2000 AD (progs 1966 – 1969) – Various

4 out of 5

One new appearance from the last batch: Rob Williams and D’Israeli’s Kleggy Dredd story starts, giving us one of the more liberal takes on JD I’ve seen.  …But also one of the reasons I love Dredd, in that a more comical take and less-realistic art style can easily slot in to the multi-faceted nature of the world.  Not enough to go on with the first installment, but we all love Klegg.

Otherwise we continue with most things – The Order, Kingdom, A.B.C. Warriors and Strontium Dog – and wrap up lead Dredd bit ‘Ghosts.’  …Which was a short but supremely effective tale.  I almost wish it had been drawn out more, working the undercover Demarco angle a bit – and the last chapter feels supremely compressed, laying a concluding speech on top of all of the concluding action – but overall, I’ll take less is more versus the opposite, and as even solid thrills have a tendency to lose steam in penultimate chapters, that all 6 installments of this series remained supremely entertaining is noteworthy.

Kingdom and Stront continue kicking along entertainingly, both strips coming bundled with very basic sensibilities of momentum (the former due to encroaching Them swarms; the latter due to a story-driven time constraint on Johnny Alpha’s thieving master plans) that work well with the creative teams’ styles.

But starting to spin our wheels on ABC Warriors at this point.  I was following the story in pleasant amusement, but the Why of it hasn’t really been clarified; I just feel like I’m reading isolated bumbling of Hammerstein and Ro-jaws each issue, Howard Quartz grumbling in the background.  It’s not a bore to read by any means, the connecting thread from prog to prog just isn’t that tight.  It reads too clearly like a filler story.

The Order certainly isn’t filler, but Kek-W waited too long to reveal too little: some clarity as to who / what / where / when / why, but I’m starting to get the sense that I should know a lot more than I do at this point.  Which makes me want to glance back at the first run of The Order, but it really hasn’t been that long, so feeling so separated from my memories of that story by this one, which I’m told is The Order but only seems to vaguely connect on a few points, is rather alienating.  I’m trying to read it as a standalone, but I suppose I’m also holding out hope that there are further explanations to be explained.  As with Warriors, it’s not unentertaining, but I have needed to reassess my expectations each step of the way.

Reading back over this summary, it doesn’t sound all that enthused, but this is still an above-average collection of stories.  All is good, just some thrills don’t shine as bright as others.