Saturday, 2 April 2011

2000AD Prog 1727. Shakara: The Final Chapter

A Review of 2000AD Prog 1727 (released March 30 2011.) 4 weeks on the trot we have exceptional covers, but this might be my favourite yet. Dredd concludes, Pat Mills fleshes out his cast (terrible pun intended,) and the final chapter of Shakara. Ever!

Cover:   Flint’s homage to Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. It’s absolutely beautiful no two ways about it, the use of the limited colour palette that is used in the story but used to a really different effect here. I don’t know how much thought went into the piece but if you like to read into these types of things you’re bound to find something interesting. It will probably take someone a lot smarter than me, but a few things jumped out at me the more I stared at it. To me Shakara is the anti-American superhero design, rather than being all muscles and square jawed he’s lanky spindly and a bit gimpy, he looks more like a villain. The intent of the original piece by da Vinci was to show the correlation between ideal human proportions and geometry. 

Also (major Spoiler Alert!) the story ends with Shakara travelling into another dimension, where he crash lands on farm and discovered by a child. He steps out of a smoking crater, windmill in the background, I can't quite place my finger on what this a direct reference too, possibly Close Encounters of a Third Kind (It's been a long time since I watched that!) But it's a scene that is embedded deep in my pop culture subconscious so to speak. It makes me think of David Bowie's Starman, E.T, The Iron Giant and much more. This is Shakara who started off as a one line wonder. And I see this has turned into as much a compliment to the series as the cover itself!

Dredd: Persistent Vegetative State part two
Dredd leads a team escorting the Couch Potato who may or may not contain the consciousness of a major Mega-City business man to the trail which will rule on this matter. Looking to compromise Mega-City’s financial state Sino-City attempts an assassination attempt.

I wasn’t expecting this to wrap up so quickly, I know it was a more comedic premise but the depth added with the Sino-City politics I could have seen this running a couple more weeks. It goes out on a bang though; the action is fast and furious and absolutely beautifully illustrated. It’s a little hard to see which Judge is doing what in the thick of it but I guess it would be the case in reality also.

Flesh: Texas part four
Gore-heads attack on the caravan begins whilst more of the team is introduced and their motives for sabotaging Trans-Time.

It wouldn’t be a Pat Mills thrill without a dirty dozen (or Dirty Dozenne) and they’re all suitably clich├ęd, fun and awesome. The action here is great, I’m still not in love with James McKay’s art (I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now,) but he draws a damn fine action scene. His style is disorienting but in the chaos of the dinosaur attack it works.

 Shakara: Avenger part fourteen
Overlord Brenneka’s plot to create the universe anew is foiled but Shakara is lost from this reality.

There’s a lot more going on here than you would think on first glance, but like the best Sci-Fi it asks its own questions, there’s a lot left to the readers interpretation and I really dig that. This is one of the all time great 2000AD stories, Nemesis for the 2000’s. Not bad for a one line wonder.

Dandridge: The House That Dripped Devilry part two
The girl in Dandridge’s vision pleading for his help shows up on the doorstep, using a type of mind reading technique he discovers the person trying to kill her was her boyfriend. Dandridge tracks down the boyfriend and forces the demon possessing him out. The demon says that Dandridge’s home belongs to him and attempts to gain access to the house again.

I felt this was really well paced, the story is chugging along nicely and there’s a good balance of action and story, not to mention the comedy working alongside it all. The crashed care ‘Status: Buggered’ was a particular favourite. John Davis Hunt is doing a great job on art as well, I’ve never been a big fan of his in-strip style, I still feel his characters are a little chunky and stiff but the storytelling is there.

Next week I’m excited to see what replaces Shakara, fingers crossed Dante but I think The Red Seas is long overdue. Also Thrills of the Future “Zombo: The Day the Zombo Died” is there any better news than that?

Not familiar with Zombo, here's what you need and why!