Friday, 25 March 2011

2000AD Prog 1726: Mega-City Mash-Up!

A Review of 2000AD Prog 1726 (released March 25 2011.) Another strong cover; a new ongoing Dredd and Dandridge join the line up.

Cover: 3rd week in a row for top notch covers, but like last week I wouldn’t be surprised if this put off the casual browser. To the untrained eye it probably looks a bit daft, well it is that’s the idea, but they’d also be distracted from how brilliantly it’s put together. Cliff Robinson is one of the most definitive Dredd artists of all time, and a personal favourite. There’s a great deal going on but it’s done in a way that you can take it all in, on just a quick glance, the posing in particular is deceptively simple. Also the colouring by Dylan Teague, one the top current Dredd artists in his own right is perfection.

Dredd: Persistent Vegetative State part one
Couch Potatoes; humanoid vegetable life forms kept as pets and once a mega-city craze were banned upon discovery of their minor empathic abilities they used to manipulate their owners who they would then feed on. Now a major business man is found dead, fed on by his secretly kept pet. The board of directors plead for his removal from power but is discovered they themselves are connected with the rival Sino –City.

I wasn’t expecting a political twist to this, but you know what, it works, and really well at that. I’ve already said how I feel about the artistic team who also illustrated this week’s cover, but there’s an insanely fun old school vibe to some of the layouts and panels in the strip.

Shakara: avenger part thirteen
The world engine approaches activation upon which it will destroy the known universe replacing it anew so that Overlord Brenneka can rule over it as a god. Meanwhile Shakara continues to kick ass.

Again, very little in the way of story just Shakara using more forbidden weapons to obliterate the enemy fleet. Cool yeah, but the finale next week is a lot more welcome than it was when I was enjoying the story when it was in full swing.

Flesh: Texas part three
Another team member is killed during a raptor attack, and questions about were team leader Vegas Carter got her guns skill are raised. Also it is revealed there is a traitor in the midst feeding information to the media regarding the base 3 explosion before Gorehead and his children show up.

Things are moving along nicely, a great balance of action and story Ms Vegas is badass but also very foxy which is never a bad thing. I’m still not sold on the art, but it all works together for another old school style Thrill, and that works for me.

Future Shock: Trading Faces
The world’s richest man decides to live among the less fortunate and his naivety leads him to a world populated by criminals and aliens .

It’s a while since we’ve seen anything really fresh from Tharg’s Future Shocks but this week is a lot of fun. I’ve seen better from artist Robin Smith however.

Dandridge: The House that Dripped Devilry part one
Dandridge’s home sat in a pocket dimension and only loosely tethered to our world is being overrun leprechauns and other arcane creatures from other realities. Soon things take a more sinister tone when Dandrige is confronted by a spectre pleading “Don’t let him kill me.” Later a young girl shows up on the door step asking the same thing of him. 

John Davis Hunt, artists of my favourite cover from last year joins frequent collaborator Alec Worley this time around replacing Warren Pleece. They’re definitely very different artistic styles, whilst Warren uses very minimalistic fine lines, JDH’s art is very detailed and his lines very strong and defined. The fun and vibrancy is still there, but I feel the tone or the style of the humour has been altered slightly as a result. It feels less whimsical more slapstick with comedy, like the art itself it’s less subtle now. There are some lovely panels in here so I don’t think either artist is superior. The only complaint I have this time around is that whilst JDH’s facial expression are great throughout a lot of camera angles seem to be repeated, there is a lot of bias towards characters looking towards the left hand side of the page in ¾ profile. Picky perhaps, but for whatever reason it jumped out at me. It took a while for last series to win me over, but it did and that’s the main thing, so I’ll be reading this with an open mind in the weeks to come. 

Wareen Pleece's art for Dandridge, in contrast to Davis Hunt's shown in the link above.
 Next week the final instalment of Shakara (possibly forever!) Dredd and Dandridge to show us what they’re made of.