Review: 2000 AD – Prog 1938

Dredd and Absalom remain strong as Helium starts to lose some air and Outlier stays sexy. The conspiracy involving Joyce's father rolls along, and probably comes off a little too cut-and-dry to some readers.  What you should be focusing on, though, is the relationship between Dredd and Joyce.  Dredd isn't really known for getting in bar fights alongside his buddies, or for, you know, shooting at the law itself.  What makes this story so cool is that Dredd sticking his neck out for Joyce shows both his dedication to his men as well as his obsession with real justice.  Often times in the Meg, we only get to see Dredd handing out boring, procedural justice: justice as defined by the Meg and according to its rote rules and regulations.  Even if helping Joyce ultimately bottoms out in Dredd's concern for truth independent of considerations like friendship, it's still great to see Dredd cutting loose a bit.

2000-AD-Prog-1938I don't want to sell MacNeil's art short either.  More than a handful of recent Dredd stories, "Blood of Emeralds" has featured a good deal of rough-and-tumble fights and MacNeil has been doing a wonderful job bringing his own style to them.  Often times fights in comics are fragmented: they attempt to be cinematic but don't take advantage of the comics page.  MacNeil does not have a kinetic style of presenting fights; rather, he strings together just the right fragments that other artists might leave too disparate, in order to tell the story of a fight.  MacNeil really is great when he repeats himself: seeing a random bad guy's face get smashed is more narratively impactful when his face has been cued already in the fight.  Using those same vertical panels to pack plot-centric dialogue onto the page is a great touch and keeps the book moving.

Helium took a nice twist which added to the depth of the world at hand and the different races within it.  Unfortunately, the series has been quite talky and it seems like this chapter could have come a chapter (or even two chapters) earlier.  I'm also getting frustrated with Hodge: I'm aware that at this point she has no recourse but to take this revelation up the ladder, but she's been getting completely screwed over by the people in charge since the story started.  Of course, this is probably a prelude to her taking matters into her own hands because of the incompetence and/or outright betrayal of those in charge; but, I really don't want another chapter about the perils of nepotism.

Jaegir is still not doing it for me, but Outlier is still sexy and action-packed fun, even if I have no idea what's going on.  I especially enjoyed the effects employed this week of cutting between black panels and panels lit up with gunfire.  Oddly enough, it has sort of a sonic effect on the reader, since the lettering deploys the onomatopoetic sounds of gunfire.  The effect might even work better on a comics page than in a live-action movie since the artist has full control over the lighting effects.

Score: 3/5

2000 AD – Prog 1938 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: 2000 AD Price: £1.99 (Digital) £2.49 Release Date: 7/8/15 Format: Weekly; Print/Digital