2000 AD (progs 2020 – 2024) – Various

4 out of 5

Fun odds and ends so Tharg can align for another kickoff prof.

In the JD slot we get an amusingly grisly vanity-is-murder tale by T.C. Eglinton with awesome art from Boo Cook.  I’m plus / minus in Boo, often finding his art a tad too ‘bubbly’ for the darker stories to which its applied, but he strikes a great balance here: His flexible figure work works really well with the goopy gore required by the story, and yet his Dredd looks hard-edged and solid.  We get a couple quality onesies thereafter (Wyatt and Tom Foster! on one, Wags and Ezquerra the other) before the start of Wagner and McCrea – whose art looks fantastic here; he clearly has put in max effort for his mag debut – tackling the start of a story concerning robo judges.  Good stuff.

SinDex pokes around with some more standalones.  Standalone tales are something of a tradition for the duo.  These in particular are a fun reintroduction of sorts for our gunsharks, as they get to re-establish themselves after some dimension hopping.  Yeowell’s art continues to shine – all movement and action – when coupled with John Charles’ colors.

Kingmaker (Edginton / Gallagher) and The Order (Kek / Burns) just sort of hobbled along for me.  The conclusions were much more interesting than the dragging middle sections, but neither story ended up feeling like it accomplished much, and even Gallagher’s art seemed to gear down a bit in the tale’s latter half.  I’ve sort of lost faith that The Order will ever shape up into the type of story I want – Kek’s sense of pacing is way too scattered for me – but Kingmaker was stuffed with cool details along the way that could still shape up in the long game.

Kingdom took several great turns in its conclusion, with new characters, new concepts, and an intriguing way forward for the next chapter.  Overall this probably could’ve been shorter, but by the same token, the story payoff was totally worth it, reconfirming this isn’t exclusively a brawly-dudes-punching strip.

In other Abnett news, Brink returns!  The first two chapters are mostly setup, but placing Kurtis on a potentially haunted, under construction Hab is certainly promising.  Otherwise, 2023 and 24 have the start of new Scarlet Traces and Deadworld strips, on which I’ll reserve opinion until we’re deeper in, since I’ve been iffy on both strips.