Ha, what American comic has reached the rarefied heights of 1339 issues? Fantastic Four hits #500, who cares?
The big Spring push for 2000AD is now four weeks old, so it seems like a good time to see how the current crop of strips are faring now they've had a chance to settle down, they've introduced the characters, and the stories should really be taking off.
Judge Dredd kicks off and ruins the gameplan by being part one of (presumably) a two or three part story. The big relaunch story, The Trial Of Orlok, lasted a petty two issues and can be summarised as follows - the guy had a trial, was found guilty, and executed. This issue, however, Robbie Morrison tells a tale of Dredd being called onto the scene of yet another dead Judge, who died protecting his cadet. Said cadet asked for his evaluation to continue under Dredd, as they track down the killers - fairly straightforward story, although one does suspect the cadet of being involved in the murder, given that there seemed to be no evidence other than his word of what went down. Maybe I watched too many episodes of 24.
Caballistics Inc continues to the be the best thing to hit the magazine since sliced Dredd, it's part three of the latest storyline and still a good place to jump on as it is just getting going - a dual investigation runs into nasties at both places, and we find out that a few people aren't exactly what they seem. Good word by Rennie & Reardon, this stuff needs collecting NOW.
Part three of Interceptor is really upping the stakes. Ian Edginton and Steve Pugh's story of a female medic lucking into some sort of weird weapon during a firefight at her hospital, being kidnapped by some nasty aliens looking to recover said weapon, and (this episode) finally kicking back...only to discover someone is hiding a dark secret started very slowly (and rather boringly too). Now the action has kicked in (past the first awful page) it's moving fast, and it's moving well.
The same can't be said for part four of the latest ABC Warriors storyline. This is part four of book one of the current storyline, it seems to be putting the warriors into a warzone and will ultimately feature a Magnificent Seven set of baddies to go up against, an XYZ Warriors if you like, unfortunately it's just a mess and I totally, totally hate it.
And so to the last strip - Andy Diggle's Snow/Tiger, part four. Snow is the female British secret agent, all stealth and subtlety. Tiger is the male American secret agent, all guns and bluster. So no stereotypes there, then. Get past the (so far) awful characterisation and there's a promising storyline of neo-nazism in the US - unfortunately something similar was done a few (ok, a lot) years ago in Swamp Thing, so for me reads like a bit of retread. Anyone without those issues should love it - the action is suitably bombastic whilst remaining crystal clear...take a bow, artist Andy Clarke.
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