Helium's run crashes to a halt as we get a new 3riller and Grey Area makes its return. Helium started out great, but as the initial run on the series comes to an abrupt halt, I can't help but think that the world-building was just over-ambitious enough with the space allotted to make the world feel a bit fragmented. Each race of people we met, we got a few pages, and then launched into an interaction with those people. But it really feels like half of this series happened in a jail cell between the two times the main characters were holed up in a prison, first as guards, then as prisoners.
That's unfortunate. The reader is barely acquainted with characters outside of the main cast and, with the way the first run ended, it looks like the main cast will be off the map for at least a little while. Yet that means I will have no familiar frame of reference if we have to focus on any other characters after the fact! That's not completely unacceptable, but it is at least one shaky consequence of how consistently claustrophobic this series felt.
The newest of Tharg's 3rillers is "Apocalypse Anonymous" with story by Robert Murphy, lines by Sean O'Connor, and colors from Abigail Ryder. O'Connor and Ryder are a killer team; in tandem, they each amplify the other's strengths and give this comic a unified, gritty feel. O'Connor's inks create textures that are unnaturally cluttered, but Ryder's colors are well-defined without being overwhelming. I really dig the aesthetic of this comic, but it's always hard to gauge the quality of a 3riller from the first chapter.
Sometimes, 3rillers go on to be full-blown series. In those cases, the initial three-issue run only has one job: to have at least one big feature onto which readers will latch. If you can do it in three issues, you can almost certainly have success with a longer run. If you read this issue, as I've already pointed out, you'll be immediately taken by the team of artists. There's nothing wrong with the writing, and there's a fair amount of character work thrown in: it just feels a tad hurried, but that's to be expected.
They're probably finally getting out of that damn jail in Grey Area and Harrison's art is as unique (and awesome) as ever. The Alienist still hasn't grabbed me, but I'm interested in where it goes.
Oh, and Dredd was fucking incredible. Just assume that the latter proposition is true whenever Williams and Flint are on this title.
2000 AD – Prog 1945 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: 2000 AD Price: £1.99 (Digital) £2.49 Release Date: 8/26/2015 Format: Weekly; Print/Digital