It’s 45 years old and it just gets better and better – 2000 AD is the UK’s greatest sci-fi weekly comic and we’re here with The Weekly 2000 AD to give you a preview.
Alright then, we’re on the run in to the end of the year now and the all-new lineup that’s coming. Which means it’s time for the penultimate episodes of Hershey, Chimpsky’s Law, and Judge Dredd: Buratino Must Die. And alongside them we have the latest episodes of Hope In The Shadows and Enemy Earth.
PJ Holden with the Chimpsky cover, complete with fabulous John Woo doves/pigeons
Prog #2308 is out on Wednesday 16th November. Shall we take a look inside?
JUDGE DREDD: BURATINO MUST DIE – PART 5 – by Rob Williams and Henry Flint, letters by Annie Parkhouse
The penultimate episode opens with the horse and Ichabod Azrael’s gun – it’s not Williams doing a REALLY obvious Chekhov’s gun there surely?
Anyway, we’re back where we began, Dredd holding a gun on Buratino and wondering what the hell to do, wondering what the hell is going on in his city.
And of course, the Sov Zersetzung are here for their errant and absent leader.
So, Buratino, the Zersetzung, Dredd taking a hell of a beating – something that’s absolutely perfectly done by Flint. Although, let’s face it, Flint’s doing the best work here, so vibrant, so sharp, the technique perfect. Quite appropriate in the month that we’re seeing so many show off their new Mick McMahon Apex Edition, as Flint really does have something of the McMahon about him.
Seriously, you could pick any page from any episode and there’d be something magnificent to see. Here it’s either seeing Dredd get hit by the psychic blast and his visor going, or the shots of Dredd stumbling around after Buratino deals with The Proletariat…
Frankly, it’s been another excellent Dredd series from Williams and Flint. Only one more episode and I don’t quite know how they’re going to end it – unless the horse gets hold of his master’s gun and races in to save them all, scooping Anderson up on his back to pull the trigger? Whatever it is, it’s going to have to happen fast – probably too fast. Because again, like ‘End Of Day’s, it’s one where it might just end too abruptly, one where I can’t help but think there’s enough in here to go for double the length, to really stretch the story out, give us more of the slow Wagnerian-type build-up. Not that it hasn’t been a bloody fine thing to see happening, don’t get me wrong, it’s been great Dredd.
CHIMPSKY’S LAW: A TERRIFICALLY DISTURBING ADVENTURE – PART 7 – by Ken Niemand, PJ Holden, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland
It’s Chimpsky and Mr Grofaz versus the entire Wittengenstein Block now that Timmy and Thrupence have turned the block against them – all of which means page after page of PJ Holden doing Chimpsky fighting, which is just glorious. Oh, and he manages to add in the John Woo doves that you see on the cover as well – bloody marvellous!
So, time for non-violent suppression methods (and some slightly more violent suppression methods) as Chimpsky, Grofaz, with a little help from a somewhat reprogrammed Judge Lennie battle their way up the levels to come face to face with Timmy and Thruppence – or do they? That’s one to talk about next week.
As I keep saying, it’s so much fun, such a treat to read, something light yet so well executed, and Holden’s art is just perfect for this.
HOPE… IN THE SHADOWS REEL TWO – PART 6 – by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton, letters by Jim Campbell
After pulling back to take a look from the outside last episode, here we’re back with Mallory Hope again, trapped with the magicians/film people, locked in the ‘the running stitch’ spell that’s bound them all together, a spell full of risks.
And that’s not even considering what’s coming after them – because right now we don’t really know what’s coming after them. All we really know is that it’s bad. Very, very bad. And Mallory’s just not really strong enough yet to get away from whatever it is.
Anyway, despite it all being vague and Adams’ story deliberately confounding, Hope is one of those you can’t pull yourself away from, that sense of confusion is there sure, but also the sense that you’re being sucked into the mystery of what’s going on. And then of course you have Broxton’s artwork, spellbinding in its darkness. All in all, it might yet have unfolded but it’s sure enjoyable and enthralling watching it slowly come together.
ENEMY EARTH: BOOK 1 – PART 7 – by Cavan Scott, Luke Horsman, letters by Annie Parkhouse
When we left Zoe in Prog #2307, she was shocked to see Jules and Nanni seemingly captured by another group of surviving humans…
Oh, and they’re right about that hand.
Without giving the twist away – and it’s a genuine shocker – it’s one of those moments where you realise that Scott and Horsman have really upped the ante here and suddenly Enemy Earth has taken a very, very dark turn.
Things have shifted completely here. With the introduction of the other humans, there’s a shift in tone, and you can see the way Scott might be considering taking things; it’s The Walking Dead with plants and animals in the place of the zombies perhaps, who knows?
Anyhow, here you have Horsman’s art really stepping up, the colour palette dropping to minimal, the shadows and blacks creeping in after that psychedelic moment of Zoe’s fever dreams on page two. It really is an impressive breadth of art crafting mood going on this episode – in fact, it’s been that way all through, it’s just this episode Horsman takes it to another level.
HERSHEY: THE COLD IN THE BONES: BOOK 1 – PART 7 – by Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, letters by Simon Bowland
Brutal moments are something of a speciality in Hershey, but the confrontation between Hershey and Frank on the second page here is just beyond brutal, truths told and Hershey’s end coming that much closer. But, as she says to Frank – ‘we’re all going to die, Frank.’
And I guess she is – soon. But we’ve still got another episode of this part of ‘The Cold In The Bones’ and another eight episodes to go, so not quite yet.
Instead, as Hershey and Frank find their way into the base in yet another wonderfully composed little action sequence, we get to experience with them just what it is that connects Smiley to this place…
What, you thought I was going to tell you? No, no, no, bad spoilers, takes away the fun of this particular reveal and that would take the enjoyment away from you dear reader. Let’s just say it’s all to do with that crop you see there on page 2 below.
As it’s been all the way through, Hershey has been brutal but brilliant. Williams’ tone here is spot-on, clipped, final, decisive. And Fraser’s artwork, well, it’s just sublime in every way it could be.
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