Review: 2000 AD - Prog 1926

Let's talk about Henry Flint, current artist on the Dredd story "Enceladus: New Life."  If I'm going to praise an artist putting together sequential, narrative art, then I'm going to praise her or him on the basis of a few things beyond whether their artwork simply looks good.  The big things for me are a style that fits the story being told, layouts that take advantage of the fact that the story is in a comic form, and whether or not the artist actually knows how to color something so that it looks like the job wasn't done on LSD or by a five-year-old (or, distressingly, both). Flint is scoring points in all categories.  It might just be the contrast with Staples’ buttery, cinematic work on the title, but Flint is proving himself to be a grimy draftsman with just the right command of chaos that is demanded by drawing Dredd.  His layouts depart from simple cookie-cutter layouts: panels tilt as the ground shifts, and long vertical panels are deployed to give length to pages where members of the expedition on Enceladus keep falling.  Pages are themed by color bringing a further unity to the disheveled detail for which Flint has a special knack.  The uniformity of colors also makes special story elements (like, you know, Dredd himself and blood, because why wouldn't there be blood?) pop on the page without having to rely on anything further than their own natural character.

2000-AD-Prog-1926As for the rest of the issue, I am at a bit of a loss: this is one of my favorite issues of the Progs since I started reading them.  Not a single one of these titles underperformed, and most of them were, in fact, excellent.

When Orlok has a great chapter leading up to the action, you know the creative team is doing something right.  This arc benefits from the fact that Rasputin is just an obviously interesting character, but setting up drama around him has been an additional success.  Lynch's rendering of the dark corners of the Dredd world in this run on Orlok is as tight as it’s ever been.  Layouts are clever and alive, so much so that the black and white styling makes it feel like the addition of color would be an insult.

Grey Area continues to simmer its plot in the hallucinogenic gumbo that is Harrison's art.  This is yet another example of style, layouts, and coloring all coming together in an impressive artistic trident which pierces your eyeballs with awesomeness.  Pacing might be an issue if something doesn't happen a week on in this story, but so far the setup of this story has not felt slow at all.  Honestly, if every chapter looks like the first few, they can stay in the prison cell beating the shit out of one another for the next two months as far as I'm concerned.

Strontium Dog and Slaine are both just obvious fun, albeit for different reasons.  I didn't start reading the Progs to see North Korean generals beat the shit out of titular characters, but I will certainly stay if that's the kind of party this is going to be.  And even though Slaine triggered me with its first page reminding me of my darling The Order, Davis's art remains a god damn master class.

Score: 5/5

2000 AD – Prog 1926 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: 2000 AD Price: £1.99 (Digital) £2.49 (UK) Release Date: 4/8/15 Format: Weekly; Print/Digital