Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Top Ten 2000AD Covers in 2013

In the first edition of what I hope will become an annual tradition, Pop Culture Bandit is going to take a look at the different Prog covers that were published during 2013 in an attempt to determine our 'Top Ten 2000AD Covers' for the year. Obviously, this is entirely subjective to me, so if you want to include your own list, please use the comment box below. For reference, the first Prog of the year was Prog 1813 and the various covers can be found at Barney – the unofficial 2000AD database.


10) 2000AD Prog 1827 by Nick Percival

Out of all the covers on this Top Ten list, this might be the bravest one of the bunch due to the level of gore present, thanks to unpleasant visual of Shelley's headless stump. I quite like the dynamic look of the image with the two C3PO-esque robots being crushed underneath Shelley's hulking arms and the fully-painted artistic style makes it look strikingly different from the interior artwork of the Dandridge strip. I can see this definitely appealing to customers on the newsagents shelves, thanks to the eye-catching image and the slight resemblance to Star Wars.


9) 2000AD Prog 1853 by Dave Kendall

The mark of a great piece of cover art is when you wish that the interior artwork was drawn by that guest artist, as is the case here with this fantastic fully-painted image of Gorehead by Dave Kendall, which not only adds a sense of colour to the dinosaur missing from the black and white interior, but manages to convey the scaly, lizard texture to the creature's skin. I would love to see Dave Kendall get a chance to do a short storyline on Flesh, perhaps a Gorehead flashback episode?


8) 2000AD Prog 1833 by Glenn Fabry

The third fully-painted cover in the Top Ten, this cover features the triumphant return of Glenn Fabry to the pages of 2000AD since 2001 with a lovely poster-worthy cover showcasing Judge Anderson. I am a big fan of Fabry's covers from the Preacher series and his painted work still looks amazing here. Okay, so his Anderson does look a bit ginger and it looks like she has a black eye, but it's still a cracking piece of artwork.


7) 2000AD Prog 1852 by INJ Culbard

For his first two covers for 2000AD, INJ Culbard has used a POV technique showcasing the action from the eyes of the character's giving his artwork a unique look amongst that of other artists, as well as setting up a potential theme for his future Brass Sun covers. I prefer this cover over his second, due to the more disorientating nature of it, as it takes a few seconds to register that the viewpoint is coming from the side of a building looking down at the ground, plus the impending danger from the Scythe robot is much more interesting than the pirate airship.


6) 2000AD Prog 1854 by Cliff Robinson & Dylan Teague

This is a great example of a front cover that celebrates the magazine as a whole, and would have been a fantastic fit for Prog 1850 or the end of year annual. It's chocked full of references to the magazine's long history, in fact, there's so many Easter Eggs that it becomes a game, in itself, to correct identify them all. It's a really great job by Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague and I love the whole design and punk atmosphere to the artwork, which truly sums up the comic in a nutshell.


5) 2000AD Prog 1815 by Darren Douglas

This wraparound cover by newcomer, Darren Douglas, looks great and I love the use of colours and the neon lights of the background. It’s well worth checking out the behind-the-scenes information from the 2000AD Covers Uncovered blog to see how much work when into the piece and more details about Douglas’ background as video game designer. Obviously, someone in the Nerve Centre also liked this piece as it re-appears as the cover art for the Judge Dredd eBook, ‘The Cold Light of Day’. I look forward to seeing some more covers and interior work from the Douglas droid during 2014.


4) 2000AD Prog 1843 by Carl Critchlow

When I initially caught sight of this cover, I instantly knew it would be on my Top Ten list. The use of colours, co-ordinated with the logo, is fantastic with a really evocative dark blue symbolising the depths of the ocean as the purple tentacles of the underwater terror lurches out at Dredd. The story that the cover is representing was one of the more interesting Judge Dredd’s of 2013, featuring Dredd and a team of Judges heading down to the sunken Luna-2 in order to dispatch a nuclear threat to the city. Putting Dredd in an underwater location gave the story a ‘fish out of water’ atmosphere…or technically, 'fish in water', I suppose.


