This week’s issue of 2000AD continues to be impressive. The amazing cover starts the comic off as it means to go on. This is beautiful work by Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague. I would not be at all surprised if this turns up as a poster or postcard at some point.
Moving on to the stories themselves, this week’s Dredd gives us a disappointing end to a brilliant story. Michael Carroll’s method of resolving plots has been something of a long-running annoyance and he continues in his usual form here. Over the past month we have had some brilliant scripting, excellent pacing and wonderful action.
Carroll clearly knows how to craft an excellent story. It’s therefore even more of a disappointment when he continues to fall back on time skips and post-action summations in order to end his stories. Show us the resolution, don’t just tell us about it while characters stand around in the wreckage of a set-piece we don’t get to see. It makes the reader feel cheated.
Having said that, the artwork continues to impress. This is great work from Paul Davidson, with some excellent use of lighting and panel sizes to really get us into what action we do get to see. The look on one of the perps’ faces when Dredd punches him out is both funny and beautifully rendered.
Ian Edginton continues to deliver a workable script on Brass Sun, although it still seems as if the story is really not going to go anywhere. It moves at a steady pace and although there is still dialogue that could do with a fair bit of polish, the story itself is decent. The lovely Victorian-style artwork by Inj Culbard remains the best part of this story.
The simpler style of Culbard’s line work and muted tones clashes amazingly with James McKay’s frenetic, punk style on this week’s Flesh. It’s hard not to be taken aback by the juxtaposition; which only serves to reinforce the effect of the first panel.
Mills’ script presents us with a classic revenge tale using sci-fi crime. You will see the resolution coming, but you won’t care – the story is still good. A classic character piece that serves to add some much-needed backstory to one of the main plot’s anti-heroes. It’s a good, old school story of the kind that 2000AD, and Mills in particular, does so well.
Gordon Rennie delivers a breather episode for this week’s Aquilla. After cutting through last week’s cliffhanger in short order, we are then presented with a massive plot dump that helps to explain what is going on in the story, before promising us more action to come in next week.
Even though it is clearly a slower pace than Aquilla’s usual fare, this is an interesting and informative episode. Once again, Gordon Rennie’s research for the script is evident on every page. The world of antiquity is alive and well on these pages, both in the script and in the wonderful artwork. Patrick Goddard’s intense action scenes and brilliant locations would be a delight on their own but when couples with Gary Caldwell’s colouring, they are simply beautiful. This is impressive work from all involved.
Finally, we come to the stand-out story of the week. Damnation Station has had its faults in previous episodes, primary amongst them being the overabundance of gratuitous foreign and alien dialogue without any available translations; which only serves to pull the reader out of the story while they try to work out what is being said and whether it is relevant to the plot.
This week, Al Ewing has both humans and aliens talking in the alien tongue, thus telling us that at least one of our viewpoint characters can understand what the aliens are saying, and yet we still don’t get a translation. It’s annoying, but at least this week it is short-lived.
This one problem aside, the story is excellent. The characters feel real and each has a clear, unique personality to them. The dialogue is excellent, and funny in places. The action sequences are excellent and the plot moves along at a good pace. This really is the best story in the comic right now.
It’s also the best art in the comic, by far. Mark Harrison is on superb form right now and his alien ships (as well as the aliens themselves) look stunning. What we see of the human ship has a real “used future” feel to it that makes it seem more real, and his alien landscapes really do look alien. The overall effect is to leave the reader wanting more, so roll on next week’s issue.
2000AD Prog 1854 is available online from 2000adonline.com and in print from UK comic shops from Wednesday 16 October. American readers can get their hands on the print copy later this month (or on Wednesday at the same time as the UK, if you go digital).