Luke Graham reviews the latest 2000 AD prog…
Prog 1807 is a very special issue of 2000AD. Not to give too much away, but it was the first time in my reading of the comic where the strips… crossed over.
Cross-overs, where characters from one series appear in another series, are ubiquitous in American Marvel and DC comics, but I honestly don’t think I’ve seen it happen in 2000AD.
But not only do some of the characters cross over in this prog, it emerges that the stories of not two but three strips are fundamentally connected….
Judge Dredd: The Cold Deck, part two
Script: Al Ewing, Art: Henry Flint
It’s CSI: Mega-City this prog, with Judge Dredd resorting to some very crafty methods of finding the perp behind the murder of Judge Folger and the theft of an important microchip. Judge Roffman is the tech-expert Dredd approaches. The contempt Dredd shows to Roffman is one of the prog’s highlights.
Roffman uses the city’s trucks and robots to track down the perp, leading to a tense confrontation in a motel.
Al Ewing’s script is complex and very pacy. Flint uses some intricate and expertly constructed panel layouts to communicate a great deal of information, before building up tension in the last few pages. With Dredd still being observed by Bachmann, the strip ends in a very unexpected way.
The Simping Detective: Jokers to the Right, part four
Script: Simon Spurrier, Art: Simon Coleby
An increasingly desperate Jack decides to sell the strange doll he’s acquired to a less than trustworthy buyer, working on behalf of an Overly profit Driven company. The deal goes south when a Judge bursts into the motel, and Jack is once more on the run, and once again confronted by a zealous black-ops judge.
Forced to sacrifice his raptaur Larf to get away, Jack’s left with nothing but the shoes on his feet and the red-nose on his, er, nose.
This is another exciting chapter of Jack Point, with lots of action and tension. Spurrier puts less effort into the narration in this issue, favouring to push the plot forward and maintain momentum. Jack’s definitely being played the simp by somebody, and it becomes a little clearer in this prog who that might be.
Low Life: Saudade, part three
Script: Rob Williams, Art: D’Israeli
After killing a board-member of Overdrive Incorporated, Mr Overdrive, everyone’s favourite man/shark composition, reveals more of his plan to Dirty Frank. While a tear rolls down his fishy face, he shows Dirty Frank the giant, shark-themed (naturally) Luna-city he has secretly built.
In addition, Mr. Overdrive comes into possession of a list of very sensitive justice department information, giving him the true identities of every Mega-City operative. Frank now knows his mission: to get this list back from Mr. Overdrive in order to protect his fellow judges… and himself.
D’Israeli’s drawings are fantastic this strip, filling Dirty Frank’s face with character and detail. A relatively quieter, more dialogue driven strip, Dirty Frank carries the story, going from fear, to tension, to bewilderment to what is going on around him. If Dirty Frank was a real life person, he would have one of the best (and worst) poker faces.
ABC Warriors: Return to Earth, part eight
Script: Pat Mills, Art: Clint Langley
As usual, there is little to say about ABC Warriors. An action-packed episode, as Hammerstein storms the white house, fighting through droids and humans in order to reach the president, who is revealed to be a relative of and stooge to Quartz industries, the weapons manufacturers who build and sell the ABC robots.
An exciting and satisfying issue, it even had a few humorous moments, such as Mya’s alternative to armed warfare: single combat between world leaders. The strip ends on a cliff-hanger, with Hammerstein confronting the president, but struggling with the decision to pull the trigger.
Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds, part seven
Script: Ian Edgington, Art: I. N. J. Culbard
Another enthralling instalment of Brass Sun this prog, as Wren and Conductor Seventeen explore The Keep.
Conductor Seventeen (or C-17, I hope Edgington gives him a proper name soon) gives us some back-story on this strange little world, with its mad ruler and in-bred aristocracy. The Keep has deteriorated a great deal, and the pair come across a dead body, before becoming aware of something following them in the tall grass…
An unusually action-orientated episode of Brass Sun, the strip ends on a great cliff-hanger. Culbard’s art is a visual treat this issue. The greeny-yellowish background is a nice contrast to the rest of the prog, with three out of five strips drawn in black and white.
Strip of the Week!
*Spoilers (more than usual) ahead* Strip of the week goes to Judge Dredd, Jack Point and Low Life this week. 2000AD delivered a master-stroke with its three-strip crossover this issue (you can guess how they cross over with my little clues in the reviews above). With this cross-over, each story suddenly acquired more depth: they were no longer happening in a vacuum, but were happening concurrently and directly affecting each other: Jack had the chip Dredd was chasing, Jack gave the chip to Overdrive, and now Dirty Franks has to sort out his mess. It entices me to start making wild speculations about what is going on (is Bachmann influencing Jack? Who put Frank on the moon? Are Jack’s hallucinations and Frank’s flashbacks linked?) Only time will tell.