3 out of 5
The next “regened” entry.
I’m really digging the concept of the regened issues – kid-friendly 2000 AD fare – and think it’s cool that a FCBD idea has turned into a quarterly, over-sized issue, but this one fell a little flat for me, a little oddly focused.
Matt Smith’s / Nicolo Assirelli’s opening Dredd Cadet tale is great – Smith has such a good grasp on Dredd lore that it’s perfect seeing him write young Joe – but it’s punchline seems geared more toward the seasoned reader than a new one, which had me feeling off about its place in the issue. On the one hand: it’s a great tale, and I love its connections to Dredd history; on the other hand, if this were my first JD story, I wonder if I’d be feeling like I was missing something…
John Reppion returns as the solo writer on Finder & Keeper, a sort of updated, mini-ghostbusters deal. The banter between the two lead youths has been fun, as is the overall idea, and the duo’s investigations into a haunted apartment complex in this entry takes a maybe over-serious turn, but it’s still a fun read. However, David Tinto’s timing and framing feels off; actions are a bit ill-timed to what’s meant to be occurring, and – whether it was in the script or Tinto’s decision – the point of views the panels take break immersion in the story here and there.
Seasoned young adult writer Cavan Scott and artist Paul Davidson give us an Anderson tale, which is solid from start to finish – great art; an entertaining story with a beginning, middle, and end. I’d note that Anderson is an adult here, for whatever that’s worth. Not that we can’t have good stories with kids as the leads, I just found it interesting that the best thrill in the prog starred grownups.
Laura Bailey kicks off an interesting Future Shock – the Queen will be selected at random, and it goes to a criminal! – but foregoes the potentially rich commentary of that setup for a Future Shock!-y twist that sorta falls flat. Future Shocks often struggle with this balance, but it’s another weirdly-toned tale for the issue, making you wonder if Bailey would’ve handled it differently in a regular prog.
Lastly, a young Johnny Alpha tale from Michael Carroll and Nick Brokenshire. It’s a good read, introducing us to a rebellious Alpha, doing right by his fellow muties, but though I’m overjoyed to see Brokenshire in the mag, the flashback structure of Carroll’s tale seems to be a bit beyond his paneling abilities, making the flow a bit wonky. But I’d love to see him on an ongoing, and get fully warmed up to the Dreddverse.