Get in on these new stories before they are too far along: the Progs are solid right now. I'm loving Flint's artwork on Dredd. I was already a fan last week, but this week he really drove home the chaotic, purely visceral feel that the world of Dredd ought to have, from pencils, to ink, to color work. The pacing of this week's chapter dragged a bit for my liking, since this was the kind of sequence that a movie can indulge in but that a comic needs to just get on with; but, it was still a memorable chapter thanks to the life that Flint's charmingly sloppy style brings to the page.
Okay, so Slaine was a little bit easier to follow this week, but mostly I have just grown to appreciate what Mills and Davis are up to stylistically. As I mentioned last week (and as is apparent to the reader immediately), Slaine is fucking gorgeous. Davis is an artist, there's no doubt. But what hit me this week was that both Mills and the Davis are minimalists. Just look at these six pages: yes, the pacing is a little slow since the story is sort of focused in on this one encounter at the moment, but just look at how few narrative beats there are on these pages. Mills is handing Davis a really tight script and Davis, unencumbered by fluff, can use his gifts as an artist to deliver indulgent layouts and fight sequences.
The real stars so far in this round of the Progs are Grey Area and Strontium Dog. I was already happy with Grey Area last week when I saw one of the characters was named Officer Resting Bitch Face, but this week Abnett's story launched right into an interesting tale with the fate of the planet in the balance, and Harrison's art is poignantly other-worldly. Nothing upsets me more than schizophrenic color work in a comic, especially when it relies on awkward, all-over-the-place lighting. But Harrison is presenting a clear vision of an entirely different world than our own which is consistent (and consistently attractive) in its syrupy blues and oranges.
Strontium Dog contrasts sharply in style, relying on Ezquerra's unmistakable straight-up-the-middle, Dredd-ish approach. The world is simple, bright, and colorful; but, the people are asymmetrical, dirty, and-- well, they're all fucking pricks. And just when you think that this kind of Mega City spirit is all he can do, you get the illustration of the Space Hub a few pages into this story and are reminded that Ezquerra can flex his chops for detail when he damn well pleases. Aided by an engaging (and depressingly timely) script from Wagner, and this round of Strontium Dog is a must-read for Prog fans even with no prior exposure to the title.