By Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague. There are two things that seem to work on a comic cover at the moment, Zombies and Dredd kicking butt. 2000AD has done plenty of both recently and this is a beauty which recalls some of Brian Bolland's classic images. There's some great detail particularly with the sole of Dredd's boot, the flying teeth, and the movement of the thug's gun. In terms of standing out on the shelves and selling the prog this one works for me.
Judge Dredd: Bender part three by John Wagner, Ben Willsher and Chris Blythe.
Lock's odyssey into the dark heart of Mega-City justice continues as Judge Bender's behaviour worsens and he pushes things (and apprehended suspects) over the edge. The information they get before their perp becomes a pedway paint stain leads them to a drug cooking laboratory and I suspect there are more Breaking Bad references coming up in the next instalment.
Dredd turns up for a few panels just to remind us whose strip this is but actually this story is ticking along nicely without him. Although he does give a couple of looks that let us know he has a pretty good idea of what's going in with Bender and Lock. His doubts about Lock's ability are proven wrong when he despatches a goon who had the drop on Dredd. And then Lock gets to demonstrate that he's a pretty good detective as well. Another great bit of hard boiled police drama from Wagner and Willsher.
Defoe: The Damned part twelve by Pat Mills and Leigh Gallagher.
So poor old Defoe does all the hard work, saves England from the undead menace, only for a group of super-heroes to turn up and claim all the glory. I don't know who the Vizards are, or why they didn't turn up sooner but there you go. Then it's all cleaned up in three days and just time for a cup of coffee and a chance for Pat Mills to give us the last part of his testament about the evils of the ruling classes. And Defoe disappears into the night apparently to return to his former profession as sedan chair carrier.
Lovely black and white artwork for Gallagher again but I'm left feeling that I've missed something. It all ended rather suddenly. I know Tharg is clearing the decks for another jumping on prog at 1850 but this felt like it needed at least one more episode to finish the story.
The Ten Seconders: Godsend part nine by Rob Williams, Ben Willsher and Abigail Ryder.
It's all getting a bit weird here. The scientist does his Mr Fantastic bit and produces a pair of magic gloves that do something ... well, sort of magical, and then Damage gets a bit cross and sets it up for a big final battle.
Ben Willsher steps into the art droid shoes instead of Edmund Bagwell but manages to pull off a reasonable impression of Bagwell as well as throwing a bit of classic Kirby crackle into the mix. It still looks all dark and sinister but I've lost track of what is going on. But never mind, next issue we get Damage hitting things.
Age of the Wolf: Wolfworld part eight by Alec Worley, John Davis-Hunt and Gary Caldwell.
Having given us zombie werewolves and the image of Rowan finally transforming into a Super-Wolf in the last prog this episode goes back to the cuddly looking Wolves sitting around talking. Then there's a ridiculously easy escape, some werewolf centaurs, and a flying car before we get the set up for the big showdown between Rowan and Alpha.
I'm trying to be kind about Age of the Wolf which really doesn't bother me as much as it does some people but it is starting to feel rather drawn out. Let's just get to the final fight please, we're all ready for the Moony shot.
Slaine: The Book of Scars part four by Pat Mills and Glenn Fabry.
Slaine continues to go all Quantum Leap through his past adventures, but as he just seems to drop in and out of them within a single issue I'm not getting any sense of dread or peril for the protagonist. I was hoping for a Slaine history lesson but it's all a bit disjointed and I'm not really bothered.
Everyone has their blind spots when it comes to big name comic artists and two of mine are Glenn Fabry and Simon Bisley. Fabry's black and white line work is beautifully detailed but always looks rather static to me. Still it will be all change again next week when Bisley takes over the art. Oh dear.
Pick of the Prog. Has to be Dredd again with John Wagner's apparently effortless story telling and build up of suspense.