Prog 71 is a game changer for me... and I emphasize FOR ME as I know what I'm about to say will leave many open mouthed BUT I really like Ant Wars, its probably the best thing Gerry Finley-Day did in the Prog (no, I'm not a fan of Rogue Trooper) and so Prog 71, featuring its first part is a real benchmark.
Since the opening Progs the Galaxies Greatest really struggled to find its groove. The quality of a number of the opening stories dipped. Flesh was never really replaced and yes there were some highlights, Visible Man, Shako later M.A.C.H. 1 amongst them. Dredd is getting there, but has struggled at times finding its feet and for me, a few stories aside, the Luna One episodes were a bit of a low.
Then you look at the line-up for Prog 71 and you can can smell the Prog starting to really become what it started as in those very first few Progs and what it would become for so many more years. Ant Wars starts with a magnificently, almost Millsesque anti-authoritorian veiw. The US soliders are so beautifully vile and ya know GIANT ANTS all gloriously rendered. This story has replaced Death Planet which replaced Colony Earth, so ya know, smell that improvement!
Elsewhere Dredd is in the middle of Cursed Earth a story that really defines Dredd as the best thing in the Prog. Its glorious stuff. M.A.C.H 0 is just an absolute gem. Again its anti establishment stance is a joy and the dark army of 'tramps and vagrants' lead by 'The Three' to release a monster is almost a proto-Nemesis, its that dark and brilliant. Inferno, while a little chaotic just adds to the feeling of anarchy. Dan Dare... well its adds balance and looks great.
So yeah Prog 71 the first (almost) perfect Prog since Flesh finished?