Rounding off with a bang – it’s 2000AD Prog 1873

Clint Langley certainly knows how to do epic.

Clint Langley certainly knows how to do epic.

If that amazing cover to this week’s 2000AD isn’t available as a poster by the time you read this, I will be shocked. It looks suitably epic to prepare the reader for the finale to the current crop of stories. Well done, Clint Langley.

This week,Cat Sullivan’s Droid Life is back to present us with another chuckle on the editorial page. I’m sorry to say it doesn’t manage it thanks to the thoroughly signposted joke at the end but never mind. It’s short and it looks good, so there’s that.

As openings go, this week’s Judge Dredd is brilliant. Not only is Henry Flint’s opening splash panel full of visual splendour but Rob Williams’ limited dialogue here in the opening really works wonders. It makes you chuckle and wonder what on Earth is going on at the same time.

I’m in two minds about this story. On the one hand, it doesn’t go anywhere – it sets up a premise, then solves it in an open-ended way. It’s a Dredd personality story, but then again many of the best Dredd stories always are (I’m thinking of Bury My Knee At Wounded Heart here). I hope something comes from this because it looks like an interesting character arc but given that it turned up after some standard Dredd stories and right before John Wagner returns to the strip, I’m worried that we aren’t going to see much more from this – and that would be a shame.

Oh. My. Goodness! While reading through this week’s A.B.C. Warriors I got a reel feeling that the story wasn’t going to be over by the end of the episode even though this is an issue of endings – even knowing that, the ending shocked me. Without putting out any spoilers, I will just say this: Roll on the next story – and make it snappy. This is going to be brilliant!

Pat Mills is a brilliant storyteller and it shows with how he structures this episode. If there are any quibbles, it’s down to the fact that I initially thought Deadlock was Volkan; but maybe that’s more down to everyone being a lantern-jawed robot in these stories, so distinguishing one from the other is sometimes difficult. Nevertheless, a fine piece of work from Mills and artist Clint Langley.

So this week we get the finale of Tharg’s 3Rillers: After The Vengeance and we finally get to see that this was going… nowhere. I don’t like to have to get all harsh on new writers but this really was terrible. It’s been three weeks of disjointed storytelling, no real character development and a complete lack of point. The ending to this was poor, and the run-up to it meant the twist came out of nowhere. It’s not good. Let’s hope writer David Baillie comes back with something a bit better soon.

The art is acceptable, although there’s a real problem with eye contact here. Nobody is looking at anyone else, and nobody has their mouths open when they are speaking. It’s very off-putting. Despite that, Jon Davis-Hunt’s line work is nice and Gary Caldwell’s muted colours work well.

Speaking of David Baillie, here he is again with a Future Shock, this time with excellent artwork courtesy of Paul Marshall. Marshall certainly makes the Yetz people/creatures look truly repulsive but also sad at the same time. It’s excellent work.

Baillie’s script is imaginative and the requisite twist is pretty good. This is a nice, short script with just enough background information to allow you to understand what’s going on but not too much to swamp the message. Whether it’s a message you like, or whether there’s actually anyone in this story to empathise with, will be something individual readers will have to decide. For my part, I thought it was pretty good.

Finally, we come to Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison on Grey Area. Last week’s episode was not great but this week we’ve got a story with an interesting premise: can semi-symbiotic life forms divorce from one-another, legally speaking? I hope we get to see more from this plotline soon, because it’s actually a very cool idea.

Art-wise, Harrison still has the same problems as last time regarding his depiction of space marine women. There’s no way a woman that small and thin can walk around in powered armour like that. It just doesn’t work. This problem aside, the artwork here is amazing – it’s so detailed and so grimy that it looks like a photoshoot on the set of Blade Runner, with a bunch of alien wackiness thrown in for good measure.

Overall, 2000AD Prog 1873 is an excellent round-up issue that sees out an excellent story, and also a not-so good story. We are presented with three stand-alones but each of them is good in its own right, so there’s plenty here for everyone to enjoy. Roll on next week and let’s see if the self-styled “Galaxy’s Greatest” can continue to live up to its name.

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