2000AD PROG 1402 Review

Reviewer: Will Cooling

Edited by: Matt Smith
Published by: Rebellion

Judge Dredd

Title: Big Deal at Drekk City Pt. 3
Written by: John Wagner
Art by: Cam Kennedy
Coloured by: Chris Blythe
Lettered by: Tom Frame

Last week we discovered that not one but many gangs were plotting to rob the Big Deal Poker Game as we saw various attempts to unite them fail due to greed, mistrust and the espionage work of Dredd. The result was a massive gunfight outside the Casino, something that finally gives Vance an excuse to take the Cadets and herself home as she convinces Dredd they need back up. However, Dredd stays behind to dispense justice”¦

Yay for this! For the second week running the action focuses on the gangsters with some terrific scenes as they attack the Casino itself with Kennedy’s artwork being superb in showing the carnage and confusion whilst maintaining a less than serious tone. In addition words cannot do enough justice to the superb colouring of Chris Blythe with his imaginative choice of colours adding much to many scenes. Whilst the art team take centre stage it would be wrong to ignore the brilliance of Wagne’s contribution with some wonderful lines and gags and hints that Chris may actually get his wish (as expressed in our PROG 1400 review)! I so hope so.

Caballistics Inc.

Title: Creepshow Pt. 2
Written by: Gordon Rennie
Art by: Dom Reardon
Lettered by: Ellie De Ville

Possible SPOILERS ahead”¦

Last week the team investigated the (soon to be demolished) former studios of Ludgate Films for clues as to the disappearance of a number of workers and nearby locals. They did whilst trying to digest the fact that Jenny has been possessed by a demon and that they have a new member in escaped mental patient Nessy. Now the truce between the team and Demon Jenny breaks down with strange results”¦

The writing this week isn’t up to its usual high quality in my opinion. Not because it’s bad per se (its miles better than most other comics) but because it seems a little disjointed with a lack of cohesion or rhythm to the story. The ambush on Demon Jenny makes sense even if it’s a little disappointing that the relationship between her and the group hasn’t been giving more time to simmer but after the ambush everything goes weird”¦The crashing of the building and the fracture of the space-time continuum contained to me just didn’t seem to gel into a coherent story. I’ll probably feel different when I can read this part in the context of the whole story but a slightly disappointing part this week.

Still Dom Reardon’s art is top quality!

Bec & Kawl

Title: Hell to Pay Pt. 2
Written by: Si Spurrier
Art by: Steve Roberts
Lettered by: Ellie De Ville

So the end result of last week’s surreal episode is that Kawl is the new ruler of Hell after his Sid James pastiche uncle died. Now we get to his first day on the job in what turns out to be a hilarious spoof on satanic pop culture icons with non-speaking cameos from Spawn, Hellboy, Marilyn Manson and Ozzy Osborne. However the highlight has to Spurrie’s parody of Etrigan as a local reporter trying to report Kawl’s first day as he commits such outrages as giving candies to the three Arch-Heretics. What’s more all this comedy isn’t mindless or pointless but builds to a coherent and funny pay off which although scandalous and unfair is still good fun.

The writing is equally as strong in the sub-plot of Bec’s er date with the foreign exchange student, which although at first just smacks of giving her something to do in a Kawl story does offer plenty of laughs and the possibility of the two plot threads crossing over. The art is fantastic as well with Steve Roberts showing genuine satirical skills with some wonderfully distorted versions of the likes of Spawn, Hellboy and the Shadow Chief Advisor to the Treasury 1974/5. Add to that a real flair for the cartooney Satanisms that crop up throughout this story and you have some wonderful looking art. With that and Si Spurrie’s writing you have a mischievous story that never takes itself too seriously.

A.B.C Warriors

Title: Shadow Warriors: Book II ~ Pt. 3
Written by: Pat Mills
Art by: Henry Flint
Lettered by: Tom Frame

The A.B.C Warriors are currently in the middle of Cyboon rampage in a near deserted city centre with the out of control gorillas causing mayhem. This is all made worse by the fact that they are in control of a group of Martian Trisaurs, which due to the Warriors agreement with Medusa (as enforced by her servant Steelhorn) they cannot harm. Now they must defeat the Cyboons and rescue the humans all whilst the full extent of the Docto’s rampage in the hospital is revealed.

This is sheer quality with the confrontation between the Cyboons and A.B.C Warriors producing some brilliant insights and plot developments for example you have Hammerstein fulfilling his usual stereotypical hero role by rescuing a women from a wannabe King Kong in a fantastically staged and realised battle. Then you have the role of Steelhorn as Mills finally develops the idea of Steelhorn as the representative of the living conscience of Mars with tantalising results that make this very mysterious character even more”¦mysterious. Then you have the art, which is drool worthy as Flint improves on his amazingly good work for Lowlife by miles with such detailed and tight linework that suits this story perfectly. Its quality really does defy words. Overall a fantastic part that as an added bonus shows signs that something is actually going to happen next week 🙂

Strontium Dog

Title: The Headly Foot Job Pt. 3
Written by: John Wagner
Art by: Carlos Ezquerra
Lettered by: Annie Parkhouse

Last week we saw Johnny and Wulf successfully break Headly Foot from jail with a little help from a timely yet unintentional distraction from Foot’s own gang who were also trying to rescue him. Now Johnny has to persuade Foot to stick with him instead of going with his gang whilst doubts begin to emerge about Alpha’s motivation in rescuing him”¦

Another good, fun episode as Wagner writes with his usual Stronty mix of action and comedy with the character dynamic between Johnny, Wulf and Foot being pure gold. The highlight of said dynamic has to be the way that Johnny can play Foot so easily as he coolly and calmly manipulates Foot especially when Foot’s old gang start causing trouble. The action is great too with a terrific car chase and motorway gunfight. This is all captured brilliantly by the fantastic Carlos Ezquerra who once again proves to be the most consistently brilliant comic book artist ever with some fantastic linework especially with regards to his characterisation. Overall, good fun even if the fact that the Feefons don’t feature as much as in the two previous parts robs it of the cause of the best gags in said earlier parts.