The outstanding "Repo Men" arc of Strontium Dogs comes to a close, as "Undercover Klegg" takes up the reigns as the new series to watch in the Progs right now. I am really enjoying Rob Williams and D'Israeli on Dredd. "Undercorver Klegg" sets the kind of tone that needed to be set for this series after its most recent run that felt really heavy and bummerish without much of a payoff. D'Isareli's colorful, cartoonish approach is perfect for depicting the hijinx of a big goofy talking alligator. Having Judge Dredd of all characters rendered in this playful style is made especially humorous by the fact that he has to constantly deal with the walking talking cartoon that is Sensitive Klegg. Moments where Dredd is struggling with his hatred of his bubbly partner in crime feel almost like Dredd reacting to his own colorful rendering.
Kingdom's current run is nearing its end as this run continues to feel stiff to me. Something in comics that almost always bothers me is the use of page-width stacked panels. Kingdom makes heavy use of this on the majority of its pages, and maybe it is a matter of taste, but it really does bug me. It makes the action feel stilted when I constantly am making only one motion downward with my eyes and not moving through the page in a way that feels more natural. It almost feels like an attempt at the cinematic, but rarely comes off that way because different story beats demand different frames that would benefit from being arranged, well, differently. Several of this type of panel are actually really successful in this chapter; but, they're crammed between other examples that I don't think work as well.
ABC Warriors continues to display its obsession with being absurdly humorous in some of the driest, most British ways possible. More than that, though, artist Clint Langley is displaying interesting ways to juxtapose different elements of digital art to increase the effectiveness of each element in tandem. For instance, when a human shows up in this week's issue, she appears to be on the verge of photo-realistic, stripped down in detail only slightly to fit the sort of black and white aesthetic of the page on which she appears. That might appear jarring to see in a comic, and such effects are often deployed intentionally for that very reason. Here, however, when one of Langley's intricately detailed robots shows up and has a conversation with her, the effect is balanced out: it drags the robot into visually seeming to be more realistic than just a digitally rendered animation, which simultaneously softens the impact of seeing a human so realistically slapped into an artificial world on a page. Panels in which human and robot appear together set the tone, but that type of balancing effect spills over onto other pages.
Though The Order puts in its most exciting and visually stunning chapter of this particular run, I'm afraid the ship has sort of sailed on the series for me, at least for right now. Much of what made the final battle appealing in The Order's first run was the character work and the novelty not just to the reader but to the main character of the situations being presented. The battle with the Wyrmqueen in this installment feels far more routine than it ought to, and the reader is going to be left with even more of the feeling that they have missed something: an ongoing theme throughout reading this part of the series. Still, it's hard to be mad at Burns' artwork, which is as praiseworthy as ever.
Strontium Dog's excellent "Repo Men" arc comes to a close, and there just aren't enough words in English for me to continue to praise Ezquerra, especially in terms of how he draws things like ships and robots.
2000 AD - Prog 1971 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Rebellion Price: £2.55 Print / £1.99 Digital Format: Print/Digital Website