In February 2012, for the 35th anniversary of 2000AD, I made a pledge:
“But here’s a deal for you. If you’ll do it, so will I. 2012 will be the year I read 2000AD. 2012 will be the year YOU read 2000AD.”
Look, I know why they put Nick Percival on the cover duties. And I can see what he’s talking about over at 2000AD Covers Uncovered, where he says….
“Now having finally seen some of the series, I really like the clean, simplistic art style for the story. For a painted piece though and in keeping with my style, I felt it was necessary to add some textures, lighting and surface detail to the robot – hopefully he didn’t end up looking too much like something from ABC Warriors….”
Well, yep, it did rather. It’s nice sure.
But not this nice….
(Brass Sun by Ian Edginton and INJ Culbard)
Brass Sun: Yep, wonderful world visioning stuff from Culbard. That’s the important thing about Brass Sun – the whole artistic style of Brass Sun is Culbards, his vision, alongside Ian Edginton’s writing creates the epic nature of the piece. There’s nothing wrong with Percival’s piece, I just wish we’d have had chance to see Culbard’s cover.
As for this episode, we start from the cover, with the increasingly enigmatic and ambiguous Station Master sending young Wren out to recover the means to restart the system’s sun. And in doing that we get a better, more in depth look at the world of the Brass Sun, which is where the wows keep on coming. Just trying to get your head around “the Rails”, the inter-planetary transport system of the Orrary that they’re starting the journey on in that page above. Brass Sun really is special, spectacular, stylish sci-fi.
And speaking of special sci-fi….
(Foreshadowing, foreshadowing…. Judge Dredd by Al Ewing and Henry Flint)
Dredd: I feel like a broken record here…. but having three really good teams on Dredd post Chaos Day is really working for me, with Carroll/Holden, Williams/Harrison, and this team of Al Ewing and Henry Flint all creating something that, cumulatively, feels absolutely spot on.
Ewing and Flint are returning to their setup prologue to this storyline from issue 1803, the brilliantly titled “Bullet To King Four”, where the organisational structure of the Justice Dept. was suddenly up for grabs in the power vacuum post Chaos Day.
Well, now it’s time for moves to be made, murderous intent returning, and all of those chess references come to fruition, with Ewing delivering something bloody classy, political intrigue high up in the story mix. And Henry Flint is steadily developing into one of my favourite Dredd artists. As I seem to keep saying, I got into Dredd mid-epic, and it’s taken me some time to get used to the rhythms of the storylines post epic, but when they’re done this well, it’s a real pleasure to read these smaller self-contained, world-building stories.
ABC Warriors: This time Hammerstein and fellow robots quickly deal with the problem of last issue and we discover a little more of the reason Hammerstein’s back on Earth. And I still didn’t really care, or pay that much attention. So it goes. I know there has to be one strip in any anthology that is your least favourite, and this consistently makes that spot.
(ABC Warriors by Pat Mills and Clint Langley)
Low Life: Part 2 just as strong as part 1, D’Israeli’s visuals an absolute joy, Rob Williams hitting that perfect mix of comedy and plot, filling the pages with off the wall characters, starting with Wally Squader Dirty Frank and extending outward, this time giving us the lowdown on shark-headed corporate bad-guy Mr Overdrive, a man so obsessed with greatness that he bonded his DNA with a real Great White Shark, and he’s at pains to point out that ”this was definitely not stupid and was in fact, great“.
Dirty Frank’s thoughts on the matter simply bring back memories of his mother’s thoughts on the matter: “If sharks ever get legs, Dirty Frank, it’s all over“. Yep, Frank’s mum called him Dirty Frank. Tough love. And maybe explains a lot?
Lowlife is just great fun, Williams and D’Israeli on fine, fine form.
(Frank meets the Kleggs – Low Life by Rob Williams and D’Israeli)
The Simping Detective: Wally Squad Judge Jack Point keeps finding trouble at every turn, whether he’s aware of it or not. This time round it seems even his judgement on women is out…
(The Simping Detective by Simon Spurrier and Simon Coleby)
Yep, again, just like Lowlife, this one works because it’s playing around with us. Lowlife is wacky comedy sci-fi, this one is playing with hard-boiled detective fiction stylings and storytelling in a sci-fi setting. And just like Lowlife, it’s damn good stuff.
So, yet again, four out of five really strong here. The weekly 2000AD pledge is so easy to do when it’s this much fun.