The good bumper old end of year Prog is finally here so I thought I’d review it. To give an indication of how I feel about each strip, I thought I’d compare them to a Christmas song. Onward Dasher!
Cover: As Rich said previously, it’s very much like an old annual cover, aging it would have been a touch of genius! It’s an exciting enough image, well drawn, a little Kirby-esque and has most of the main players on it. For a festive, end of year prog, however, I’d like to have seen more Christmassy image, still, I likes it!
Christmas song it’s most like: Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas: a classic mixture with highs and lows!
Droid life: I really enjoy Cat Sullivan’s Droid Life. This one was pretty good, though I’d have liked to have seen more of the ABC Warriors Great Turkey Breakout, it looked great!
Christmas song it’s most like: The Waitresses – Christmas Wrapping. Quirky and a little bit nuts!
Dredd: The story was serviceable enough, though again, I would like to have seen a more standalone Christmas tale. I wondered if there was going to be a bonus one-and-done Dredd at the back of the prog to make up for this, but sadly that wasn’t the case.
I’ve made my feelings about the general direction of Dredd over the last couple of years known elsewhere. I’m keen to see him getting back to some actual policing of MegaCity One as opposed to being some kind of global super soldier. Still, I quite enjoyed this episode and, I must admit, that last page did give me chills! Of course, Colin MacNeil’s artwork was beautiful; the sparse nature of the environment suiting his pared down style perfectly. However, much like ‘Every Empire Falls’ some of the lesser characters suffered a little bit from ambiguity due to Colin’s deceptively simplistic style. Still, that ending, pheeeeew! I don’t want to say anymore as I don’t want to spoil this for anyone!
Christmas song it’s most like: John and Yoko: Happy Christmas (War is Over): Legendary performers, some quibbles in the execution.
Brass Sun: I enjoyed what I was reading and, as ever, the art was an absolute treat, but I fear since the last book I am a little bit lost off/confused by Brass Sun. This certainly made me want to go back and have a festive re-read however.
Christmas song it’s most like: Chris De Burgh – A Spaceman Came Travelling. WTF is going on?
Savage: I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy Patrick Goddard’s artwork. He truly is one of 2000 AD‘s greatest artists. This episode really showcased his diverse skill set – we got beautiful architecture, great characterisation, cinematic dialogue scenes on the train and some awesome robots and action sequences. The script was mainly cool too, although they lack subtlety, I tend to agree with most of Pat’s rants so I don’t mind him being preachy. I really like the tense relationship between Savage and Volodina, I’m interested to see how it pans out. Great stuff!
Christmas song it’s most like: The Pogues – Fairytale of New York. Gritty, atmospheric quality!
Bad Company: I enjoyed the last story, which explored the flawed origins of the Ararat War with some good old 2000 AD political satire. I’m interested to see how this one pans out. It boasts some lovely artwork by Rufus, he and Dom Reardon are an absolute dream team, especially considering the trippy, psychedelic nature of the strip.
Christmas song it’s most like: Jonah Lewie – Stop the Cavalry: a bit indie, comes across as a bit jolly and light but with a serious anti-war message.
Deadworld: Certainly one of the highlights of the Prog for me, Kek and Kendall are very, very disturbed individuals indeed! I really liked the character of Ava and look forward to seeing the impact she makes on the main strip. There was some lovely characterisation here and it was great seeing an ex-Judge getting her mojo back. Great stuff!
Christmas song it’s most like: Carol of the Bells: Tense, chaotic and scary!
Ace Trucking Co. – Yay, a festive tale! I enjoyed this. Both the script and artwork were a lot of fun (check out the cameos on page 1!) As a parent, it reminded me of some of the “Christmasworlds” I’ve taken my own little girl to over the years, where the amount of Christmas cheer certainly varies!
Christmas song it’s most like: Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday: Fun and undeniably Christmassy!
ABC Warriors: Prog highlight for me! Clint Langley’s artwork is absolutely sublime, how on earth does he do it? I must admit, the positioning of the boy in front of Deadlock’s crotch on the first page had me raising my eyebrows a bit, however, I wonder if this was intentional, considering the dialogue and subtext of the story line. What I’ve always loved about the Warriors is the tension and infighting between the group themselves, and I reckon this one is heading for an almighty hum dinger! Oh, and I won’t spoil it, but there was one splash page near the end of the story that made me yelp with glee! Great stuff, this is the story I’m most excited to pick up in the new year.
Christmas Song it’s most like: Santa Claus is Coming to Town – He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!
Starlord: hilarious! Who da thought that Starlord was radicalising impressionable young minds back in the ‘70’s for his own bloody wars? Interesting take on Tharg and the Pacif… I mean, Dictators of Zrag too! As you would expect, Henry Flint’s artwork on this is incredible – absolutely balls to the wall crazy aliens and mayhem on every page. Wonderful!
Christmas Song it’s most like: New Song: The Christmas Shoes – Hilarious, and so, so twisted and dark!
Letters – good to see David Rees, Oskar and Feliks’ annual Lego creations, it wouldn’t be Christmas without ‘em!
Return to Oz strip – Yes! Yes! Yes!
40 Years of Thrill-Powered Memories – I love these kinds of things, they take me back to reading the Droid picks for cover of the year in the annuals on Christmas night!
Chip Off The Old Cucumber ad – Yes! Yes! Yes!
A decent enough end of year prog, with the stand outs being ABC’s and Deadworld, with Dredd, Starlord and Savage creeping up behind. The others all offered me enjoyment too. I know it’s difficult, what with reprints and the like, but I love a good Christmas story and would love to see more of them in an end of year Prog.
Christmas album it’s most like: Now That’s What I Call Christmas – Some real favourites, some that you tolerate and none that you skip!
Merry Christmas Mr Tharg, Grud bless us, everyone!