It's the big jumping on point with five brand new stories. Can it get my Prog reading back on track and recharge me with thrill power?
Cover by Edmund Bagwell.
I like it. Perfect for a jumping on point or a Christmas issue. Especially with some lovely Kirby Krackle in the background. Only one niggle, Dredd looks a bit short. Personally I would have swapped his position with Jaegir and made him fill in the gap under Tharg's right hand.
Judge Dredd: Mega-City Confidential by John Wagner, Colin MacNeil, Chris Blythe and Annie Parkhouse.
Brilliant. Wagner and MacNeil and a story about covert surveillance of citizens and a dark secret at the heart of the Hall of Justice? Sign me up right now. Add in Chris Blythe's atmospheric colours and we have a mean and moody Dredd story that gets me right back into it. Looking forward to the rest of this.
By the way, citizens of Cal-Hab, in case you hadn't noticed, Messrs Wagner and MacNeil want you to vote yes.
Slaine: The Brutania Chronicles by Pat Mills, Simon Davis and Ellie De Ville.
I've never been a huge fan of Slaine but Davis' beautiful painted work gets me on board for this one. Nice to see him polishing off those 80s electro-pop boys Flock of Seagulls along the way.
Outlier by T.C.Eglington, Karl Richardson and Annie Parkhouse
Great first episode. 2000AD does its own version of the enhanced Sherlock like detective. I hope we get to see more of the captions and images from his bionic eyes as he does his thing. Richardson's art is lovely and he does a fine job of making the characters looking distinctive with none of the facial recognition problems I had recently in Greysuit. I'm hooked and ready for more.
Sinister Dexter: Gun Shy by Dan Abnett, Smudge and Ellie De Ville
The Downlode duo seem to be the weakest strip in any Prog they're in. Although this story does manage to link up the banks giving out free guns from Bowling for Columbine with a Breaking Bad style stand off in the last panel. So points for that, but the art is perhaps the least interesting in a top issue so always going to be playing catch up with this one.
Jaegir: Strigoi by Gordon Rennie, Simon Coleby, Len O'Grady and Simon Bowland.
Looks lovely, Simon Coleby is on fire at the moment and O'Grady's colours are fabby. Plus the story introduces a strong female lead and gives us an interesting twist about an army who we've regarded as the bad guys for 35 years. When I interviewed Michael Molcher at the London Super Comic Convention he compared this to the set up of Robert Harris' Fatherland, and that's pretty good company to be in.
A great first episode with a memorable last panel. Yes, it's another winner.
Pick of the Prog is a battle for second place when you have a Wagner and MacNeil Dredd to compete with. So Dredd first, then Slaine, Outlier and Jaegir in joint second. Well done to Tharg and all the droids. A cracking Prog.