2 out of 5
I don’t want to discourage the original material that’s been appearing in the Regeneds – not everything has to have a Dreddverse antecedent in order for these issues to feel like extensions of the parent mag – but it does seem like the more we’ve gone down that road, the more Regened begins to read just like another UK kid’s mag. This issue is almost wholly flat, where even Cadet Dredd is feeling pretty un-Dreddy.
Speaking of: as scripted by Liam Johnson this week, art by Joel Carpenter, Zootrapolis is a fair setup that has Joe and his training judge looking into some disappearances at a future zoo, but somewhere between Johnson’s script and Carpenter’s art, it feels like a lot of visual cues are lost, making the pacing of the story feel off. And Dredd’s aptitude and patter registers more like cool comic book hero stuff than a mini-version of the authoritarian jerk we all love. It’s not a bad story, but it’s rough around the edges, and, again, doesn’t really read like Dredd, young or old. John Charles’ bright colors are great, though.
Lowborn High – David Barnett and Anna Morozova. I’m… going to ask for this one to be retired. Not every boy wizard is Harry Potter, and Barnett added the wrinkle to the youth-y wizard school bit by making lead Androgeus a rich kid stuck in the flunky titular High, but it’s not proving enough to add any special flair, and this issue’s Quidditch sports event doesn’t either. The script is jumpy between scenes, and though I quite love Morozova’s flowing character design, and it is a good match for the concept of the book, I’m not quite sure it’s a good match for the way Barnett is writing it. Like, Anna’s working in YA, and Barnett is maybe doing something a bit more serious than that, and so it’s not quite syncing. But either way, the look and feel of this just isn’t sitting well in a 2000 AD book to me (noting that each creator has done things elsewhere in the title that I’ve enjoyed or appreciated).
Karl Stock’s / Tom Newell’s Future Shock bites off a bit more than it can chew – this is pretty high concept stuff for kids – and I’m not sure it sticks the landing clearly, but this was also the best read in the book thanks to those big swings. Newell’s angular, crooked art is awesome, and I’d like to see more of Barbara Nosenzo’s colors – the neon palette and flats here are pretty striking; it’s be interesting to see them in a different palette / different art style to see how it comes across.
James Peaty’s Scooter & Jinx takes a promising odd couple setup – Scooter, Jinx, a cat-thing and a robot-thing, taking on odd jobs: finding a missing actor in this case – and… I dunno. I don’t know what’s happening here. Peaty takes a jump at strip’s end to evolve the relationship between the two that seems unwarranted, and could’ve been played up a bit longer or a bit better; prior to that, the flashback / flashforward of the case in which they’re involved somehow sidesteps establishing the stakes very well, so it’s all pretty underwhelming. Steve Roberts art is goofy and fun, but their colors are not balanced very well – too much pop going on.
Close out with a Pandora Perfect, retreating back to Regened. As I’ve been saying about a lot of these strips, Langridge’s pacing seems off here, missing out on his usual joke timing, especially in his P.P. pairings with artist Brett Parson. Perhaps there’s some specific attempt at editing this book in a more jumpy fashion for our less patient kids? Pandora’s / Gort’s botched theft of a food-growing formula makes for classic hijinx, and, save the pacing issues, the final gag is pretty funny.