Cover by Neil Roberts presents a nicely dynamic shot of Dredd laying the smack down on the guy who spilled his pint. Plenty of action in a beautifully rendered image. Works for me, I even approve of Tharg's pun.
Inside we are promised the return of the Magnificent Seven as the Strontium Dogs ride again. At some point we'll have to discuss the medical botch job that led surgeons to remove McNulty's arm after he was shot in the shoulder but for now onwards.
Judge Dredd by Michael Carroll, Colin MacNeil, Chris Blythe and Annie Parkhouse.
An Irishman, a Scotsman and two (wherever Blythe and Parkhouse are from) walk into a bar and mayhem ensues. I thought it was strange that the assassins didn't shoot first and ask questions later but it turns out there was method in their madness and McGann was their intended target, not Dredd. Michael Carroll go do no wrong with this darker, grittier look at Murphyville. And MacNeil and Blythe make it all look fantastic with their signature gleaming visors the only hint at what's going on in Dredd's head. I'm not sure that Old Joe and Joyce could really shoot their way out of an airport and still board a plane but we'll see how that pans out next week. Wouldn't want to be the security guard who has to ask Dredd to take off his belt and boots though. Top stuff from the Celtic tiger creator team again this week.
Absalom by Gordon Rennie, Tiernen Trevallion, and Simon Bowland
The Guvnor is a nasty bit of work and things must be bad for old Harry to spring him for this case. I love how he rejects DNA profiling for the more reliable blood tracking magic. Trevallion gets to turn up the steampunk features as some new bads enter the fray and this continues to be one of the best things in the prog week in, week out. Bloody Harry Absalom indeed.
Helium by Ian Edginton, D'Israeil and Ellie De Ville
The Prof explains what went wrong and what went right down below to put them all in their current pickle. Unfortunate his evidence is on a format that his hosts can't play, well we've all had that problem haven't we? If ever there was a case for cloud computing then a world based on airship technology would seem to be the perfect place for it.
D'Israeli delivers a masterclass in his use of colour in each issue and I love Edginton's steampunky world building so this is still rattling all my diodes nicely. I must ask D'Israeli if he has any prints of this stuff when I meet him at Brum ICE later this year.
Outlier by T.C.Eglington, Karl Richardson and Annie Parkhouse.
OK, so it's the Hurde not the Horde and they have added swarming nano clouds to their lethal cocktail of killing machines. The flickering lights on and off sequence works remarkably well even though it means four completely black panels. Personally I would have put the sound effects in those panels to heighten the fear factor but this team know what they are doing and it all ends horribly.
I presume Carcer's black claws that appear in the bottom panel of this page are made of the nasty nanites as well. As far as I can tell the genie is out of the bottle and worse lies ahead. Pretty good episode this week which has pulled me back in.
Jaegir by Gordon Rennie, Simon Coleby, Len O'Grady and Ellie De Ville
It would be nice to perhaps have one Jaegir story that didn't rely on flashbacks but this one is particularly chilling as Atalia reflects on the war crime in her own past while hunting down the perpetrators of a more recent atrocity. The scene in the canteen seems very familiar to me from a host of military movies but it is used to good ends here when we realise what Jaegir is up to. Gordon Rennie currently has three separate strips running across the Prog and the Meg, Absalom is easily the best but I can't pick a second place between this and El Maldito, time will tell. On the art side Coleby and O'Grady get stuck with lots of uniforms this issue which is rather repetitive in terms of colours but they totally make up for it with a killer last panel.
Pick of the Prog is really difficult with all five strips having excellent installments this week, I'm going to give it to Michael Carroll, Colin MacNeil and Chris Blythe for Dredd again. Exciting stuff and a genuine thrill when it lands on my doormat.