Cover by Clint Langley
I'm not a huge fan of Langley's artwork when it appears in the prog, but I do love his covers and this is no exception. Fantastic image that will pop on the shelves and hopefully tempt some new readers. Having said that both the alternate covers shown on Pete Wells' blog look great as well. Either of them would have been fantastic.
Thrills of the Future
Absalom is coming back and it looks like it's going all Life on Mars back in the 1970s. I love Absalom and can hardly wait for this one shot story that is set to appear in Prog 2014.
Judge Dredd. Ferals part one by Emma Beeby, John Burns and Annie Parkhouse.
A nice little prologue to something wicked this way coming. I like the idea of groups of feral children establishing their own law in the aftermath of Day of Chaos, and regarding the Judges with suspicion. The first pages reminded me of an old Thunderbirds episode where a boy who was playing International Rescue managed to call them out repeatedly on false alarms. John Burn's art looks lovely for the scenes of the kids playing and I like his interpretation of Dredd's helmet which gives him more peripheral vision through the visor. Not sure why he turns blue in one panel but that is probably meant to be some ambient lighting effect. All in all a nice opener which promises much, and notice how I got right through this review without mentioning the writer's sex once? It shouldn't be the talking point it has become, let's get past it and concentrate on the stories.
Brass Sun. The Diamond Age part nine by Ian Edginton, I.N.J.Culbard and Ellie De Ville.
A change of worlds and a change of scene. The idea of all these different planets with splendid names like Plenitude, High Dudgeon and Hot Air is intriguing. I've been a bit bored with their adventures on the world they have just left so hopefully Hot Air will seize my attention again. Interesting that the colour scheme has changed with the setting.
Flesh. Badlanders part nine by Pat Mills, James McKay, Lee Townsend and Annie Parkhouse
Gorehead finally breaks loose, the black and white scratchy art makes me feel young again, and Pat Mills' dialogue is terrible. That about sums it up. I know we're not allowed to say a bad word about 2000AD's godfather Mr Mills but I'm not sure that he is giving this strip his full attention. At least next week we get Cowboy vs Dinosaur again, and that's usually entertaining.
Tharg's 3rillers. Rewind part 3 by Robert Murphy, Jesus Redondo, Eva De La Cruz and Ellie De Ville.
So last time I got the details of how time travel works in this story all wrong and missed the bit about "time blisters" created by traumatic events. It still doesn't make much sense to me. I'm not sure what happens to the undead cop's chest wound when he returns to base. Nor how the murderer gets left to live out his life in the 18th century but can also be spirited away to serve an eternal punishment. Are the cops some form of purgatory police, and if so why do they need the science fiction technology trappings? To drag in another TV show comparison this felt a bit like the final season of Lost where all the sci-fi stuff was explained by a certain plot twist that the writers had been vigorously denying right from the first episode.
However Redondo's artwork looks great and the colours by De La Cruz are fabulous so it's nice to look at. Let's hope the next 3riller works better as a story.
Damnation Station. The Howling Beast on the Borderline part one by Al Ewing, Mark Harrison and Simon Bowland.
I went back and read Tordelback's primer to this series on the 2000AD boards and it begins to make more sense. Humanity is paying off a debt to one lot of aliens by fighting another alien force, and the beanie wearing Commander Joe Nowhere is some sort of undercover alien agent who is leading the resistance. The humans work out how to get a missile lock on the invisible alien ships but not before a bunch of nasties break through an airlock. At least I think that's what is happening. It all looks absolutely spectacular, I'm guessing that Mark Harrison is working mostly with digital artwork and colouring. However he's doing it this is the best looking strip in the prog at the moment.
Pick of the Prog could be any one of Dredd, Brass Sun or Damnation Station for the artwork alone. Although the Thought Bubble image of Judge Flask on the back cover, and Ezquerra's picture of Johnny and Wulf in the Strontium Dog advert look even better. No medicine to report on this week but I'm watching out for that adrenaline.