ADVANCE REVIEW! 2000 AD Prog 1806 will come out Wednesday, October 24, 2012.
Five stories in 2000 AD this month! One of them, Ian Edginton and I.N.J. Culbard's Brass Sun: The Wheel of Worlds is currently on part seven of its long-term storyline, so for the time being I'll leave that be. This leaves us with four stories this week to write about, including a pair of brilliant black and white detective stories which are absolutely crazed.
Prog 1806 of 2000 AD starts with "Judge Dredd: The Cold Deck," by Dredd regulars Al Ewing and Henry Flint. For weeks now 2000 AD have been suggesting that something big is going to happen to Dredd soon, but continue on with a series of smaller-scale stories building up the tension. This is a simple one-and-done crime bust story, in which Dredd and his current sidekick question a police informant and take down a pair of gangsters. It's a simple story, but told well by Ewing and with a sharp sense of humour from both the creative team. Ewing and Flint both know the world of Dredd inside-out, allowing for a nice, fun one-shot which still trails breadcrumbs for whatever future catastrophe 2000 AD have in mind for their lawman.
Simon Spurrier and Simon Coleby team up for the second part of a storyline which sees the return of The Simping Detective — a private eye who dresses as a clown, drinks too much, and trusts all the wrong women — with predictably fun results. Spurrier's work is more restrained here than seen elsewhere, with a noir tone which works precisely because the utter nonsense of the story is presented without a single arched eyebrow. This is the strange world that the Simping Detective lives in, and Spurrier would thank us not to get too confused by it all, if that's alright. Coleby's art works well with the tone, establishing characters without giving us a sense of place — deliberately so in this case, as the story is stronger from keeping the readers a few steps behind the narrative.
ABC Warriors continues a fairly long story, but seems to be wrapping things up. This has been a slightly pedestrian story, in all fairness, which hasn't offered too many surprises. Clint Langley seems to be enjoying the opportunity to draw giant war robots, but the narrative hasn't gripped strongly, and the piece falls out of the spotlight when compared to the rest of the issue. It's nice to have some action and a change of pace, but ABC Warriors is perhaps now ready to be concluded soon.
The issue ends with Lowlife, the second part of a sci-fi detective story from Rob Williams (in full-on crazy mode) and D'Israeli. D'Israeli's art, cartoonish and blown up, exaggerated in order to maximise the bouncy script from Williams, is a joy. Perhaps best suited to sci-fi and fantasy stories, D'Israeli here makes full use of the opportunity to experiment with angle and character, with some great design work and interesting narrative decisions. A section exploring the origin of the villain, for example, is set out as a logical horizontal progression across three panels, but done with just enough slight variation that the joke Williams is making smacks home with more force than if anybody else had drawn it. Williams, too, is on fine form here, with some really entertaining touches in the script which makes for a very funny comic.
A good week for 2000 AD!
Steve Morris is the head and indeed only writer for Comics Vanguard, the internet's 139th most-favorite comic-book website. You can find him on Twitter at @stevewmorris, which is mostly nonsensical gibberish you may enjoy or despise. His favorite Marvel character is Darkstar, while his favorite DC character is, also, Darkstar. He's on Team X-Men, you guys.