The big Spring relaunch kicks off in prog #1336; traditionally the last few progs leading up to these quarterly springboards are dedicated to mopping up a few bits of rubbish still lying around from the previous big noise, and a couple of take-em-or-leave-em one-shots to fill the space. This time around Rebellion seem to have things well in hand, thanks in no small part to installment thirteen in the Judge Dredd vs. Aliens storyline.
Written by John Wagner and Andy Diggle (presumably a Wagnerian plot with Digglian script) the short version of the story so far is Dredd has been caught by the Aliens and force-fed a face hugger, so he's currently incubating a nice little baby, ready to come out with a big John Hurt-stylie gut explosion in the last installment in two issues' time - unless Dredd can extricate himself from the Undercity, get to a medical unit, and get it zapped without killing himself in time. Normally you'd say he hasn't a chance in hell, but short of a cop-out I really hope the writers have got something special lined up for us here. So far, so excellent...
The best new strip of modern times, Caballistics Inc (a more mystic Planetary basically) concludes their second adventure which again feels like a building block to something bigger in the future. More behind the scenes stuff on each character is brought to the fore, secrets are out there and we know a few of them...one to watch for the future, certainly, and worth catching in these early stages too. Kudos to Gordon Rennie and Dom Reardon for this strip.
The VCs, by Dan Abnett and Anthony Williams, continues along with the sense that something is finally happening now. What seemed to be a set of separate one-offs over the last few weeks is slowly coalescing into a fine storyline - about bloody time too, as the early installments were just boring. This one references previous stories effectively, though - mind you, if you haven't read them, it's pretty meaningless. One for long-time readers or trade collection for best effect.
Speaking of boring, that unfortunately applies to Tales of Telguuth - a collection of what used to be known as Future Shocks in a world where demons and humans co-exist. This one is very run-of-the-mill; the beautiful daughter of a demonist is being terrorised by a demon...oh, and what a surprise, her dad is in on it. Nice art, though.
And so to Atavar II by Dan Abnett and Richard Elson, a story which has been getting better by the week and it's therefore unfortunate it will be over in a couple of issues' time. The human race is dead, killed by a computer program they created, UOS...alien races are fighting against it, when into the mix comes a cloned human, effectively the last of the race, and the titular Atavar. At last the aliens look like "real" aliens rather than the usual Star Trek cliche of humans with silly ears...strangely enough it takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get your head around it, the art is attractive and imaginative.
Overall then, four hits out of five series, a very good result for a grab bag anthology series...
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