Henry Flint is back on Dredd: if the rest of the issue wasn't also excellent, I would probably still give it a perfect score. "Enceladus: Old Life" is going to be a little confusing if you haven't yet read the "Enceladus: New Life" story (I believe that ran starting from Prog #1924, and it's worth digging for). Long story short, a ship showed up at the Meg all the way from the penal colonies where they keep Judges elsewhere in the solar system. It was empty, but somehow covered in ice. Now that ice--ice that is probably definitely not actually ice--has spread and Dredd and the Meg are in for a class 5 shit storm.
But the readers are in for a treat: I would not shut up about Flint's art (he's doing pencils, inks, and colors) last time he was on Dredd, and I probably won't shut up this time either. Author Rob Williams has described this run of Dredd as being an opera, and has similarly praised Flint's art--particularly his colors--as being perfectly operatic for this story. I could not agree more. The penultimate page of this story is easily my favorite comic page of the week, maybe even one of my favorites of the year, and will satiate anyone from a comic art formalist to someone with a slightly worrisome thirst for violence.
Over in Helium, if you were to ask me whether or not I thought you could pull off a dogfight in a comic, I would wager that it is something not many artists could pull off at any satisfying level. You have to communicate not just motion, but that the motion is happening at great speeds. Even more importantly, you have to accurately represent the spatial relationships of different planes as they constantly swerve out of the way of each other's weapons and try to blow the other out of the sky. Frankly, it's an artist's nightmare.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that D'Israeli makes it look like no problem. Helium was a treat this week, throwing a welcome little twist in (weekly serialization really helped give the story room to breathe and made the reveal satisfying), while depicting a dogfight that is only just getting started. More generally speaking, I still can't get over how bright and jovial the color palette of this series is, even at a time like this when things are getting hairy. What's especially surprising is that the almost playful nature of the protagonists and the world they inhabit never feels out of place.
Absalom packed in some very satisfying action this week and Outlier filled in some blanks for continuing readers which also helped bring lapsed readers of the series like myself up to speed on some of the finer points of the world in which it occurs. I still haven't warmed up to Jaegir, but it's fun to look at and it's not particularly bad. I'm guessing it's the kind of series that will benefit from a contiguous read-through.