REVIEW: 2000 AD PROG 1970

Publisher: 2000 AD Rebellion
Writers: Rob Williams, Kek-W, Pat Mills, Dan Abnett, John Wagner,
Artists: D’Israeli, John Burns, Clint Langley, Richard Elson, Carlos Ezquerra, Jon Davis-Hunt (Cover).
Letters: Annie Parkhouse, Ellie De Ville, Simon Bowland
Release Date: UK & Digital 2 March 2016 /North America 2 April 2016

Price: £2.55/$2.99

2000 AD Prog 1970 2000 AD Rebellion

2000 AD Prog 1970
2000 AD Rebellion

Where, you would have to ask yourself, would Judge Dredd be without the humour. An endless hybrid of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer meets Dirty Harry, possibly? And for one thousand nine hundred and seventy-nine issues (okay, one thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight issues, factoids and pedants) would eventually bore.

I wouldn’t think Judge Dredd would have been a lasting thing without the ability to put a wry smile on the faces of its readers either; given the UK comic book industry plays shy with reboots and rehashes, preferring character development and character progression, that would never have been an option either, there is, after all, only one Dredd. To summarise then, it seems obvious, Judge Dredd needs humour to make the character work.

And here, in the second instalment of Judge Dredd: Undercover Klegg, the humour flows and writer Rob Williams keeps it traditional Dredd humour too. Black and grim and so funny it hurts and sometimes, more importantly, it offends too. Probably not the likes of you and I, the aficionados of all things Judge Dredd, we get this and have done since 1977. D’Israeli’s artwork startles and there is a definite feeling it is not going to work and then, by the second page, it settles on the eye and a pleasing visual ride is locked in. for good.

Another plus point, the Judge Dredd humour thing is a good way of weeding out your friends. Don’t ‘unfriend’ them, make them read Judge Dredd: Undercover Klegg and if they whine like little stuck piggies, well you have just saved yourself a mouse click.

Kek-W and John Burns The Order In The Court Of The Wyrmqueen is an oddity but in an entertaining way. Burn’s artwork echoes the past or I’m just stuck in the 1970s (which is probably the case), it has that stiffness about the characters but energy in the action sequences and if that doesn’t make sense, well, I am the editor and you are the reader; I outrank you! (Kenneth Marrs and Mel Brooks, I salute you). At it’s basics The Order In The Court Of The Wyrmqueen is a monster yarn but that would be doing it a disservice. Kek-W is no slouch when it comes to writing interesting characters in mind-boggling situations. The Order In The Court Of The Wyrmqueen is well worth your time.

Pat Mills is on another tour-de-force – and he’s been on so many, you would think Mills would ease back, but, thankfully no – teamed up with the artwork of Clint Langley we all seem to have arrived in robot Hell in ABC Warriors Return To Ro-Busters. Happily eschewing redemption, a nasty liberal-minded theme designed to weigh down every good writer and force situations that just do not happen in real life ABC Warriors Return To Ro-Busters gets down to the nuts of bolts (yes I am smug about what I did just there) of humanity via the actions of robots. The least human metaphor to choose but certainly the best. And the humans that do populate ABC Warriors Return To Ro-Busters are, well you’ve guessed it, are more robotic, unfeeling, lacking – well no, not lacking – devoid of all emotions, good or bad.

It’s easy to read ABC Warriors Return To Ro-Busters and gloss over some deep-seated and disturbing themes. Like I said earlier, tour-de-force. Read it again and this time, concentrate.

Kingdom Beast Of Eden from Dan Abnett and Richard Elson is like a pleasant European comic book excursion with a dash of Brit grimness. It moves quickly and doesn’t drag. I might not have been familiar with all the characters, which did not feel necessary anyway, Abnett’s ability to give the reader a character fully formed in each issue has to be admired. Elson’s artwork helps out too, facial expressions convey a lot of the nuances. As for the story, much like the characters in this episode ten, the reader will get the gist of it in about a page. Not because the story is weak or simple, the writing is strong enough to fully evolve the reader from the get-go. And folks around here call that: BLOODY GOOD!

2000 AD Prog 1970 opens with a classic and its ends with one in the hands of 2000 AD stalwarts John Wagner and never rated enough Carlos Ezquerra on Strontium Dog Repo Men Part Ten. Much like the Judge Dredd instalment both creative partners on Strontium Dog not only know what they are doing from a technical perspective but also from an emotional one too. And it shows in the character of Strontium Dog, the narrative and the numerous other characters who strut and fret their hour upon The Strontium Dog stage. This time, it’s all about brains and who has them and who doesn’t. Clearly both Wagner and Ezquerra are the brains behind these brains (more smugness from me BTW).

So, to conclude, this is where you stop reading and go and buy or download a copy of 2000 AD PROG 1970 on 2nd March 2016. Form an orderly queue, please.

 

Review: Steve Hooker

 

 

2 Responses to REVIEW: 2000 AD PROG 1970

  • Paul Buckton says:

    By Grabthar’s Hammer and the Mighty Tharg’s Thimble I will. March 2nd just happens to be the day I go to the PO/Martins to cellec my carers allowance.