Oliver Davis reviews 2000AD’s Prog 1885…
Borag thungg! Just like the mighty organ, we’ll start with Judge Dredd and his latest storyline Trauma Town. Michael Carroll’s plot is decent enough, with Dredd and a few other Judges falling victim to nightmarish visions. The pervading theory is that a power Psi is the cause, but the cast aren’t having much luck tracking them down, instead stumbling through Nick Percival’s nightmarish artwork – a peculiar form of photorealism, not to the extent of Clint Langley, but enough to plant you firmly in uncanny valley. A decaying body here, a disembodied, lizard-like head attached to a spine there – eventually the whole MegaCity are tripping Trauma Town balls.
Speaking of disembodied heads, that’s Slaine’s favourite pastime A Simple Killing has been a majestic outing for the titular axe-wielding Celt, befitting of his 30th birthday this year. However, this ‘Part 12’ feels a bit like filler, a calm before the storm – much in the same way the wonderfully inventive Indigo Prime does later on in the issue. Surprisingly for an episode with OAP Atheist terrorists, dimension-hopping and a Nazi’s dying wish to see the Crucifixion, this week’s installment (part 6) felt as though they were transitioning between larger scenes.
Thank Grud for something climactic, then – where in the concluding episode of Tharg’s 3thrillers ‘In Seconds Flat’ all questions were answered in a frantic, apartment block-based extra-terrestrial showdown. The invading alien force was revealed to be no more than a single time-hopping ET – a neat twist for the reveal happy 3rillers format.
Scrotnig Story of the Week
In an issue full with transitional episodes, Grey Area’s Nearer My God To Thee (whose stars grab this week’s cover) showed how to pace the quieter installments. Although also between set-pieces, Dan Abnett wrote the story of futuristic first contact in the same way Michael Mann would shoot the preparations for a bank robbery. Abnett also does a great job of keeping personal dramas ticking away in the background, much like Hill St. Blues did for the police procedural format.
Grey Area’s premise itself is incredibly rich, and there are few better at world building than Abnett. The story – of a enormous, egg-shaped spaceship arriving on Earth claiming to be God – is inspired in a Douglas Adams kinda way. That Abnett foreshadowed all of this in a seemingly throwaway Grey Area story a few months ago, where the Rookuk race spoke of killing their God, is a fantastic sleight of hand.
Oliver Davis is one of Flickering Myth’s co-editors. You can follow him on Twitter (@OliDavis).