I tend not to look at the weekly prog here – I’d rather wait for stories to be completed – but as 1934 features mostly new stories, I will have a go at a weekly review.
JUDGE DREDD – BLOOD OF THE EMERALDS PT. 1
SCRIPT: MICHAEL CARROLL
ART: COLIN MACNEIL
Judge Fintan Joyce, who joined the tough Mega-City One Justice Department from the far more laid back Emerald Island (future Ireland) in the aftermath of Chaos Day, has had a tough time of it in most of his appearances and he still can’t catch a break. Ready for some sleep, he is targeted by a hitman who, it is revealed, is after a package sent to Joyce regarding possessions of his father, himself a former Judge, who popped up a few times over the years. I was sold on this from the start, as MacNeil is one of my all-time favourite artists. His art here is coloured by Chris Blythe and is of the slightly more cartoony style that he often uses on Dredd stories (as opposed to his painted or black and white work). Most of the issue is given over to Joyce’s fight for survival against his would be killer, which is well choreographed by MacNeil, before ending with enough intrigue to have me looking forward to next issue – as I said before, I tend to read a lot of progs at once when the story is complete, but this was a great example of a six page 2000AD story that leaves you wanting more.
ABSALOM – UNDER A FALSE FLAG PT.1
SCRIPT: GORDON RENNIE
ART: TIERNEN TREVALLION
I missed the original Absalom stories which may be one reason I have never quite got into the most recent tales, but I think the main reason is that very few of the leads are likeable (including Harry Absalom). I assume we are meant to be laughing with Harry, not at him, but either is a little hard to do as he’s a bit of a bigot. In saying that, it is well written and Trevallion’s art is really rather good. This suits the story in which our leads investigate a magically burned body with possible links to demon hunters, perfectly.
SCRIPT – IAN EDINGTON
ART – D’ISRAELI
Another favourite artist of mine, D’Israeli’s work is as good as always, in this new strip with frequent collaborator, Edington. Set in a far future world where a toxic cloud covers most of the planet’s surface, humanity lives on the top of mountains and travels by huge airships. When an airship is attacked by something from beneath the cloud, Constable Hodge finds her attempts to investigate hampered by her town’s corrupt leadership. Things then take a turn when something emerges from the cloud…
This double-length intro does a fine job of introducing us to the story’s world and cast, as well as giving us plenty of intriguing titbits and a twist to bring us back next week. Edington said recently in the 2000AD podcast (which all 2000AD fans really should listen to) that Helium is connected to another of his stories. I am personally hoping that the world of Helium is part of The Orrery, the clockwork universe from Edington’s Brass Sun. Brass Sun is, for my money, one of the best series of the last few years, and one I believe D’Israeli did designs for. He was, at one point, slated to draw for it, so it is possible. This is a very promising start to what I hope will be a great series.
SLAINE: THE BRUTANICA CHRONICLES, BOOK TWO – PRIMORDIAL PT. 11
SCRIPT: PAT MILLS
ART: SIMON DAVIS
Well, that’s quite a title when you type it out in full…
The only continuing story this issue and, confession time, I have not read all of the previous ten parts. This week’s Dredd and Helium both worked really well in six page chunks but Slaine wasn’t working for me weekly, so I decided, after part three, to read it in one sitting when it’s complete. What I can say is that the previous book was the best Slaine story in quite some time and that Simon Davis’s work on Slaine is probably the best he has ever produced – this strip looks great. Hopefully it reads as well as it looks, I’ll find out in a fortnight when the story wraps up.