2000 AD: Regened (#2280) – Various

2 out of 5

This is more rightly an average Regened – half the stories are good, the other half are okay; nothing outstanding or outright poor – but I’m using the mighty power of my platform to curb what I hope does not become a long-standing trend: lettering with zero kerning and uneven spacing. It is the most unreadable font I have ever seen. Because this first popped up in Monster Fun – where it also impacted my ability to enjoy the stories that used it – I guess this is appealing to some kind of emerging / already popular style, which makes me the complaining old man trying to read kid’s books, but… but I watch / read an spattering of YA stuff, and I haven’t seen this yet. So I’m not sure where it’s coming from, or if I’m just missing it, but I’m having a hard time – in typical old man fashion, I suppose – wrapping my head around how this could be easily readable to anyone, unless the way it breaks legibility is telling of the youth’s abilities to wield the written word differently in the age of texting / social media. I don’t know. But from my subjective point of view, I can’t stand it, and it made one of the stories in this Regened – the Future Shock – intolerable, even though the story itself fell into the “okay” territory (communicating AIs isn’t very future-y, though the punchline was funny).

Anyhow, that aside: James Peaty’s Regened writing hasn’t bugged me as much as his regular 2000 AD stuff, perhaps because he writes fairly cookie-cutter dialogue and that works better in a YA format; his Cadet Dredd tale was really solid, and hit the tone I hope for in this book: definitely kid friendly, but willing to get into some heavier stuff and more complex themes. I also liked the way he differentiated Dredd and Rico – not subtle, but it felt “believable” within the context of the setting. Luke Horsman’s art is also growing on me: they’ve been a bit too expressive in past issues, but it’s reigned in really well here, to the extent I’d be curious to see them on an ongoing Dredd strip.

David Barnett and Anna Morozova gives us a wizard kids story. This one really landed flat for me, though I can’t exactly pinpoint why. Barnett’s had some good works elsewhere, and Morozova hasn’t exactly found their 2000 AD vibe yet, but they’re a good artist – just feels very Boom! comics-y or Marvel-ish. And I want to rag on the strip for being of the Harry Potter vein, but it’s not like fantasy hasn’t been in 2000 AD before, wizard kids included. Also, the concept of a witch school for the spell-casters who can’t quite cut the grade of the top tier school is fun. So what was it that bugged me? …The only thing I can land on is that Boom! comics statement, because it also applies to the writing: nothing about this story feels like it has to be in 2000 AD or Regened. It could appear anywhere. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just doesn’t have much personality yet, and Morozova’s timing – humor, action – is a little off, so it was somewhat of a slog to get through.

Then the aforementioned Future Shock – again, I liked where the story (Honor Vincent) ended up, and VV Glass’ clean, cartoonish art is really fantastic, but damn that lettering – then The Unteachables from Karl Stock, following up on a bit in a previous Regened. This was definitely the best of the bunch: Xulia Vicente’s thick-lined art is very energetic and emotive while retaining a clean, Warren Pleece-ness to it, and Karl Stock’s school-sux reversal – school is outlawed, fight for your right to learn! – is smart tweak. The story’s a bit crowded, but fun.

Lastly, David Barnett returns with another Chopper entry. Nick Roche’s art has an assist from John Charles’ bright, sharp colors, adding to its inherent energy, though it sometimes feels like we’re missing some connective tissue between panels. David again makes Chopper into a great choice for Regened – of course, a snotty skysurfin’ teen – and I got a kick out of the reveal explaining some missing Boingsters. …However, the fourth-wall breaking stuff really needs to go. It just clutters up the narration, and the jokes in the main dialogue / story work fine. It’s more distracting on this go-round than it was on the last one.

It felt like a long pause since our last Regened, so I was looking forward to it’s return, but I hope between now and the next one, the lettering trend spotted here dies.