Thursday, 10 March 2011

2000ad Prog 1724. Flesh Is Back!

Review of 2000AD Prog 1724 (released 9th of March 2011) Finally Flesh is here and I’ve been anxious to sink my teeth into it since the teaser image popped up in the Prog a month or so ago. Read on to see if was worth the excitement and you can see the full wraparound cover by clicking on the image below.

This is easily one of the strongest 2000ad covers of the year so far. I think come December I’ll be doing a best of year countdown and I’m sure this will be one of the first covers to come to mind. Liam Sharp is definitely channelling a bit of an Adam Hughes vibe here, everything is masterfully rendered with brilliant lighting and texture from top to bottom, however it’s the little design touches that make it really special. The white outlining around the central character make him really stand out, but keeping it thin and blending it with the background at the bottom of the piece stops if from being garish.

Dredd: Served Cold part seven
Deller makes his move, gate crashing the party of crime lord Elrod Ryder. Dredd shows up just as as Deller is about to deliver the finishing blow.

More amazing neo-noir style art by John Higgins and colourist Sally Hurst, plenty of action and things are set up for Dredd to finally get some screen time. This has been a solid storyline, a tad lengthy but I’m hooked for finale next issue.

Shakara: Avenger part eleven
Shakara crash lands on overlord Brennekas base planet after being brought down by the enemy armada. Knowing he is cornered Shakara activates a weapon known as the world engine.

This story has been full of big sci-fi ideas and great action set pieces. This time around we have a weapon that tunnels to the centre of a planets core triggering terraformation and the eventual destruction of the planet. Seeing that weapon in action is pretty much all there is to this week’s instalment, we already have an idea of where this is all going but as long as each week is explosive as the that last you’ll hear no complaints from me.

Flesh: Texas part one
By the 23rd century most organic livestock is extinct, mankind if reliant on synthesised food. In a bid to farm real meat, Trans-Time sends its employees back to the Cretaceous period the hunt, kill and butcher dinosaurs. After base threes destruction by the T-Rex’ Old One Eye’, a new team has been brought in to move the surviving dinosaurs to a new base in Texas.  

The new team gets introduced, one gets eaten by a dinosaur, and basically those who haven’t read the original series are being brought up to speed. The execution wasn’t great, but the set up itself is so fun and distinctively 2000AD that it’s bound to be a blast when things get going proper. New comer artists James McKay handpicked the legendary Pat Mills gives us one great two page splash and some very distinctive if safe character designs. I can definitely see some Cam Kennedy  and Carlos Esquerza influences in his very strong line work. Like with the story I’m expecting big things but haven’t been blown away from the get-go. Perhaps his style being the complete polar opposite to the cover illustration effected my enjoyment?

Time Twisters: The Time Crystal
 A young man looking for some income so he can ask his girlfriend to marry him joins up with a gang stealing time crystals from a city on the verge of nuclear destruction frozen in time.

With only 4 pages to work with its a shame there wasn’t more space to talk about the frozen city which seems to me to be by far the most interesting aspect of this story to me. The twist was pretty predictable and contrived but made for a very touching scene where the girlfriend visits the man who is trapped in time. Before he can reach out to her she has already grown old and passed away. I question the editor’s choice to run this story alongside Flesh as both James McKay and Nick Dyer both not only have heavy Cam Kennedy influenced art styles but also work in black and white. I think when just one story is black and white per Prog it stands out a lot better.

Kingdom: His Master’s Voice part eleven
Gene agrees with General Hurlocker that the war on the Them is of upmost importance, but denies his ability to lead such a war, questioning his sanity.

Gene the Hackman like Shakara started out as nothing more than a badass who spoke the odd catchphrase but has grown to become an immensely likable and sympathetic character. Gene lecturing Hurlocker on fighting smart (using your head muscles) before killing him with a surprise attack was a great twist and really nails home this character development.

Overall a great issue and with three stroylines coming to thier conclusion next issue I can't wait for next Wednesday and to find out what will be in the new line up.