3) 2000AD Prog 1830 by Boo Cook

I absolutely adore this cover, not only for the nostalgia values that it generates from its mock 70s-era 2000AD logo and design, but it is also a sterling example of Boo Cook’s stunning artwork. The concept of the Gunheadz storyline, of a classic 70's military comic turning out to be based on a real scientific experiment, was the perfect reason for this throwback to the old-school cover design, making the Prog stand out from the shelves and playing with the format in a way that also adds another level of meta-commentary to the story itself.


2) 2000AD Prog 1819 by James Harren

I actually begun my weekly reviews of 2000AD with Prog 1824, so I’m unfamiliar with the contents behind this particular cover, but when researching the years’ worth of Progs, this image stood out and begged to be featured on the list. I have no clue whether the cover reflects the artistic style of the story in any way, but the stunning visual of Dredd literally navigating the mindscape of a Perp leaps off the page, making me want to track down this Prog to read the story. James Harren is another newcomer to the Prog, making his cover and interior debut with this Judge Dredd tale, and I hope to see more from him this year.


1) 2000AD Prog 1836 by Leigh Gallagher

Drum roll, please…and the best 2000AD Cover for 2013 goes to this delightfully stylish Defoe cover by Leigh Gallagher, which HAS to be the cover to the next graphic novel collection of the series. I love the use of the Zombie silhouette to frame the secondary image of Defoe and his group of Reek Hunters, utilising a mix of blood red and black inks that captures the mood and essence of the series in one perfect image. It is easily the most impressive piece of artwork I've seen throughout the year, and I'd love to have a poster of it, or even a t-shirt.




So, what do you think? Do you disagree with my Top Ten? Is there a cover that you think was spectacular and should be included in the list, or do you think one of my favourites is way below par? Feel free to post your thoughts below, via my thread on the 2000AD Forum or on my Facebook and Twitter pages

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Review - Agents of SHIELD: 1x10 - "The Bridge"

Agents of SHIELD
Episode 1x10 - "The Bridge"


Synopsis

After three men wearing Centipede devices break into a prison to free a incarcerated military tactician, SHIELD recruit the super-powered Michael Peterson to aid in their search for the escaped prisoner, but can they stay one step ahead of the mysterious organisation?

Review

For its mid-season finale, Agents of SHIELD introduced the concept of a two-parter episode, complete with cliff-hanger, and brought back plenty of plot threads that had appeared across several preceding episodes, making this the most self-referential episode so far, rewarding long-term viewers as the puzzle pieces begun to fit together. The mysterious organisation known as 'Centipede' had returned, seemingly more powerful than before, which prompted SHIELD to enlist their own super-powered hero-in-training, Michael Peterson, the first Centipede-powered experiment, who appeared in the pilot episode.

I was fairly critical of Peterson's character during his first appearance, mainly because I wanted the character to be based on an existing Marvel character, such as Luke Cage, and also because he seemed to be rather dull and two-dimensional. However, with this appearance, Petersen seemed more interesting and 'dialled down' as he was free from the negative influences originating from the cocktail of Extremis and Super-soldier serum in his blood, which caused his anger issues. I also liked the inner-angst as he felt torn between being the hero that his son would be proud of, against being a good father. I have a feeling that Petersen will not be a recurring character after this two-parter, opting to be a better father for his son instead. That's assuming he survives, of course!

As I said, this seemed to be the most self-referential episode of the series so far, establishing Centipede as being responsible for the eye implants that tormented Agent Amador (Eye Spy) who hopefully will return to the team one day, maybe taking up the rotating seventh member spot. The episode also picked up on a lot of the plot points introduced in the episode, The Girl in the Flower Dress, such as the mysterious Clairvoyant and Centipede's grand plan to use its serum to develop an army of super-soldiers, once they iron out a few flaws.

