to use the Judge’s uniform as seen in the Stallone movie is a bewildering one and does detract from what was otherwise a very fine strip indeed.

There is certainly enough in this first issue to suggest that the creative team can make Dredd work in America, while still keeping the basics of the character close to what we’re familiar with. Admittedly this first issue is far from perfect (and pales in comparison to the stunningly brilliant run we’re seeing in the Prog right now) but there is enough to keep me hopeful that the series can be a success. I shall look forward to seeing how the series progresses in the next issue.

6/10

Prog 1796 – Normal To The Max

Cover:

On the one hand this isn’t a great cover. It’s a very static image, and one which certainly won’t pull in any new readers. But on the other hand it’s announcing the return of Max Normal to the Prog, a fact which is very likely to pull in any lapsed readers. As a piece of art in it’s own right this doesn’t really work, despite being well drawn. But as a cover designed to promote the return of a popular character it’s a 100% success.

Judge Dredd – Debris – Part 5 (Final Part):

Debris comes to it’s conclusion this week, as Dredd takes down the block’s leader and sets about bringing down the whole block’s Citi-Def unit. As a story showing some of the aftermath of the Day of Chaos, Debris has worked very well indeed, although I hope we get to see more of what an impact the DOC had on the whole City soon. However I have a feeling that the main purpose of Debris has been to reintroduce the character of Dolman to the strip, and hopefully this will lead to another look at his character sooner rather than later. All things considered Debris has been a very competent strip, and one which I’ve enjoyed reading. Oh, and could we please see more of the Space Corps officer Easter please Tharg?

The Red Seas – Beautiful Freak – Part 5 (Final Part):

It’s difficult to really call this weeks installment of The Red Seas an ending, as the whole point of this story has been to set up the final Red Seas strip, which we should be seeing sometime next year. As usual with The Red Seas I’ve enjoyed every page of this little story and if truth be told I’m rather sad to see it come to an end. Credit has to go to Ian Edginton for keeping me hooked on this strip, despite the fact that all of the main characters were only notable by their complete absence this time around.

Aquila – Blood of the Iceni – Part 5:

An exposition heavy installment this week, but one which I found absolutly fascinating. It’s actually amazing how much I’m enjoying this strip, as despite having an interest in History I really have virtually no interest in the Romans at all. But I guess when both the script and the art are as good as they are here then it really doesn’t matter when or where a story is set. I’m guessing that this particular story only has another three weeks to run, so I sincerely hope that it won’t be too long untill we see more of Aquila in the Prog.

The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael – Manhunt – Part 8:

Even more amazing is the fact that I’m now enjoying this strip so much, and indeed it only seems to be getting better and better with each installment. I suppose actually having a grasp of what is going on in the story now means I can enjoy it a lot more than I could earlier in this strips run. This week there are a couple of factors introduced which now means that there is a genuine sense of jeopardy for the main characters, something which the strip had previously been lacking. This is turning into a pretty solid strip.

Lenny Zero – Zero’s 7 – Part 5:

Well Max Normal is back, and that can only be a good thing. I’d actually forgotten just how great a character he was, and arguably he was one of the most important characters during the early days of Dredd. Story wise Lenny Zero continues to be a tremendous amount of fun to read each week, and I for one am really looking forward to the actual heist taking place. This is proving to be something of a mini masterclass in how to write a Dredd world spin off.

Overall:

Another excellent Prog this week, with five out of five strips being absolute must reads. What else do I really need to say?

Quote of the Week: “This storm is a cacophony causing myriad toilet troubles.” – Ichabod Azrael

Thrill of the Week: Lenny Zero

Prog 1795 – Plane Crazy!

Cover:

Clint Langley’s artwork always seems to divide people, but I don’t think anyone would disagree with me when I say that this is an incredible cover image. It’s also a panel in the strip itself, although the strips version, while being well drawn, isn’t a patch on the cover version. A truly memorable cover.

Judge Dredd – Debris – Part 4:

As this story continues I can’t help but increasingly feel that Dredd would be able to take care of this situation on his own. He appears to be handling himself pretty well up to now, which is a lot more than can be said for the Space Corps involvement. The cliffhange at the end of this installment reveals that the non combatant is in fact the Dredd clone Dolman, something which everyone except me seemed to have allready worked out. It shall be most interesting indeed to see what they do with Dolman now he’s returned, as his decision to leave Justice Department was one which should have led to some very good follow up stories before now, seeing as he is a clone of Dredd. Debris continues to entertain and I’m enjoying reading it each week.

