Monday 22 October 2018

Incoming! 2000AD Preview October '18

Yes folks, it's time to dive back into the wonderful worlds of 2000AD and Rebellion for a relaxing swim around the best in cutting edge and retro sci-fi comics.... After last month's bumper onslaught of thrills (through the expanded issues of Prog 2100 and Meg 400) can the Galaxy's Greatest Comic and the Big Meg keep it coming? Let's see shall we...

Behind a bold Jake Lynch Dredd cover, Prog 2104 kicks off on the inside cover with the always excellent Droid Life, a half-page comic short following the trials and tribulations of Tharg's hard working droids (in the deep, deep sub-basement...), guaranteed to raise a smile or a corny-pun groan. Top marks as ever to creator Cat Sullivan! First strip proper is naturally Judge Dredd, and "The Small House" is continuing apace! Dredd and a handful of trusted allies are tracking down unsanctioned Justice Department assassins without backup from (and without the authority of) the Justice Department itself. With a supporting cast including Judge Giant, Dirty Frank (You don't know Dirty Frank? Dirty Frank is offended!) and more, this is shaping up nicely into one of the best stories this year!

The rest of the stories begun in Prog 2100 are also developing well. Brink is suitably tense as always, with Hab Security investigators operating undercover in an over-privileged corporation Habitat. The prequel story of Captain Constanta continues with beautiful, atmospheric artwork from Dave Taylor in Fiends of the Eastern Front, and Nolan goes on a psychic journey into his brother's memories for some useful backstory in Skip Tracer. Did I mention that was drawn by Colin MacNeil and coloured by Dylan Teague? You lucky people! Rounding us out this week is Kingdom, Dan Abnett and Richard Elson's post-apocalypse epic. Worth checking out from the start (and the sequel novel "Fiefdom"), the story follows Gene the Hackman, an "Aux" genetically engineered to scour the Earth of "Them", an alien insectoid-ish race of monsters which now dominate the planet. But what happens when humans and Aux and Them work together? And how did this unholy alliance come about? The current story arc will enlighten you!!!!

Before this GGC goodness hits the shelves however, you can pick up a copy of Judge Dredd Megazine #401. (W/C 15th Oct) You can't miss it, it's got a monstrously good Nick Percival cover with Judge ruddy Death on it! Perfectly apt for Hallowe'en, and also to get you excited for the Dark Judges story bringing up the rear of the comic! But it's the opener which has got me positively bursting with Thrill Power: Clint Langley on art duties for a Dredd one-shot! I'm a big fan, so this is gold for me. His art style has been evolving for a while now, and this strip is almost a combination of his earlier drawing style and more recent photorealistic computerised style. With a quality little tale from Rory McConville, this gets this month's Meg off to a winner!

The middle of this issue is just as high quality as it's front and back stories. We have the always top notch Lawless by Abnett and Winslade (seriously, this is worth the price of the Meg on it's own!) followed by the Leah Moore/John Reppion scripted Storm Warning. The first part of this story hooked me, the ghost of a man seeks PSI Judge Lillian Storm's help because he had an out of body experience... and someone else walked off in his body! I do like stories like this, proof that you can write a decent Judge story without using the long-established characters associated with them. And continuing the Meg's intelligent use of Brit Cit! Finally this month we have Blunt, following the survivors/colonists on a deadly frontier world; I think Boo Cook loves coming up with crazy alien beasties!

Rounding out this month's Megazine are three features, one on the new "Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000AD" roleplaying game, and two on new comics; a second Scream and Misty Special and Sniper Elite. The roleplay game sounds interesting, using a universal gaming system that can adapt to any setting and a range of sourcebooks to bring each world to life, let's hope it lasts longer than previous efforts! Of the two comics, I'm really up for the Scream and Misty Special, new writers and artists making new strips in the style of the original UK horror comics, including updated stories for the Thirteenth Floor and Black Max!

Sniper Elite just feels like self advertising from Rebellion. Based on their computer games of the same name, this is a story told in the style of the old Battle comics (recently acquired by the company) which would be fine if not for the advertising link... This is the second game in the last few months to get a comic strip associated with the Meg, not a trend I'm liking. Overall I really like the inclusion of the articles every month, they're always well written and readable, the sort of space filler you can enjoy! Add to this package the bagged paperback GN Johnny Woo: A Bullet in the Head, which follows on from the last story in last month's bagged book, and that's another solid month's worth of content for your six quid!

A quick glance over the rest of the month's offerings gives us two more entries in the "Treasury of British Comics" imprint. Ken Reid's Creepy Creations is a collection of the classic comics artist's poster pictures from the old Shiver and Shake comic, each design suggested by a reader and realised gloriously by Reid (the reader won a pound if their picture was chosen!). El Mestizo is a classic from Battle, the story of a half black/half Mexican slave turned mercenary during the American Civil War. Written by Alan Hebden (last month's interviewee), this release takes on a poignant note as it was drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, who passed away this month. A fitting tribute, even if the timing was tragically coincidental.

A final tip from me, keep an eye on 2000AD for the upcoming new series of Jaegir: a Rogue Trooper spinoff involving Nort protagonists, it is that most rare of animals, a spinoff as good as the original series...

R.I.P. Carlos, all of this Dreddness we owe to you.

By day, David Mustill is a Human Workhorse for a chemical company. Naturally, every possible moment away from this existence is spent gaming and painting miniatures.

A steady diet of rock, metal, punk, comics, gaming, miniatures and genre movies has moulded David into a renaissance geek, for whom no gaming company or genre is too obscure, and no graphic novel is unreadable.

He is currently the Chairman of Milton Hundred Wargames Club, which affords him the privilege of running the Broadside Games Show. He will not let you down. Unless you're after selfies. He is rubbish at selfies...

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