As the stakes got raised throughout the episode, I did wonder why the team didn't get the Avengers involved, besides the out-of-universe reason that the actors who play those characters would demand a massive fee for their appearance. Coulson made a point I hadn't considered during his drive with Ward, the world still thinks he is dead outside of SHIELD, including the Avengers, so it would raise distrust in SHIELD if they were called in to assist the man whose death was used to unite them. Still, it did seem poor tactical planning for SHIELD to attempt to subdue three super-powered enemies with one single super-powered hero.

Ward and May's secret romance continued to generate some interesting developments with May berating him for letting his feelings get in the way of his job, but ironically doing the same herself when she almost blabbed the secret of Skye's parents at her after Ward made it clear that there were no feelings involved in his decision. After Ward's injury at the end of this episode, I suspect we may see more complications from this romance and May's feelings for him when the series returns.

Moreso than previous episodes, there was a greater sense of mystery, particularly surrounding the identity of the Clairvoyant, allowing viewers to generate theories. I think that SHIELD's assumption that Edison Po was kidnapped for his tactical skills is a misdirection on the part of the writers and that he is actually the Clairvoyant, but rather than being aware of it, it is either a second personality or some kind of transformation takes place. Personally, I have the theory that he has some kind of Quatto-esque creature living in his chest, like in Total Recall. The conversation between Po and Raina in the car seemed to suggest this, with Po's over-protective nature about people meeting the Clairvoyant and the fact he appears to be the only one to have contact with him.

One thing about the Clairvoyant I noticed was Coulson's statement that psychics are a myth and do not exist – this seemed similar to the team's approach to telekinesis last episode, which makes me wonder if this is a concerted effort from the writing team to avoid having any characters with traditionally 'mutant-based' powers, possibly due to the fact that Twentieth Century Fox own the cinematic rights to the X-Men franchise. It just seems odd that they would categorically eliminate that particular power-set from the series, although who knows, perhaps the Clairvoyant will be the first psychic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

This episode felt somewhat slow-paced, serving to re-introduce Peterson and Centipede, whilst acting as set-up for the final scene where Peterson led Coulson into a trap and the Agent was kidnapped by Raina and Centipede, but the first part of two-parters often have a slower pace than the second. I really enjoyed the cliff-hanger as things started to go wrong with Ward and Peterson seemingly dead, as Coulson is kidnapped and Raina states that they are going to find out 'what happened the day after you died'. Finally, it looks like we might get a definitive idea of what the deal is with Coulson, either that, or Centipede will find out about the back-massage he received in Tahiti.

Score - 8.9 out of 10


Easter Eggs/References
  • Skye is still looking for the SHIELD agent who dropped her off at the orphanage using the information Coulson provided her (The Hub)
  • Scorch's platelets appear to have solved the combustion problem with the Extremis cocktail in Centipede's implants (The Girl in the Flower Dress)
  • Michael Peterson, the original Centipede experiment, joins the team (Pilot)
  • "The Clairvoyant doesn't like to be touched" (The Girl in the Flower Dress)
  • One of the Centipede Soldiers is killed by the same "Kill Switch" implanted in Agent Amador (Eye Spy)

Mysteries
  • As Skye continues to search for answers about her parents – what is the secret that Coulson and May are keeping from her?
  • Who is the Clairvoyant, and which man did they want him to locate? Coulson?
  • Who is the money behind the Centipede organisation?
  • If Centipede was behind the Agent Amador's mission – what was that writing on the wall Ward found when he undertook it for her?
  • Are Ward and Peterson dead?
  • Centipede wants Coulson to tell them about the day after he died – this will probably involve some kind of hypnosis since he doesn't appear to be aware of the truth himself

Next Episode - "The Magical Place"
Coulson uncovers vital information about the mystery of his death, but, with Centipede out for blood, this knowledge may come at the cost of one of the team

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

2000AD Prog 2014 [Annual]

Prog 2014 Cover by Ben Willsher

As with previous Annuals, the cover features Tharg the Mighty and a selection of the more iconic characters, this time bursting forth from his rosette of Sirius. His appearance on the cover is more apt this year as he features in an eight-page story within. I liked the painted style of the cover, but I do feel it is missing some 'oomph' for an end of year Prog.


