My first Prog review since getting my Future Shock rejected! I would be bitterer (that’s an actual word in this language), but this anthology is too excellent for my review to be dragged down by my feelings! I ate a lot of ice cream today! This "Blood of Emeralds" Dredd story is a great change of pace. It's hard to get tired of the Mega City if you really enjoy Judge Dredd, but it's still great to see a story taking advantage of the concept of justice under the Judges without that story being chained to the dystopic city blocks of the Meg. This chapter should have been a slow chapter, encompassing the aftermath of the raid on Joyce's mom's house and a brief interrogation. Instead, I thought Macneil and Blythe did a great job bringing this procedural chapter to life, thanks in no small part to Parkhouse's stellar work on letters which were the star of the interrogation scene. It's just plain lovely to read a story about conspiracy that flows like a nice down-home thriller.
Jaegir is back, and the jury is out on this title for me until the ball gets rolling. As usual, art is stellar (rarely is it not in this anthology), but I thought the intro was slow and uninformative. More problematic was how repetitive the art was. Despite being gorgeous, the reader is constantly barraged with faces and uniforms and it makes the issue feel claustrophobic for the wrong reasons. Rennie's scripts for Absalom have the same kind of slow burn, but benefit from Harry's personality and the craziness of the subject matter: I'm guessing this title will just take some time to gain momentum.
Helium is the breakout star of the Progs right now. It is a massive success of writing and art both individually and in combination for the reader to feel so absolutely immersed in a foreign world so quickly. Just over a month ago, this particular world was alien to everybody but the creative team and some editorial staff, but I feel like I've been reading this title for a year. D'Israeli's color work on this title is menacingly bright. The bad guys’ appearance on the scene in this issue looks like something out of a horror magazine from the 1950's, but oozes with all of the danger without succumbing to its intentionally cheesy overtones.
Helium is pretty much an exercise in quick and dirty but super effective world-buildery on the part of Edginton and D'Israeli. I'm reminded of one of my other favorite world-buildy teams, Spurrier and Stokely, whose new release The Spire actually hits a lot of similar themes as this title here. I'm looking forward to recommending this title to everyone who's been drooling (deservedly) over The Spire, since fans of one ought to be fans of the other, lest they have some extreme hatred of Steampunk.