Luke Graham reviews the latest 2000 AD prog…
After last issue’s mind-bending three strip crossover, Prog 1808 brings things forward with an action-intensive issue…
Judge Dredd: The Cold Deck, part three
Script: Al Ewing, Art: Henry Flint
In part three of The Cold Deck, the ongoing Dredd thriller, Judge Dredd pursues the buyer, seen last issue, who gave sensitive Justice Department information to Overdrive Inc.
At the strip’s conclusion, Judge Bachmann plays her hand, offing the buyer and setting up next week’s confrontation between Dredd and the council, who will interrogate him over his actions.
It’s a really good story this issue, with energetic and gory art from Flint and clever writing from Ewing. The narration in the strip is split between the buyer and Dredd, showing events from both perspectives, increasing tension.
It is also hinted in this issue that all the events of the last three strips have been planned by Bachmann, who had a member of her Black Ops in prime position to take out the buyer. This ties nicely into the “cold deck” analogy in back in Prog 1806.
ABC Warriors: Return to Earth, part nine
Script: Pat Mills, Art: Clint Langley
Hammerstein faces off against the US president this strip. It’s a verbal, rather than physical, confrontation, with Hammerstein having to convince his ethical governor to allow him to kill the earnest, honest politician. It’s positively subtle by ABC Warriors standards.
Langley’s art remains fantastic. He gets to draw two big, whole-page spreads that look great, and he uses shading to generate a nice amount of tension and expectation. The black and white colouring for the flashback also serves to reflect the black and white morality of Hammerstein and the story in general. At the end of the strip, Hammerstein meets Quartz, the weapons manufacturer behind the ABC robots, which leads to a neat revelation with a nod to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
It’s hard to see where the story will go next, so hopefully the flashback will wrap up soon so the Mek-nificent Seven can do something more interesting.
Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds, part nine
Script: Ian Edgington, Art: I. N. J. Culbard
This week provides a nice pay-off to last week’s cliffhanger, as Wren and Conductor Seventeen were pursued by tall, brown, automatons in a giant greenhouse. They are saved by a giant black robot that fights the smaller ones, which makes up the bulk of the story with a decent action-sequence.
The giant robot is controlled by a young huntress garbed in red, presumably a member of the ruling family of The Keep. Interesting, her garb, from her plumed helmet to military dress, is reminiscent of a British soldier circa the 19th century, especially those based in Africa or the Sub-continent. It’s an interesting visual choice, as it suggests a layer of colonialism and imperialism to the humans on the Keep (as well as a racial explanation for why the automatons were brown-skinned and tribalistic). Next issue should be quite interesting.
Low Life: Saudade, part four
Script: Rob Williams, Art: D’Israeli
Dirty Frank’s cover is blown this week, leading to a protracted chase across the moon’s surface. It’s a delightful and humorous romp, as well as an action-packed one. Funny moments this week included Frank’s interaction’s with the sensitive giant crocodile alien (called a Klegg), to a few brilliant lines of dialogue: “now the ‘emergency! All hands grab laser weaponry and come running’ lights are going.”
Good art and great writing as usual, Dirty Frank is maintaining a very high standard.
The Simping Detective: Jokers to the Right, part five
Script: Simon Spurrier, Art: Simon Coleby
The church of Simpology is explored this week, as Jack Point, now branded a traitor and carrying a briefcase with 5 million creds, seeks a way off-planet.
The allusions between Simpology and Scientology come thick and fast, providing some good laughs, along with Points usually puns and wordplay. The tension sky-rockets this strip as well, as Jack finds himself out of his depth as the sanest person in the room. The confident private eye we met five issues ago is replaced by a nervous wreck.
A highlight of the issue is the Archmime, the head of the church and a particularly creepy individual. He doesn’t speak, instead using six hands to act out his words and a tall hatbot to translate and speak to others. The Archmime sees straight through Jack, coercing the 5 mil from him in exchange for getting him off world, but can Jack trust him?
Strip of the Week!
It’s another tough choice this week, but not because of a particularly high standard. Nothing this week quite blew me away as previous issues have. It’s a good issue, but a subdued one. I suppose I shall go with Dirty Frank, due to its humour, tension and ability to move the story forward while also providing a nice amount of action.
See you next time.