JUDGE DREDD - THE RIGHT THING
Script - Michael Carroll
Art - Leigh Gallagher
Colours - Chris Blythe
Letters - Annie Parkhouse

In a festive storyline which ushers in the year 2130, Michael Carroll crafts a fun tale filled with the dark humour and the bleak nihilism that is often present during Christmas time in Mega City One - it's worse than EastEnders! Using the familiar trope of 'a citizen misunderstood by the law', Carroll weaves a story around a well-meaning citizen attempting to return stolen money to his local church, only to land himself and the nuns of his church in trouble.

Isn't that bottom Nun a man? Is this a subtle Nuns on the Run reference?

I liked the visual jokes of the various New Year floats such as 'No Opinion', the float that relied on a Citizen survey to name it, and Leigh Gallagher's artwork looked great in colour, after my only experience of his artwork coming from his black & white work on Defoe. I also liked the misdirection at the beginning with the thieves cutting away the wire fence, with the expectation of a big haul, only to reveal that the wire fence itself was the haul. Overall, it was a nice little festive story that didn't overdose on the Christmas theme and welcomed readers to another year in the Big Meg.



ULYSSES SWEET, MANIAC FOR HIRE - CENTRED (Part 1)
Script - Guy Adams
Art - Paul Marshall
Greytones - Chris Blythe
Letters - Ellie de Ville

Being unfamiliar with the original run of Ulysses Sweet from Grant Morrison from Prog 507 – 509, I am unsure how much the character has changed from those appearances, but he does appear to be rather reminiscent of Deadpool from Marvel Comics, with the multiple and conflicting narration boxes being the most obvious comparison, alongside his scared face and unpredictable behaviour. The concept of Psyche-chip is a great one, providing Ulysses with an additional "person" to play off against, somewhat similar to Nikolai Dante's crest.


I really enjoyed the set-up, which managed to explain the status-quo without requiring background knowledge of the character's earlier appearances. The script felt reminiscent of Al Ewing and his work on Zombo, but I was surprised to find it was written by 2000AD newcomer and novelist, Guy Adams, who manages to tell a fun and wacky storyline that I look forward to seeing more of in the upcoming Progs. The artwork by Paul Marshall is great, managing to tell the story clearly and suiting the greytone styles of Chris Blythe.



THE TEN-SECONDERS - HARRIS'S QUEST FOR THE PERFECT XMAS PINT
Script - Rob Williams
Art - Edmund Bagwell
Letters - Simon Bowland

I really enjoyed the final run of The Ten Seconders when it appeared in the Prog earlier in the year with the cataclysmic events adding a genuine feel of tension to the series' conclusion, although I felt that it did end somewhat abruptly for one cast-member, the Welshman, Harris, who was left abandoned a seemingly empty space-craft. This Christmas special epilogue addresses that particular plot point whilst giving readers a sense of what the future holds for the rest of the Earth after the moon was crushed against the side of the Father's ship.


Edmund Bagwell's artwork is amazing, with the best artist's rendition of a pint of beer and pork scratchings that I've ever seen committed to paper and Rob William's post script to the series combines the same sense of humour that Harris represented with a slight sense of danger as the deadly Arachne stalks its human prey across the ship. While we might not see any more episodes of The Ten Seconders in the future, this epilogue worked perfectly as the final send-off to the series giving it a better sense of closure than its original ending did



THE A.B.C. WARRIORS - RETURN TO MARS (Part 1)
Script - Pat Mills
Art - Clint Langley
Letters - Annie Parkhouse

I have recently finished reading the first run of The A.B.C. Warriors, which is lucky as this opening episode would have probably gone over my head completely otherwise. It appears as if Pat Mills is revisiting plot threads from the early days of the series, such as how Happy Shrapnel originally ended up in Hammerstein's A.B.C. Warriors unit, which is a nice throwback to long-term readers and creates a sense of nostalgia, but might be a bit harder for new readers to understand.

I really enjoy Clint Langley's computer-generated artwork on The A.B.C Warriors as it suits the mechanical nature of the characters, although I feel that sometimes the backgrounds can overwhelm the foregrounds, as is the case here with the fogginess and lack of clear panel lines. I am looking forward to reading more, but am cautiously expecting to be thrown completely out of my depth when it begins to become too continuity-heavy and self-referential.



