Oli Davis reviews 2000AD Prog 1938…
Borag Thungg, Earthlets.
Judge Dredd’s current tale ‘Blood of Emeralds’ has fallen into a particular groove. Each week provides a clue that leads to another clue. They’re all creating a singular path, one that’s taken Dredd and Fintan from Mega City-One to the Emerald Isles, and, if our heroes survive the airport shootout cliffhanger, then onto the Isle of Man. It’s confirmed now that the Emerald Isle Justice Department was responsible for Fintan’s dad’s death, but the ‘why’ is still a mystery. That’ll be the final reveal, led to by the final clue. A functional, standard detective actioneer. 6/10.
After two surprisingly terrific weeks, Absalom cools off a little this issue. Sure, there’s a cat sacrifice and a demonic looking man, but there’s nothing as deeply unsettling as in recent instalments. The backstory – of a children’s home turning its subjects into demon hunters – is by far the strip’s most interesting feature, but it gets zero development here. Nevertheless, Tiernen Trevallion’s art continues to be remarkably well etched. The sheer number of creases in Harry Absalom’s forehead has more in common with a road map than a face. 6/10.
With Helium’s dense backstory (as is writer Ian Edginton’s way), occasional issues need to be devoted entirely to exposition. Bloom regales how his invention – a device that can eliminate the poison gas that’s polluted the world – has the unintended consequence of killing all the mutants that live within it. An interesting conundrum is created: to create a better world for your people would murder thousands of others. Hodge will let the Commonwealth Council decide. They’re the governing body mentioned back in Part 3. How Hodge, Bloom and her half-man companion will reach them, however, remains to be seen. 6/10.
Outliers is a difficult one. Karl Richardson’s art, with all its Mass Effect visual references, has an eye-catching palette. The story, its characters and the world they inhabit, though, just aren’t interesting enough. Even with a cool, nano-tech cloud and a fast-paced, strobing action sequence, it remains difficult to care about any of their subjects’ plights. The central concept, of an alien race remaking humans into mindless warriors, just isn’t clearly enough defined to be engaging. 4/10.
2000AD Prog 1938’s Scrotnig Story of the Week
It’s so good to have Jaegir back. Every panel, every line oozes with decades of backstory and plotting. Kaitlen herself is a tremendously well-rounded character. It seems as though, at any one time, she is reliving several different past atrocities. This week, it’s the 327 Souther prisoners of war she incinerated. The fire would’ve consumed the entire complex otherwise, so she made the choice. “Three hundred men and women who deserve better than the death I now give them.” Few characters in all of comics, let alone 2000AD, are as tortured, and it makes for utterly compelling reading. 8/10.
OVERALL RATING – 6/10