Oliver Davis reviews 2000AD Prog 1928…
Borag Thungg, Earthlets! This week sees the culmination of creative dream team Rob Williams and Henry Flint’s stint on Judge Dredd. There isn’t an emoticon for Sad Ol’Stoney Face, so you’ll just have to imagine one.
What you won’t have to imagine, though (unless you own a copy of Total Recall), is a three-breasted woman, as a rather fetching mutant stars in this Prog’s Strontium Dog. After ending last week on a Mexican standoff, this instalment jumps straight into the gunfighting action. John Wagner continues the strip’s noir detective-ish tone, having Johnny Alpha hang out at bars, offer bribes and casually outwit foes. Still, the extra bosom can’t detract from this week’s lack of plot progression.
At least you do care about Alpha’s fate, though. Orlock’s, however, is completely inconsequential. This week’s instalment is nothing great and nothing bad; just plodding. The slight improvement seems to be down to Jake Lynch’s pencils. Initially, the panels blurred together, making it difficult to follow (in a bad way). Now the action flows with pace. Still, the strip’s central problem remains – why should we care about Orlock?
Grey Area is the polar opposite – an enjoyable read where you care about each character. There’s an effortless quality to it, making each week’s five page stint like meeting friends for a drink. Episode plots don’t actually advance the overall story a great deal, with little to no attention given to the giant God-Star coming to devour the planet. Structurally, Grey Area feels like episodic network television, each instalment seemingly unconnected but, in truth, working towards a larger series arc.
From Grey Area to Vibrant Location – Simon Davis’ work on Slaine is particularly striking this week. Each page cycles through a different palette – the sepia browns of flashback, the primary blues and greens of Slaine and Sinead’s journey, the earthy mud of Lord Weird’s address. Pat Mills accompanies the artwork with a story that has finally found its footing; the plot in full flow at last.
2000AD Prog 1928’s Scrotnig Story of the Week
The terrific Judge Dredd story Enceladus concludes this week, and rather harshly so. Much like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, it appears the last few issues humanising the convict judges were just to set them up for a more poignant fall. The writing is terrific, a downbeat morality tale as ex-judge Nixon accepts her grizzly fate despite already atoning for her sins. “Duty…even now,” reads one of the strip’s best reflections. “Here, at the end where there is nothing, there is still duty…” Williams and Flint together will be sorely missed.