SINISTER DEXTER: THE GENERICAN DREAM - ROOM ONLY
Script - Dan Abnett
Art - PJ Holden
Colours - Dylan Teague
Letters - Ellie de Ville

Sinister Dexter returns with a storyline that ties up one of the loose ends from its last run of stories: Uncle Vanya, who I'd actually forgotten all about until he appeared, so that was good. Acting as a bridge between the last batch of episodes and the upcoming stories in Spring, this double-sized story gave us a glimpse of the four fugitives as they endeavoured to discover more about Tannenbaum.

I wasn't sure about PJ Holden's artwork initially, having been used to Simon Davis' iconic look for the Gunshark duo, and it doesn't quite feel like Sinister Dexter whenever a different artist takes the reins, although John Burns' approach earlier in the year did manage to capture some of the spirit of Davis' artwork, especially with Sinister. As for PJ Holden's work, it does the job well and manages to tell the story with a nifty action sequence between Sinister and Vanya, but for an extended run, I'd prefer to leave art duties in the hands of Simon Davis.



ABSALOM - OLD PALS' ACT
Script - Gordon Rennie
Art - Tiernen Trevallion
Letters - Simon Bowland

As with Sinister Dexter, this felt like a check-in with the series to refresh the reader's memories of the status-quo before the series returns proper, which is precisely what these end-of-year Progs should be for. This is my first real exposure to Absalom and it feels reminiscent of Caballistics Inc (another Gordon Rennie series) mixed with Life on Mars, although that might be due to the flashbacks in this particular story.

I understood the story on a basic level, it appears that Absalom is planning a journey into hell, or a similar dimension, and requires the assistance of his former 'guvnor', in order to rescue his grand-kids, although I must admit the final sequence of panels showing him relaying his assurances to his daughter, which was revealed to be the talking clock did have me scratching my head as to whether he can be trusted. I like the premise of the 'old-school' copper routine mixed with demons and supernatural elements, so this looks to be a fun read when the series returns during the year.



GREY AREA - SOMETHING TO DECLARE
Script - Dan Abnett
Art - Patrick Goddard
Colours - Abigail Ryder
Letters - Ellie de Ville

Despite its status as a returning series, this episode of Grey Area felt like a introduction using the POV of a visiting alien experiencing Planet Earth's border control first-hand. As a new reader to this particular series, I found it very accessible and easy to follow, which I hope continues when the series returns in Prog 1863

It felt somewhat like a self-contained Future Shock in some aspects, so I do wonder how much mileage a full series set in an alien border control could generate, but I look forward to seeing more of this, even if it does remind me of the accusatory stares and questions I received when I travelled through America's borders! However, I did manage to avoid a full cavity-search, unlike the unfortunate alien in this story!



THARG THE MIGHTY - BUILDING A BETTER COMIC
Script - T.M.O
Art - Anthony Williams
Letters - Annie Parkhouse

2000AD has long used the character of Tharg and his various art or script droids to represent the production of the comic within the Nerve Centre in Oxford. The Droid Life strip by Cat Sullivan often references this inner sanctum, but this is the first time in a while that Tharg, himself, has taken centre-stage in a solo-story.


This fun, one-shot harkens back to the past when Tharg regularly interacted with the readership through comic strips in addition to his Nerve Centre intros, but the contents of this particular story seemed at odds with its nostalgic approach, with at least three references to sexual acts and masturbation. Now, I'm not a prude, but I was slightly surprised at the number of double-entrendres in this story and wondered whether the older stories were as crude and whether my innocent pre-teen brain just glossed over the references at the time. It does make me wonder if an adolescent would be able to read this today without asking their parents awkward questions about "Happy Endings". Overall, it was a bit of fun, which maybe went a little too 'Viz magazine' in places, but I think it was better served in the annual, rather than taking up a valuable slot in a regular sized Prog.