The Red Seas – Beautiful Freak – Part 4:

The current Red Seas story seems to be linking up with the main story at last, as Doyle’s time machine is activated and the way back to Jack Dancer’s time is now open. Having said that I would still like to see a lot more of Windsor and Newton, as they are a couple of really fun characters. I thoroughly enjoyed this weeks installment, although I do again have one slight niggle over the art. This weeks installment is set at 3AM so it should be dark outside, however the art work makes it look like its midday. Still when the story is as good as this I can overlook the artworks shortcomings.

Aquila – Blood of the Iceni – Part 4:

Not too much to say about Aquila this week, other than that it continues to impress in every department. Leigh Gallagher’s artwork just seems to get better and better every week, and really is the perfect style of art for this strip. There can’t be too many comic strips out there where the main character gets run through with a spear in only its second story. Aquila is immortal though so I’m sure he’ll be fine.

The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael – Manhunt – Part 7:

Full credit to all involved on this strip, as for the second week in a row it managed to keep my interest, despite not having been very interested in the story up till now. Having the action stop in one time zone for more than one installment has deffinetly helped the flow of the strip, as previously it almost felt like we were starting a new story every week. As I said before, the image on the cover is also seen more or less the same in the strip, even though it is nowhere near as eyecatching. This isn’t intended as a critique of Dom Reardon’s artwork though, which for the most part reminds me of a far more competent version of The Red Seas artist Steve Yeowell’s work.

Lenny Zero – Zero’s 7 – Part 4:

This is just so much fun to read each week, and I was pleased to see the talking Polar Bear back in it for this installment, as I think he’s a brilliant character. However this installment will most certainly be remembered for the return of another character, none other than the “Pin Stripe Freak” himself, Max Normal. It’s not too long since I was reading some early Dredd strips with Max in them, and was wondering to myself whatever happened to him, so it is an absolute delight to see him make his return. Roll on next weeks installment.

Overall:

The Prog continues it’s fantastic run of form, as we are treated to another five star line up this week. In fact it’s becoming increasingly hard to review every week, as everything is just so damn good right now. Whoever said you can have too much of a good thing?

Quote of the Week: “I’m busy – arrest each other.” – Judge Dredd

Thrill of the Week: The Red Seas

Prog 1794 – Warzone!

Cover:

A very eyecatching effort from Lee Garbett for this weeks cover. The use of the almost neon red colouring helps make what could have been a fairly static image jump out on the shelf. Has Lee Garbett worked for 2000AD before? It’s certainly not a name that I recognise. Not likely to be a contender for cover of the year, but a pretty good effort nonetheless.

Judge Dredd – Debris – Part 3:

The confrontation between the Judges and Sue Perkin’s block continues this week, with the Judges preparing to take down the Citi Def units by any means neccesary. Lots of action sequences in this installment, with the Judges most certainly not having everything there way. The panel where Dredd threatens to nuke the block is a particularly good one, seemingly conveying the message that no matter how well organised you are you will never be able to overcome the system. While the story is continuing to impress, the artwork seems to be a little bit rushed this week. Despite that Debris remains an excellent little story.

The Red Seas – Beautiful Freak – Part 3:

Not a lot to talk about this week, as very little actually happens in the strips five pages. If you’re going to have almost two pages of story without any dialogue then you need to have some really good art to keep the readers attention, and unfortunatly The Red Seas does not have that. Steve Yeowell’s artwork is far to simple to carry those two pages, with not a single background to be seen anywhere (and I say that as someone who actually likes Yeowell’s work on this strip). In spite of this I am still enjoying this story, and am still eagerly anticipating how this will effect Captain Jack Dancer and his crew once we return to their time.

Aquila – Blood of the Iceni – Part 3:

In total contrast to the minimalist style of Yeowell, is the highly detailed and beautifully coloured work of Leigh Gallagher on Aquila. That opening panel of Aquila and Felix walking through the countryside looks absolutly stunning. The story continues to impress as well, with the inevitable coming together of Aquila and the Roman monster drawing ever nearer. I do have one minor concern however, and that’s that Aquila and Felix seem to be very similar to Slaine and Ukko. Felix in particular seems to be a dead ringer for Ukko, both in his height and his character. However it’s still early days for the strip yet, and I’m sure the two lead characters will prove to be distinct from Slaine eventually.

