Cover by the mighty Edmund Bagwell
Excellent cover by Edmund Bagwell. If I were to compile a list of my favourite 2000ad artists then Mr. Bagwell would no doubt feature highly on that list. One minor criticism would probably be the way Dredd looks, either his face is too lean or the helmet is too big, I would probably go for the former. But the depiction of Slaine and Sin Dex are superb. Nice use of colour too, it’s definitely eye catching and perfect to draw in new readers. The cover is the glossy, more firmer quality which is now customary for the jump-on-Progs.
Judge Dredd: Mega-City Confidential (Part 1)
When I first heard John Wagner and Colin MacNeil would be teaming up for this new Judge Dredd story, I was overjoyed. It’s been a while since we saw both of them together in the Prog, and everytime they do work together you are guaranteed to have a solid story. And this certainly was a solid opener as we are introuduced to the secretive Sector 7 (part of the Justice Department). One of the Sector’s workers, Erika, is under suspicion from her superior officer by the fact that she may be mentally unstable/ sharing information about her work. It’s clear the nature of the work is putting a big strain on her and she wants to share it with her husband but cannot do so, afraid of what Sector 7 would do to her (i.e, lobotomise her). It definitely makes us the reader intrigued to know the actual nature of her work and what she has seen, and the fact that Dredd is called to the case when we learn that she has disappeared shows the length they will go to to keep things quiet.
There's a noirish vibe to MacNeil's art
Let me just say that Colin MacNeil’s artwork is just gorgeous to behold. The opening page alone with the shot of the work place with its work cubicles and shadows gives it an almost noirish vibe, not to mention the close up of the Sector Chief’s glasses. The first thing thing that entered my head was L.A Confidential when I saw the title of the story, and just like the film, here we also have dirty secrets related to the Justice Department, and those that would go to any length to cover up their secrets. It’s a fascinating opener and I can’t wait for the next episode.
Slaine: A Simple Killing (Part 1)
Slaine is back (the recent Book of Shadows doesn’t really count, as it was just re-enactments from some of Slaine’s famous exploits). And this time he stumbles upon some Glibbes, i.e thieves trying to nick the treasures of the Goddess Danu.
I’m not normally a fan of Simon Davies, but I thought his work here was excellent, although it looked like he overdid it with the blue ink. But what it does do is make the reds more prominent and eye catching, as is the case when we see blood splatter on the following pages. Like Dredd, I really enjoyed this and look forward to more in the next Prog.
Outlier (Part 1)
This is a new Thrill to 2000ad by T.C Eglinton and Karl Richardson, and one which I thoroughly enjoyed. We open on Graegan: an Alliance planet (the first panel reminded me of Joss Whedon’s excellent Serenity for some reason). Here we are introduced to Private Investigator Carcer. He’s here to investigate a gruesome murder of a grotesque Jabba-esque billionaire. We get a glimpse of the assailant but what were his motives?
I’m a big fan of Karl Richardson’s artwork and his style is very suited for a strip like this. The murder scene was especially a treat, both gruesome in its detail and very Se7en-ish in context. It’s early days but I’m already looking forward to the next part.
Sinister Dexter: Gun Shy (Part 1)
Last time we saw Sinister Finnigan and Dexter Ramone, they were sent on a Witness Protection Programme on Generica. On the run from Holy Moses Tanenbaum, they arrive in the town of Bluff Butte (what a name!), and Finnigan is busy loading as many guns into his car trunk as possible (free guns from the bank a la present day America). But one problem, they don’t have any bullets!
Sinister joins a bank to get free guns!
I’m not a big fan of Sin Dex I’m saddened to say, but the last series was outstanding, and this new series seems to be going in the same direction too. I love Smudge’s black and white art here, his style is quite humourous and suits Dan Abnett’s storytelling very well. This was a fun opener and I’m looking forward to seeing what our trouble prone pair get up to next episode.
Jaegir: Strigoi (Part 1)
This is another new Thrill set in the same world as Rogue Trooper, but concentrating on the enemy (Nort) side of the divide. We are introduced to Atalia Jaegir, Nordland State Security Police, working on behalf of the Office of Public Truth, sort of like the S.J.S in Judge Dredd. Her fellow soldiers are not too keen on her and see her as a traitor, but Jaegir makes it clear that she’s after war criminals.
I thought this was a good introduction to the character and the world she inhabits. Simon Coleby’a artwork is very impressive, especially in the opening chase panels and the introduction of the main character. I love how we don’t see Jaegir’s facial scar at first, the right side of her face is obscured by shadow but not so in the final panel. There’s an orangey/yellowish hue to some of the panels giving it an almost sickly look. And seeing as it’s set on a planet ravaged by war and disease, I thought Len O’Grady’s colour work was perfect.
So a solid jump on Prog then, Judge Dredd was the highlight for me, but Sin Dex and Slaine were also great fun followed by the two new Thrills. I’m looking forward to seeing how each story develops in the next Prog.