STRONTIUM DOG: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JOHNNY ALPHA - DOGS OF WAR (Part 1)
Script - John Wagner
Art - Carlos Ezquerra
Letters - Simon Bowland

Having dipped in and out of 2000AD since the beginning of 'The Life and Death of Johnny Alpha' storyline, I am aware that Johnny is back from the dead, following the events of 'The Final Solution' and that the current stories now take place after the Strontium Dogs adventures of the late nineties, but I am a little vague on the exact set-up with Johnny and the army of Strontium Dog agents waging a war against the Norms.

Carlos Ezquerra's work continues to be fabulous, cementing his position as the definitive artist for the series, which looks better in colour than the classic black and white days on the series. The script by John Wagner seems epic in its telling, with some interesting sub-plots such as the darker turn that Johnny Alpha has taken since his return from the grave. While I am unfamiliar with some of the subtleties of the story, I really like the direction it seems to be moving in, with actual progress to the lore of the Strontium Dog universe, rather than the “unseen” tales that previously appeared after the character's death. Part of me does long for the more simplistic 'bounty hunter' cases, though, which will hopefully return once this epic storyline is resolved.



OVERALL THOUGHTS / NEXT WEEK:

Oddly, Grey Area skips a week with a Future Shock standing in its place next Prog, but besides that, we have a new Judge Dredd thriller from Rob Williams and Henry Flint, which appears to be the longer storyline that he teased during our interview a few months back. Going by the preview cover on the back page, it looks like Dredd and a crack-team of Judges will be heading to the Titan penal colony, possibly to quell a riot? Any story which puts our favourite law-man in unfamiliar surroundings always appeals to me and I look forward to seeing it in the New Year!


The physical edition of 2000AD Prog 2014 will be available in stores on Wednesday 11th December - Digital copies of this Prog will be available on the same day through the 2000AD app, which can be downloaded onto iOS devices from here.

Keep checking back each week for more reviews and features about 2000AD, the Galaxy's Greatest Comic! Remember to leave your comments below, or contact me on Twitter or through my Facebook page!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

2000AD Prog 1861

Prog 1861 Cover by Henry Flint

It took me a while to realise that this was another Flesh cover, considering the lack of dinosaurs. It's quite distinctive, even though it feels more like a generic 'Thrill Power Warning' cover than a Flesh one. It would definitely stand out from the shelves, potentially drawing in new readers, although they might be better off with Prog 2014, since this Prog features the conclusions to all four stories.


JUDGE DREDD - FERALS (Part 4)
Script - Emma Beeby
Art - John Burns
Letters - Annie Parkhouse

Dredd manages to locate Tilly and uses her to calm down the vengeful Roman enough to get the Eldster Doctor in custody, resulting in a stand-off between Dredd and the angry Psi-Cadet as he hovers bricks and debris above the Judge whilst he hears his ‘sentencing’. There’s a great one-liner by Dredd once Roman relaxes his telekinetic hold over the debris, deciding not to pursue his attack, when he says ‘Take that to mean that you’re not going to appeal?’

Dredd wasn't above giving a Juve a clip around the ear when the occasion arose

I expressed some concern last week as to whether the ending would be able to strike the balance of giving the Juves a happy ending and serving Dredd’s character realistically. I’m glad to say that the ending that Emma Beeby manages to hit the right notes, with Dredd devising a solution to the situation which benefits the Juves without betraying his role in upholding the law. This was a nice four-part debut outing for Emma Beeby, ably capturing the mood and attitude of the lead character and writing a nice little story tied into established continuity, and I look forward to seeing more solo outings from her.



DAMNATION STATION - AFTER LOSING EVERY BATTLE
Script - Al Ewing
Art - Mark Harrison
Letters - Simon Bowland

Oh, okay, so Tura didn't die in the last episode, as I'd assumed - I guess she was heeding Joe Nowhere's advice about emptying her lungs before releasing herself into the vacuum and somehow ended up rescued, which wasn't at all clear last week through both the images and dialogue. I was under the impression she'd either died, or was another comatose 'casualty' of the war. Besides that minor nitpick, this episode managed to tie up all of the loose ends and still deal a cruel last-minute surprise in the final moments.


