Luke Graham reviews 2000AD Prog #1895…
Borag thungg, Earthlets! The illustrious sci-fi mag contains sword-slashing, knife-fighting and plenty of political satire this week. Well, just Dredd has the political commentary. There’s plenty of fighting throughout the Prog.
Dredd continues the story of Indira Knight, intrepid astronaut displaced 87 years into the future. The Meg has changed a lot since she was last on Earth and she’s not happy. When she points out how the Judge system is autocratic and fascistic, Dredd simply defends it by saying it works “efficiently.” Invited onto the interview circuit, Knight appears on thinly-veiled swipes at The One Show and Blue Peter, before being offered her own late-night talk show (called ‘Knight Vision’) where she makes incendiary speeches about Judge system. The Judges certainly won’t be happy with her actions, but Knight has also attracted the attention of some shadowy figures. I’m excited to see where this storyline goes; Knight is interesting character who is challenging the Meg’s status quo, plus Paul Marshall’s sharp artwork is great.
Speaking of great artwork, Inj Culbard continues to wow in Brass Sun, even in what is otherwise a quiet strip. Seeming stranded in The Deep, the roguish Ariel reveals another trick to help the gang escape. Nothing particularly dramatic happens, but we do get some useful back-story for Ariel, as well as a glimpse at the colossal-sized Leviathan. Culbard cleverly communicates just how huge the floating fish is by framing Ariel’s former ship, which we know is fairly large, as it is dwarfed by the Leviathan’s flank. The fish’s bright orange scales also contrast with this blue-heavy storyline further emphasising how shocking this creature is, and I expect we’ll see it again soon.
Aquila is action heavy this week, as the God-Killer spends the whole strip fighting a lightning-wielding Gladiator in the temple of Jupiter, while the group trying to escape Rome get cornered by monsters in the sewers. The fight is visually thrilling, while the tension in the sewers is palpable. This storyline seems to be moving towards its end game and it’s getting exciting.
If only Black Shuck were exciting, maybe I’d like it more. Black Shuck and the King prepare an expedition to break the curse by finding and destroying the body of the Jotun King, while in the flashback sequence Shuck and his former captor steal a ship to flee the island. The only interesting thing is an aside that reveals the identity of the monster that first attacked them: a witch arriving at the island calls it Grendel, which is the name of the monster from Beowulf. If more monsters from ancient Anglo-Saxon literature and mythology turn up, Black Shuck might start to get interesting. At the moment, the storyline is making slow progress and Black Shuck just doesn’t seem an interesting protagonist.
Scrotnig Tale of the Week
For an example of an interesting, engaging protagonist, just look to Madam-Inspector Jaegir. The female war-veteran is hard-nosed and aggressive in pursuit of her enquiry, but her inner monologue reveals how conflicted she is over her actions. On Nu-Earth, she took orders to attack her enemies with her fellow soldiers, but back home her orders are forcing her to attack her fellow soldiers in order to find potential enemies. She gives advice to new (and very young) recruits about how to deal with nausea and the nightmares of battle. Gordon Rennie’s writing here is grabbing; he and Simon Coleby have created a great character, whose scars and both physical and mental, visible and hidden at the same time. Plus, Coleby’s art is simply great: it’s dark and moody, which perfectly matches the tone of this storyline. At the end of the strip, Jaegir’s investigation has taken a turn for the worse, and I’m very excited to see where it goes next.