2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

prog 1043 20/05/97

A Judge Dredd trip out into the Cursed Earth is always worthwhile and The Hotdog Run is no exception. Dredd and Demarco lead a party of cadets across the irradiated wasteland in a test of their abilities that will either make or break them. Eleven episodes in, near to the end I believe, and so far they’ve encountered a town of cannibals, been thrown back through time to the day that the Atomic Wars started and hung out with a tribe of spider worshipers.

What makes the thrust of this John Wagner story so interesting is that it’s the first time we’ve seen a group of cadets dynamic be more representative of their age closer in the foreground. Previously, cadets have always surprised us because of their indoctrinated maturity. Here, they find mutant girls desirable or tease each other because of their nationality. It stops short of them worrying about spots, though.

The overall story has been subdivided into shorter runs drawn by different art robots all of whom are great. Sean Philips, Trevor Hairshine, Calum Alexander Watt and, my current favourite Dredd artist, Henry Flint.

Also nearing its end is another John Wagner thrill, Al’s Baby Public Enemy No. 1. Previously, Al’s Baby stories have appeared in The Megazine and it’s the first time it’s appeared in 2000 AD. In it, once again Al is pregnant. He’s also on the run from the mob and the law disguised as a woman. It’s whilst in hiding that Al becomes the focus of the over privileged and always persistent Rear Admiral Dagwood’s amorous advances.

Public Enemy No. 1 isn’t quite a sequel too far but it does feel like it’s a good place to stop. Apart from apparently forgetting to write in the character’s eldest child there have also been sections of the story that feel as they’re missing. A significant chunk of Al’s pregnancy has been skipped over altogether for example. Nonetheless, it remains a very entertaining read, especially Dagwood, and Carlos Ezquerra’s art, as always, is superb.

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  • Interesting assessment of Al's Baby. The funny think with Book 3 is I think it was a sequel too far not really offering up anything new. That is until the end when (I've just checked and since this thrill doesn't end 1044 I'll bite my toungue) something happens that I think sets up what could have been an interesting final story. Wasn't to be and so John Wagner almost certainly agreed with you.

    That said I'd love to see a post Soprano's Al's Baby as I think there are things that could be played with there.

    Henry Flint over the next 200ish issues does work that makes him possibly my favourite 2000ad artist ever - I know, I know its a crazy thing to say and one I will no doubt regret when I calm down but man his stuff is wonderful.

    By Blogger Colin, at 9:00 am  

  • Henry Flint was very good here and having seen his later work he gets a lot better as his looseness tightens up and his confidence improves (and he stops colouring with washes).

    I enjoyed this Als Baby series. It was light and had some funny moments and lovely ezquerra art.

    John Wagner's humour went off a bit after this and I really didn't enjoy teenage tax consultant and Balls Brothers. I read banzai batallian recently and that was funny, so he gets it back. But his work (especialy on Dredd) becomes more thematic and less humorous through the coming years.

    By Blogger Victor Resistor, at 1:43 pm  

  • Colin, Henry Flint's artwork really brightens up The Slog.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:21 pm  

  • Victor, I remember being disappointed by Tax Consultant as well. Let's see how re-encountering it goes...

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 7:22 pm  

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