3 out of 5
In part the typical midpoint lull for the thrills, but there’s also some unfortunate shifts in almost each tale that keeps things somewhat stagnant.
The Dredd Texas City manhunt ramps up well (and concludes with a great twist, actually), especially once the reasons for the hunt become clear. What makes it a slightly bumpier dead, though, is that we lose Tiernen Trevallion on art in favor of Henry Flint. Now Flint is by no means a slouch – he’s proven himself a reliable regular on the title, if not a modern classic at this point – it’s just the oddity of changing artists mid-thrill. Not unheard of, but not so common, and especially a bummer since Trevallion was an exciting Dreddverse addition. But again, at least the story is good.
Also weird: Just as Hollywood-as-run-by-magicians pulp tale Hope started to dig into its missing kid mystery… it goes on temporary hiatus? Also pretty rare for 2000 AD. The story wasn’t the most wowing, but it was an interesting new addition all the same. Curious to see when it returns… in its place we get an admittedly fantastic Future Shock from Rory McConville and Steven Ray Austin on art – who rocks it – and then a standalone fun SinDex, and the start of what will probably be a short SinDex tale as well, about our gunsharka versus , and the start of what will probably be a short SinDex tale as well, about our gunsharks versus an overzealous robot bodyguard. Both drawn by Yeowell, whose zippy art looks great with Abigail Bulmer’s colors.
Edginton unfortunately starts to write more like I’m used to in Kingmaker, taking our on the run mismatched duo – the cranky wizard and the violent orc – and putting them on hold in some sort of forest dryad realm, where the story starts to wander through the political machinations Edginton dreamed up for the plot. Not uninteresting, but a somewhat murky directional shift. Thankfully things get kickstarted again with a prison break in prog 2019.
Similarly, Kek proves true to his usual form with The Order, taking it’d quirky multiple-Ritterstahl setup and going off in a new direction each subsequent panel. There’s always cool stuff lurking in Kek’s stories, it just rarely seems to come out linearly. As with Kingmaker, it finds some peaks along the way, but while I suspect Edginton will route that strip to a successful conclusion, The Order will likely continue to be wayward, which is too bad given how much fun the general time warrior concept is.
Even Kingdom doesn’t escape the slump scot-free, although it does make out perhaps the best. Abnett unfortunately stuck our characters in a fairly featureless landscape, and a couple progs find Gene and Leezee essentially rooted in place, fighting off Aux and figuring out what to do. But: By the time Gene utters Get Whet in 2018, all is forgive . God bless you, Kingdom.