2000 AD (prog 1910) – Various

3 out of 5

This was missing out of my weekly packs.  It confused me as to why then, and I have no idea why now, but, hey, back issue bins and here we are, dropping randomly into the middle of the featured thrills.

A standalone Dredd from Alec Worley and draw-’em-big man Ben Willsher, who has a touch of 90s Image to his broad-shouldered JD, but his composition far exceeds that sleight; Willsher’s pages are always primed to draw you in.  ‘Mask of Anarchy’ is a simple one-shot of Dredd stopping an assassin, but it’s got a fun dose of sci-fi toward the end and so works perfectly as a mid-sequential fill-in.

Pat Mills’ and John Higgins’ uneven Greysuit – about the ‘escape’ of a programmed, super-powered killer from the powers that intend to control him – plods on, this particular chapter mostly further setting up characters for the conclusion.  The structure of this particular chapter isn’t going to make or break new readers: nothing to push people away (it’s not too Mills-y), but nothing overly interesting to grab them, either.

A Bob Byrne Twisted Tales, wordless horror stories which are always a good time.  This one doesn’t disappoint, as a thieving plumber… y’know, thieves the wrong joint.  It feels a little typical, maybe – a little Tales from the Crypt-y – but it’s still fun.

The concluding chapter to Ichabod Azrael.  I won’t lie – this chapter taken on its own is incredibly underwhelming.  But we’re concluding a massive journey, and there’s simply no context reading it separately.  But I do think that the color scheme switch (from B&W to color) and narrative tricks evident even in these few pages is enough to pique curiosity, which is tough to do with most thrills’ last few chapters, since things are generally rattling down by then.  So I do wish I’d had prog 1910 when it came out… but I’m still glad to have the last piece of the Azrael puzzle finally.

And the penultimate Stickleback chapter.  I believe at the time I’d note how this was a strip that got significantly better as it went along, and that holds true after the fact, as D’Israeli’s insanely unique art / coloring on the strip and the weird characters and appearance of tentacles from the sky is absolutely enough to titillate, and makes you want to know what’s going on.

A little unfair on the rating, maybe, as these thrills were probably more thrilling if I’d been able to read them along with the rest of the stories, but thems the breaks, prog 1910.  NEXT TIME SHOW UP ON MY SUBSCRIPTION LIST AND NOT IN THE BACKBINS AND YOU’LL GET A BETTER RATING.

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