The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael – Manhunt – Part 6:

I’ve not been the biggest fan of this strip, but I have to admit that this weeks installment was actually pretty good reading. The story seems to be moving somewhere at last, and I imagine that if you’ve read the original Ichabod strip then the Second World War aeroplane will be of great significance. A vast improvement over previous installments in the series.

Lenny Zero – Zero’s 7 – Part 3:

Another strip that has improved greatly this week is Lenny Zero. While I have been enjoying this strip, this weeks installment is a step up from the previous two, and was the highlight of the Prog for me this week. Zero seems to have everything expertly planned out for his bank raid, even to the point where he can manipulate the Special Judicial Squad to achieve his goals. The scenes in the Mega City nightclub were excellent, although I can’t help feeling that people wouldn’t be going out clubbing in the immediate aftermath of the Day of Chaos. Also I found it very unlikely that the SJS would have been able to rebuild their headquarters so quickly, but I’m not going to let these small niggles ruin my enjoyment of what is proving to be a very fun strip indeed.

Overall:

A cracking Prog this week, with even Ichabod Azrael rising to the occasion and managing to capture my interest. It would be so easy for the lineup to feel quite tired in the run up to a milestone Prog like the forthcoming Prog 1800, but instead the Prog really is firing on all cylinders right now. Zarjaz stuff indeed.

Quote of the Week: “I do not comprehend what you say, sir, but I obey nonetheless due to great confusion and terror.” – Ichabod Azrael

Thrill of the Week: Lenny Zero

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

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

 

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

 

WARNING – REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS

Cover:

A strong effort from Simon Davis for this weeks cover, announcing the return of Ichabod Azrael to the Prog. Its an eyecatching cover which acts as both a wanted poster and a play on the skull and crossbones motif. The background colour and the faded print on the tagline and logo are an effective addition to the image. A pretty strong cover allround.

Judge Dredd – The Days After:

Every week Dredd just seems to get better and better, and this weeks installment is no exception. The Day of Chaos is now over and what remains of the Justice Department is left to try and pick up the pieces. The announcement that 350 million of the Megs 400 millions citizens have died is one of the most shocking moments in Dredd history, and then on the very next page we get the resignation of Chief Judge Dan Francisco. The use of Children in this weeks part is particularly noteworthy with Dredd having to put down two infected children, while rescuing a child on the next page. I have to admit that the reason for the childs survival and the image of the child hiding in the cupboard almost had me in tears. As if all this wasn’t enough we also see Rico bringing in an army of mutants to help with the clear up, while Hershey returns to become the acting Chief Judge. How is it possible to cram so much into just six pages? I really am running out of superlatives for Dredd right now. All I can say is that this latest story arc is perhaps the best comic strip I have ever read.

Durham Red – The “Nobody Wants This Job” Job – Part 5:

Despite the lack of character progression in this strip, I am still finding it a pretty enjoyable read. There are quite a few holes in the plot, but if you take it as a nostalgic read once kind of strip then theres a lot to enjoy here. Ezquerra’s art is as excellent as we’ve all come to expect, so even if you don’t like the story there is at least plenty to look at (not least Ms Red herself of course).

Tharg’s 3rillers – 1947 – Part 1:

The last run of 3rillers I found to be very disapointing, with all three of the strips being average at best. I’m pleased to say that the first part of this latest effort is already a vast improvement on the previous run. It’s a timely strip too, seeing as it includes Alan Turing who would have celebrated his 100th Birthday recently had he still been alive. The story seems an interesting one, with an alien species called The Allies having helped defeat the Nazi’s during WW2 and now preparing to send the first British man into space. Indeed there seems to be a strong enough idea here to be a full length series rather than a three part one off story. If I have one niggle its that you might not realise The Allies are aliens unless you read the contents page at the beginning of the Prog, as they don’t make an appearence and it isn’t that clear from the way they are talked about in the strip that they are aliens. Despite this both the story and the art are excellent, and I’m lookng forward to reading the rest of this.

The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael – Manhunt – Part 1:

Ichabod Azrael makes his return by popular demand this week , two years after its original run. I must confess that I haven’t read the original strip as I only started buying the prog regularly about half way through its run, so I don’t have any clear idea whats happening yet despite the catchup we’re given on the contents page. Having said that this is a promising first part and I think I could well enjoy this once the story really gets underway.

