Since 1977 2000 AD has been the UK’s greatest sci-fi weekly comic, and every week we give you a glimpse inside the new Prog… it’s The Weekly 2000 AD.
(Leonardo Manco with a classic Rogue cover)
After the ending of The Order last Prog, we have a slot opened up which is taken by a particularly good Future Shock by two new to 2000 AD creators, Elizabeth Sandifer and Laura Helsby. We have a done-in-one Dredd from Ian Edginton and Nicolo Assirelli, the continuing adventures of Durham Red and Rogue Trooper, and the latest nightmarish goings-on with Enemy Earth.
2000 AD Prog #2330 is out on Wednesday 3rd May. And seeing as I’m writing this at the arse-end of April, that means I’m ahead of myself. Yes, ahead. Hah. Yeah, yeah, crow while you can I hear you say, it won’t be too long before you’re apologising for being late again.
Oh, one more thing before we get into the preview… next Prog…
Exited? You should be.
Anyway, all that over and done, time for a look into the latest Prog… join me?
JUDGE DREDD: CHIMERA – by Ian Edginton, Nicolo Assirelli, colours by Pippa Bowland, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Well, you have to be a special level of stupid to decide that you’re going to knock off a Justice Department Deep-Storage Facility. And that’s just what Edward and Turtle are.
However, they won’t be around all that long to sully the gene pool. Because they’ve just opened just the wrong box of weirdness.
It’s alien. It’s dangerous. And it’s about to meet a conveniently passing-by Judge Dredd.
Okay, you need to get over the fact that Turtle and Edward, two idiots of the criminal underworld, have managed to get into this place first of all. Let’s just go with lucky fluke, because otherwise the alternative is that the Justice Department security in these places is so terrible that it’s a miracle they’ve not been completely gutted of the goodies inside by now. But hey, screw it, sometimes you’ve just got to let these things go and just settle back and enjoy what’s either a neat little one-off of Dredd doing neat poses against something alien or it’s Edginton setting up some future tale with the final couple of panels of the episode.
Like I say, either way is fine, although I’m veering towards the latter. What matters most is how it reads, how it looks, and how enjoyable it is as a standalone Dredd – and it ticks all the boxes on that account.
FUTURE SHOCKS: LOOK AT YOUR HANDS – by Elizabeth Sandifer and Laura Helsby, letters by Jim Campbell
A Future Shock by new to 2000 AD creators Sandifer and Helsby, where they go with “the something’s wrong with the world and the people” trope, rip a page from current buzzy ideas and ask ‘what the hell is wrong with AI art and why can’t it do hands properly?’ and come out the other side of it with five-pages of great Future Shock that goes from small observations of something a little off with the world to ‘oh my God, there’s a massive conspiracy running the world’ in or three and a bit pages or 19 panels.
I’ve often commented on how difficult it is to set up a great Future Shock in just four or five pages, but we’ve seen a fair number done quite perfectly recently – this one included. Particularly of note is how Sandifer does a grand job of setting everything out without needing to resort to panel after panel of exposition. Nope, instead Sandifer just does the better thing of knowing all she wants to tell and tells it as sparingly as possible. And sparingly, in this case, works perfectly.
In all this, Sandifer is aided and abetted by Helsby, whose art is everything the story needed, light, a thin line, and carrying the story, doing so much of the heavy lifting of setting both scene and tone to go along with Sandifer’s words.
Sandifer and Helsby might be making their first appearance in the pages of the Prog here but I’m certain it won’t be their last.
DURHAM RED: MAD DOGS – PART 5 – Alec Worley and Ben Willsher, letters by Simon Bowland
Rudo Kanka’s the one Red and her new pal Roburta Wardrowe are out to stop pumping out dangerous new drugs for the Oathbreaker Cartel. That’s why they plummeted into the area of the narcotics factory and are now on their way to say hello. Probably violently.
Except Kanka’s got quite a bit of firepower and tech to call on, easily enough to get past the simple disguises. And he’s, well, rather stimulated to figure out that it’s Durham Red coming to see him. Not a very pleasant person at all.
So, it all progresses apace, playing out so simply and straightforward – mission set out, target identified, operatives inserted. That means we’re due the ‘it all goes pear-shaped’ part of the whole thing now. And no, I absolutely don’t mind it being a really straightforward sort of thing so far. Every so often, it’s good, great even, to have something like Durham Red to just do the simple things exceptionally well.
ENEMY EARTH: BOOK II – PART 5 – Cavan Scott and Luke Horsman, letters by Simon Bowland
Speaking of doing the simple things rather well – last episode or two of Enemy Earth pulled a little bait and switch on us with the identity of Jules’ dear papa.
Seems the Prime Minister has been holed up here in Scotland for many months now, meaning it’s a little bit of happy families time, seeing as Jules has been pumped full of enough drugs to get rid of the infection/infestation/whatever it is that turns humans into human-eating plant forms.
Meanwhile, we get this little revelation…
Yes, just like Durham Red, Enemy Earth is pulling into all sorts of standard zombie/apocalypse storylines to do what it does. The driving plotline through it is movement, a quest structure, survival first but then a desire to be somewhere else for whatever reason. First, it was Zoe and Jules and the push to Scotland, now we have something a little more international in mind.
But again, just as with Durham Red, when the standards are done so well as Enemy Earth is, you don’t mind that they’re riffing off old ideas one little bit.
ROGUE TROOPER: BLIGHTY VALLEY – PART 5 – Garth Ennis and Patrick Goddard, letters by Rob Steen
Oh, the first couple of panels… Gunnar and Helm chatting to the old-timers, that’s the sort of thing that pops into your head and makes you pitch a whole series sometimes. Not that I’m suggesting Ennis did that… but hey, who knows? It’s still a great gag…
Anyhow, straight after, we have Rogue coming clean about it all, who he is, why he’s here, the works. It’s a strip that’s very much quiet, quiet, loud, loud, quiet, quiet, but it’s a storytelling thing that Ennis makes work. We’re deep into it all now and there’s a question in my head at least of where it’s all going. Either it’s a weird Night’s Horizon thing and Rogue’s really somehow been zapped back, or the WWI boys have been zapped forward somehow, or it’s something playing out in Rogue’s head, a hallucinatory treatise on what he is and why he’s doing what he’s doing, using the scared men and boys around him as avatars of his subconscious. Or it’s something totally different.
The important thing at this point is that it’s effectively Charlie’s War does Nu Earth… and that’s a fine, fine thing indeed.
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