Until February 2012, I’d never read 2000AD weekly for anything more than a few weeks.
Then I made the pledge. I will read the comic for a year, and tell you what I reckoned each and every week. Nearly a year later, I’m a convert. And the weekly 2000AD is where I still tell you all about it….
Cover by Clint Langley – proving once more that his digital stuff (and this one is a really impressive wraparound) is rather impressive, certainly striking, and for me at least, far, far better than his interior work when he throws the computer effects at it.
Right, onwards to the inside. As last week, aside from Dredd with a standalone strip…
Judge Dredd by Michael Carroll and John Burns
Okay. Sentimental Dredd time once more. And it just feels weird. Basically it’s a looter/scavenger telling his tale of meeting Dredd and seeing what he does when having to deal with the looters and a kid in an isolation bubble.
It’s a painting a picture of the new Dredd sort of story. And although it’s not spectacular good, it’s not spectacular bad either. Same with John Burns’ artwork as well. I don’t really know enough about the ins and outs of Dredd to work out whether this not-soppy but at least caring Dredd is new, since Chaos Day, or just a side-effect of the malaise he’s suffering from for a long-time.
Next question – who are the Judges the looter is reporting all this to? Should we know? Is is simply a generic plot-device interrogation panel, or something else? I’m thinking simply plot-device.
Savage by Pat Mills and Patrick Goddard
The cliffhanger last week, with Savage in the sniper sights of a Volgon? Well you damn well knew Savage wasn’t about to have brains splattered over the brutalist Brit concrete architecture didn’t you? But I certainly didn’t expect the get-out that Mills delivered. First read I simply scoffed, thought it was a bit crap and then carried on reading the rest of the episode, where Mills has a bit of a ‘Pipes Of Peace‘ moment with those Volgs and the Brit resistance finding common ground in song.
And the beginning falls into place far, far better with that in mind. Yeah, the grunt can get distracted, after all, he’s not that concerned whether he makes the shot or not. The two sides in the war are simply two sides in a war, two sets of grunts, all fighting for faceless generals. Unless you’re Bill Savage, who Mills is now casting as the original cold bastard with revenge driving him forward and nothing more. And that’s where the warning signs are going off a little for me – the dialogue is going a little bit dramatic and over the top at the end. I know it’s all about painting him as a cold bastard, but it feels like it might tip over into parody.
Savage is absolutely the best thing in here right now. A damn fine pretty straight forward action adventure even with those few problems. In fact the only way something could beat it right now is is you happen to have a bloody brilliant car chase on an alternate Earth with vintage cars and machine pistols….
Ampney Crucis Investigates by Ian Edginton and Simon Davis
See that bit of a page above – that’s part of the bloody brilliant car chase on an alternate Earth with vintage cars and machine pistols that dominates this episode of Ampney Crucis this week. I do love a good car chase.
Sure, there’s the whole thing before that over what the hell those Babbagists are – Charles Babbage? A red herring or important connection? No idea yet, but before we really have chance to think about the to-ing and fro-ing of society and whether Ampney and Cromwell can trust even those closest to them, we’re off on a car chase. Now, lets skate over the couple of weird panels where Davis’ art just looks wrong – like that panel on page 2 where Ampney is holding onto the car by some sort of electrostatic attraction and not much else, or the duplicate Ampneys on page 3 where a panel border of some sort would really have helped.
No, lets instead focus on the overall flow and sheer bloody thrill of the chase. I may have found Davis’ splatter lines a bit difficult before, but here they can and do add to the whole vibe of the chase. Loved it. Now I’m just hoping Edginton and Davis can keep going with this kind of all-out adventure feel they’ve got going. Because this episode was my favourite thing in this issue.
The Red Seas by Ian Edginton and Steve Yeowell
Another Red Seas strip where Steve Yeowell’s already minimalist artwork takes it to a whole new level with so few panels per page it’s actually getting silly. I’m not saying I expect Yeowell to do the hyper-detailed stuff of Langley’s cover, but there’s almost an accusation that he’s not really trying – and I bloody like Steve Yeowell – god only knows what those who really don’t like him make of this.
As for the story… I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, it feels like it’s just going through the process of tieing up loose ends here, and there’s not that much fun in what’s on the page. An adventure with pirates, the devil and a monster made up of the bodies of the dead should be more exciting than this.
Strontium Dog by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra
There’s still a sense of ‘hmmmm, I just don’t care’ about this, but at least there was a moment in this episode where the adventure threatened to take off, and Ezquerra’s artwork came good properly. That panel right there – that looked the business.
And you know what, despite a general feeling of just not being that bothered by it, this episode does pick up somewhat, with Wagner cutting from scene to scene, spreading the news of the Mutie uprising, setting it up nicely. Is this merely a blip in the road to my ongoing disappointment or signs of an upturn? Time will tell.