Wow. There were enough thrills stored in this 100 page prog to light up a Christmas parade, just like the one we see in the first story….
Judge Dredd: The Right Thing by Mike Carroll and Leigh Gallagher. It was one hell of a fun packed story with some glorious artwork from Leigh, not to mention some hilarious easter eggs, from the ship in Firefly (with a “bring back Firefly” banner beneath it) and a cameo from Defoe! Also some barmy laugh out loud scenes from Christmas parade such as the binary singing droids and the empty seats belonging to the ‘Agoraphobic society’! There were a few grumble from my fellow readers regarding the design of Dredd’s outfit, not least that big zipper but I thought it looked pretty darn cool. I must also commend Chris Blythe’s wonderful colour work. Yes the ending is a slight downer, but just like the character says, this is the Megacity we’re talking about!
Ulysses Sweet: Centred (Part One) was one hell of a treat. I’m not familiar with Grant Morrison’s original story but Guy Adams does a great job making it easy for new readers to jump on board. Some lovely b&w artwork from Paul Marshall which reminded me a little of his work on the Samizdat Squad. That last panel was a classic and had me laughing out loud! For those feeling empty because of the absence of Zombo, I feel Ulysses Sweet might go a long way in filling that void.
The Ten Seconders: Harris’s Quest for the Perfect Christmas Pint – brilliant stuff from Rob Williams and Edmund Bagwell! For someone who doesn’t drink, that shot of the perfect pint at the start sure did make me thirsty! As for the story, well the title says it all really, only that Harris meets some odd looking monsters on the mothership, one in particular (the spider bloke) looked like something out of a Clive Barker novel. The shot of Harris looking upon our beloved earth and crying “I want to go home” damn near broke my heart, just like Sam Rockwell did in ‘Moon’ (uttering the same line). This was a brilliant one-off, such a shame we’ll never see Ten-Seconders again…
Input: The Letters Page was a jolly good read, some entertaining accounts of fellow Squaxx’s encounters with the prog, both recent and past.
ABC Warriors: Return to Mars (Part One) was a welcome sight. I loved the last series and hope to grud this follows in similar fashion. Clint Langley’s artwork was much much better here than his recent Slaine and American Reaper work. And that last splash page was superb.
Sinister Dexter The Generican Dream: Room Only – It was great to see PJ Holden on art duties for this strip, the only downer is that this was a one-off; I sure would’ve loved to have seen this continue with PJ on board. But it was still a lot of fun, with the psychotic LOLer Vanya giving Sinister Finnigan a visit. It was great fun with a nice little cameo from Leigh Gallagher!
Absalom: Old Pals’ Act – I was overjoyed when I heard that Absalom would be returning for this prog, and what fun it was too. We have Absalom visiting the Guv’nor, and them both reminicsing on past cases. Some of the Guv’nor’s methods of investigation are questionable (as is his politics), but it’s clear Absalom is here to see him for a reason. In the meantime D.S Sangster and Hopkins are busy chasing ‘Blur Bandits’, with a visit from someone aswell. It’s been far too long since we’ve had Tiernan Trevallion back in the prog (I can’t fully remember if he did work in the Meg this year). His b&w artwork was brilliant, sort of like a cross between Mignola and Fegredo. That shot of the Banshee just gave me the chills, his depiction of demons and derelict rundown estates and alleyways is a thing of beauty. Absalom cannot come back soon enough for me.
Starscan: Slaine – by Mike Collins. Really great job by Collins, I love the colour work!
Grey Area: Something to Declare – This was really fun! A nice self contained story told from the view of a visiting alien (or you the reader). Patrick Goddard’s artwork was simply outstanding. I love the way he depicts the characters both human and extraterrestrial. I’m glad to see that Grey Area will be returning in prog 1863, I just hope that we’ll still have Goddard on art duties!
Tharg The Mighty in Building a Better Comic – Let me just say that the scene involving the Mills Droid made me choke on my tea! It was hilarious! Not to mention that shot of grandad Elywn Miller dressed up as Dredd! Ha ha! I always wondered how the prog is put together every week, and now I know! Thank you Tharg (and the Williams and Parkhouse Droid for the art and lettering respectively!).
Strontium Dog: Dogs of War (Part One)
– It’s great to see Johnny Alpha back again. This story continues from where we last left off, namely war between the Muties and the Norms. And it seems old Alpha himself has changed. Especially differentiating between the army and civilians. Thank god for McNulty then, who turns up and tries to talk sense with Alpha. Has the ghost really left Alpha? Or has the war changed him? It looks like the latter to be honest. And I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that something bad will happen soon. It’s great to have John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra back again, and I’m intrigued to see where this series will head.
We end with an advert for the upcoming Judge Dredd story; Titan with Henry Flint back on art duties again since The Cold Deck. I can’t wait!
So a fantastic end of year prog – I couldn’t have asked for more! Pure unbridled Zarjaz heaven!