There was some nice reveals, such as what happened to Grayle, with Joe absorbing his sole recurring memory of grief causing a poison effect once the Host attempted to feast on Joe. Little clues had been dropped over the course of the last few episodes, but I'd missed them, so it was satisfying to see them all come together here. Not content with a relatively neat ending, Al Ewing throws one last curve-ball in there with Tura's shocking end, which serves to highlight the randomness of the universe, with Joe Nowhere's sacrifice lost in the sands of time. Overall, this was an interesting series with a unique take on the traditional space-war genre, but it's not one that I will likely re-read or pick up in a collected edition.



FLESH - BADLANDERS (Part 12)
Script - Pat Mills
Art - James McKay
Inks - Lee Townsend
Letters - Annie Parkhouse

After the surprise of both Gorehead and McG’s storylines coming to a close, we see the consequences of Angry Planet’s plan, as the new President, General Butler, reveals his allegiances and demands an end to Trans Time’s Flesh harvesting, causing political discord. The storyline seems to shift back to Claw Carver and Earl Reagan, suggesting that the original Flesh characters will retake the limelight for the next series, as seeds are sown for potential storylines that will take fruit when the series returns, such as the inevitable comeuppance for the murderous Pastor, a confrontation between Claw and Vegas and the continued rodeo to Texas.

I’m still not entirely convinced that Gorehead’s story is over, since Flesh has always worked best with an iconic dinosaur at its helm, such as Old One Eye and Big Hungry, so perhaps this diversion onto the stories of Claw Carver and Earl Reagan is misdirection until Gorehead triumphfully returns, bursting out of the quicksand with the chewed up remains of McG hanging from his mouth. Well, a guy can dream…



BRASS SUN - THE DIAMOND AGE (Part 12)
Script - Ian Edginton
Art - INJ Culbard
Letters - Ellie de Ville

As expected, this concluding episode of Book Two of Brass Sun sets up the status quo for the next chapter, introducing a fourth main character to the team and adding a more aerial dynamic to future stories, with the addition of the Nominal Charge, Ariel’s airship. With Book Three titled ‘Floating Worlds’, it looks like we’re going to see a lot more of the skies, and possibly more amazingly realised new worlds.


It was nice to see Ramkin prove his worth and using his sneakiness to convince Ariel to bring them along with her, by pretending to be treasure hunters and appealing to her inner greed, and I am looking forward to seeing what the additional of a new recurring character will bring to the team, especially an ‘outsider’ as it were.

I really look forward to seeing this series develop, and even though there have been complaints of a slow pace, I think this has the potential to be one of the more iconic series of 2000AD’s recent history, possibly rivalling Nikolai Dante in my affections. The amazing art by INJ Culbard and imaginative locations and inhabitants of Ian Edginton combine wonderfully to craft an immersive world that leaps off the page, and I look forward to reading a collected edition soon!



OVERALL THOUGHTS / NEXT WEEK:

It's always a bittersweet event when the current line-up of thrills end; having to say goodbye to story-lines that might not reappear for a year, but eagerly awaiting the next group of stories that haven't been seen for a while. Tharg's Nerve Centre gives us a full listing for the Thrills we can expect in the end of year special, Prog 2014. The recurring series line-up will be: ABC Warriors, Strontium Dog and Ulysses Sweet, with one-off adventures for Sinister Dexter, The Ten Seconders, Grey Area and Absalom, rounded off by a twelve-pager Judge Dredd by Michael Carroll and Leigh Gallagher. All in all, it seems like a nice selection of stories with a strong line-up continuing into the new year.


The physical edition of 2000AD Prog 1861 will be available in stores on Wednesday 4th December - Digital copies of this Prog will be available on the same day through the 2000AD app, which can be downloaded onto iOS devices from here.

Keep checking back each week for more reviews and features about 2000AD, the Galaxy's Greatest Comic! Remember to leave your comments below, or contact me on Twitter or through my Facebook page!
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