The Mighty Tharg brings you the latest chapters in the long-running British sci-fi anthology series 2000 AD. There are five chapters of various stories this issue, including the concluding chapter of the mind-bending Low Life and the latest chapter of Judge Dredd's "The Assassination List."
Like any anthology, 2000 AD is hit-or-miss. It has been a long time since the magazine was the proving ground of talents like Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, and Brian Bolland, but you are still guaranteed a selection of hard-assed sci-fi with ever issue. Being a Judge Dredd fan, I admit it is the unforgiving lawman of Mega City One that brings me back to 2000 AD, but I always find something else I like in each issue.
Of course, one of the problems of an anthology series like this is that you are jumping into the middle of several stories. Some of them are easy to follow and get hooked on right away, but some of them are just too involved and I can’t really get the gist of without the previous chapters.
Judge Dredd: "The Assassination List"
(John Wagner/Leigh Gallagher)
Prog 1761 (and yes, that is Issue #1761 for you yanks) has Part 3 of "The Assassination List," where Dredd continues the hunt for the mysterious killer forseen by the precog Cadet Hennesy. Although vague, Hennesy’s prophesies are coming true, and it is only a matter of time before the meaning behind her mysterious lists of Judge’s names comes clear. The first name on the list? Judge Dredd.
Sinister Dexter: "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"
(Dan Abnett/Anthony Williams)
A new series starts with Part 1 of Sinister Dexter's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap." Inverse ninjas, paid killers, and the End of the World all show up in this serial. It is just a little teaser, so I don’t know how I feel about it yet. Not too big a fan of the art, and the story style lifts a bit too much from Tarantino, but we will see.
Indigo Prime: "Anthropocalypse"
(John Smith/Edmund Bagwell)
Part 6 of "Anthropocalypse" continues this full-on technobabble sci-fi adventure. Spacesick Steve is living up to his name with half his body transformed by some interstellar virus. This is a tough series to get into midstream — almost like a Warren Ellis or Grant Morrison space opera with all that entails — but the art is good and the story is interesting and I am doing my best to pick up the crumbs from the trail.
Part 11 of Angel Zero, on the other hand, is new-reader friendly, with appealing art and a more straightforward storyline. I have been following Angel Zero for three episodes now, and I am enjoying it. Angel hybrids and hot girls always makes for good comics.
Low Life: "The Deal"
Part 12 concludes Low Life's "The Deal," which the introduction assures us is a fan-favorite but I have had a hard time getting into. Firmly set in Judge Dredd world, Low Life takes place in the Japan-inspired Hondo City but it is a psychedelic mind-trip rather than any recognizable storyline. The art is black-and-white with some punctuated color which works nicely, but the story is just too esoteric for me.
Zack Davisson is a freelance writer and life-long comics fan. He owned a comic shop in Seattle during the '90s, during which time he had the glorious (and unpaid) gig as pop-culture expert for NPR. He has lived in three countries, has degrees in Fine Art and Japanese Studies, and has been a contributing writer to magazines like Japanzine and Kansai Time-Out. He currently lives in Seattle, WA with his wife Miyuki. You can catch more of Zack’s reviews on his blog Japan Reviewed or read his translations of Japanese ghost stories on Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai.