... holy crap Henry Flint and Rob Williams are doing fantastic work on Dredd. "Enceladus: Old Life" has been consistently awesome, but if you want to take a peek at short-form, episodic storytelling at its finest in the comics medium, I think the best single example of that so far in this series occurs this week. It's not just about how much happens in seven pages, but, more importantly, how that stuff happens in seven pages. At a nice, steady pace, seven pages in a story, even with this much excitement, can be presented in a way that is visually dull. It's pretty easy, actually, and I see it all too often: familiar page layouts recycled again and again.
Not in this series. Every single layout Flint puts together is for a reason and the often disheveled qualities of these layouts pair perfectly with the steadily developing chaos that Williams is building with this story. Add in a lovely little flashback sequence which is elevated by D'Israeli drawing the panels in a contrasting, black-and-white style, and you have a very special chapter of Dredd. I will continue ranting about this arc long after it's finished.
I believe I compared Helium to The Spire once before, but the parallels keep getting stronger both in story content and quality of its presentation. Both series are set in societies that are oases juxtaposed with less-fortunate societies on their outskirts. Both feature female leads who hold positions as police in the main city despite being outcasts from the races beyond the walls. Both feature stellar artists, lively color work, and feature a level of world-buildery a notch above their contemporaries. Pretty interesting.
In any case, Helium lacks the space to build a world quite as expansive as The Spire, but this is where the comparison breaks down, since Helium deserves nothing but praise for the amount of familiarity it has managed to lend to such a new world in such a short span of time. This week, in just a single chapter, this series has managed to communicate the nature and gravity of the situation without moving the characters more than a few feet.
This week also contained a Future Shock and it was a wild one. I'm having trouble deciding exactly how deep the concepts are in this one, but with visuals from John Higgins, it's a unique experience. I will definitely be on the lookout for more of writer Sally Jane Hurst because even though it wasn't a shock per se it's a gorgeously rendered little story with a focused style that likes to marinate in your gray matter long after you read it.
2000 AD – Prog 1943 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: 2000 AD Price: £1.99 (Digital) £2.49 Release Date: 8/12/2015 Format: Weekly; Print/Digital