Nikolai Dante – Sympathy For The Devil – Part 4:

Could it be that we’ll soon be seeing the appearance of Dante’s child? It certainly seems to be implied that Jena may well be in that condition. I have a feeling this story is either going to end very happily or very badly for everyone involved. The writer has to be applauded for this, as there is a real sense that this strip could go either way yet. Theres a really nice touch this week with Odessa Zhirinovsky, the author of Nikolai Dante: Too Cool To Kill, making an appearance. I don’t know if she’s appeared before, but either way its nice to see the oft quoted character in the flesh so to speak. Along with Dredd, Dante is proving to be an extremly good bookend to the Prog each week.

Overall:

Now this is a Prog. All five strips are excellent this week, with the weakest (Durham Red) being good enough to be the best thing in any other Prog. I honestly can’t remember the last time I enjoyed the Prog so much, and talk over on the 2000AD forum of this being in the top 10 Progs of all time isn’t without reason. This truly is the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic.

Quote of the Week: “The Mega City we knew is gone, Hershey.” – Judge Dredd

Thrill of the Week: Judge Dredd

Prog 1788 – Slay Per View!

Cover:

Karl Richardson provides a very realistic looking image for this weeks cover. Its not likely to be a contender for cover of the year, but its a decent effort all the same. The addition of the camera details, such as the battery symbol and the time and date, are a nice touch which add a little extra to the cover.

Judge Dredd – Chaos Day – Part 2:

This is quite simply an astonishing piece of work. After the destruction of the Academy of Law last week, things continue to get worse for Mega City One with scenes of death and destruction on a scale we’ve never previously seen in Dredd. Just take that first page for example, with the evacuees being marched past a severed head on a pole, while many more bodies can be seen hanging in the background. Then in the very next panel we get the incredibly grim image of the Judge Tree. This is six pages worth of comic strip chock full of memorable images. Perhaps most memorable of all is the image of Dredd in the final panel, seemingly broken by the events of Chaos Day. Dredd has never seemed as helpless as he does now, and it’s difficult to see anyway back for Mega City 1 after this. This is perhaps the finest run of strips we have ever seen in the Prog.

Durham Red – The “Nobody Wants This Job” Job – Part 4:

This strip is a bit of welcome light relief following on from Dredd. Like the Cadet Anderson strip theres a feeling that there isn’t any real need for this to be set in Durham Red’s past. Thus far we have yet to learn anything new about the characters history, and are instead being treated to a pretty generic runaround. Having said that I’m finding this a lot more fun to read than the Anderson strip, and I’m happy to see this in the prog for the time being.

Grey Area – One of Our Own – Part 4 (Final Part):

Grey Area continues to be a pretty good read overall, but thats tempered with a real feeling of dissapointment this week. Bulliet being a plant isn’t really a huge suprise, but there is a feeling that this plot thread should have been allowed to run for a while longer yet. The idea of having the Xeno-Facists capturing one of the ETC officers was one that felt like it had genuine threat behind it, so to see it resolved so quickly is also something of a let down. I am still enjoying Grey Area on the whole, but it really needs a good shot in the arm to take it to the next level.

Future Shocks – Downloan:

I don’t have a lot to say about this Future Shock, as it really didn’t do very much for me at all. I didn’t find the story idea very interesting, and the twist ending was deffinetly lacking. Its a shame because the recent run of one offs has been of a very high standard. This wasn’t really bad by any means, just not my cup of tea. (Actually I don’t like tea either so thats probably not a very good analogy.)

Nikolai Dante – Sympathy For The Devil – Part 3:

I have a feeling this could be the last installment of Dante to have a light tone. Those final couple of panels seem very ominous indeed, and I could almost imagine the dramatic music starting up in the background. The rest of this weeks installment is tremendous fun though, particularly that splash page of Dante which is reminiscent of one of his very earliest adventures. Not a lot else to say this week, other than this is really shaping up nicely.

Overall:

Despite a rather lacklustre Future Shock this is still a very strong Prog. It’s a bit of a cliche but Dredd really is worth the cover price alone right now, while Dante isn’t too far behind. Add to that a couple of very readable strips in Durham Red and Grey Area and you have a very fine line up indeed.

Quote of the Week: “The city – his beloved city – is dying before his eyes.” – Judge Dredd

Thrill of the Week: Judge Dredd

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