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.
(Who else but Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague for that cover?)
Another week, another five strips. Actually, no, not another week. Not at all. Because this Prog sees the return of Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison’s sublime The OUT. Now, as you should all know, The OUT is perhaps my favourite thing in 2000 AD for decades. It truly is that good. This third book was paused for a few Progs back in Prog 2324 – a cruel, cruel wait – but now it’s back for the final three episodes. This is absolutely a great thing.
Elsewhere this Prog, we have more Durham Red, more Enemy Earth, more of Garth Ennis and Patrick Goddard‘s excellent Rogue Trooper, and a done-in-one Dredd from Ken Niemand and Nick Dyer that follows up their Grinder one-off in Prog 2287 – it’s Dredd vs a possessed public toilet, what’s not to like there?
2000 AD Prog 2330 is out on 10th May. Okay doubters, I managed to do it again, preview in before the Prog hits the shelves. I’m on a roll now. (I know it won’t last but I’ll milk it while it does.)
Okay then, time for a little look inside…
JUDGE DREDD: FLUSHER – by Ken Niemand, Nick Dyer, colours by Gary Caldwell, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Back in Prog 2287, an alien presence came to Earth intent on bringing forth the Age of the New Flesh. All it needed was suitable body to begin conquest. That was the plan anyway.
Unfortunately, that new body ended up being a rubbish grinder. A short rampage was soon put paid by Dredd, with the alien energy jumping to another, better vessel… the second Age of the New Flesh was about to begin. Or not.
Because here’s the new vessel… about to get a visit from Dredd himself…
Yes, it’s the Dredd story you never thought you’d see – Dredd going poop. Actually, he may have to hold it in for a little longer, as the Era of the New Flesh has plans for him.
You have to love the idea of this one, stupid, silly always worked for Dredd after all. But seeing him jostled about inside a toilet is a particularly strange thing. Great art from Dyer here, his best yet, angular and yet organic, elements of Cam Kennedy sneaking through perhaps.
And as for the alien presence… nope, we haven’t seen the end of it yet. Basically, it’s Niemand getting his silliness out whenever he fancies. And I have no problem with that whatsoever.
DURHAM RED: MAD DOGS – PART 6 – Alec Worley and Ben Willsher, letters by Simon Bowland
It’s Durham Red on a mission, seeking absolution, storming into things where she should be thinking a little more. That’s just what Rudo Kanka’s betting on anyway.
Each episode of these Worley and Willsher Durham Red’s do fly past, they’re all minimal exposition and maximum events-based storytelling. And when they read so smoothly and look this good, these are out-and-out adventures and damn well done ones at that.
They definitely hark back to earlier times of 2000 AD, where there was absolutely nothing wrong with this sort of get the mission, run the mission, get the hell out sort of storyline. And given how enjoyable this current Durham Red is, there’s still space in 2000 AD for that.
ENEMY EARTH: BOOK II – PART 5 – Cavan Scott and Luke Horsman, letters by Simon Bowland
We’ve had the revelation that Jules’ dad was part of a network investigating the alien spores that kickstarted all of the mutations that led to this enemy Earth many years ago. And the only research station left is in India.
Zoe is a little taken aback by the idea that they’re going to try to get to India. After all, as she rightly points out, they barely made it to Scotland alive and certainly not intact.
But before there’s any more chance to discuss plans, the attack begins and the mutated animal/plant things are breaking through the defences. Running is their only option again, but before they all get out it’s time for Jules to make a deadly decision.
Again, Scott and Horsman take Enemy Earth into darker and darker territory, with Jules’ actions bound to have repercussions, if only for himself.
It does seem as though Enemy Earth is going to be doing that simple thing of a chase/quest thing, each book dealing with them trying to get one step closer to the mystery, all the while under threat and attack. And why the hell not? It’s a plot device that works, especially when done as well as it is here.
THE OUT: BOOK THREE – PART 14 – Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, letters by Simon Bowland
A little catch-up for you… Cyd’s been on the run from both the Unanima and the Zoto. The Unanima want to take her back to serve her planetary arrest so there’s no risk of the Tankinar tech inside her causing more devastation. The Zoto want her to keep her quiet about her discovery that the same Tankinar Tech was implanted in her by the Zoto.
On top of all that, she’s just seen her friend, Cheerio, die before being captured by the Unanima, who are desperate to learn what Cyd knows of the UP, possibly the only thing they think can defeat the next wave of Tankinar threat.
All of which lands us here, with Cyd in front of the Unanima Grand Tribunal again. It’s time to meet old faces again, maybe friendly, maybe not, Cyd just doesn’t know at this point. All she wants to do is stand and speak to the Unanima about the UP, about what she uncovered with the Zoto.
Cue another five pages of visual imagination from Harrison where the talking heads are given such life and scope, with Abnett relying on his artist to show us just how a simple expository court speech can be edge-of-the-seat stuff.
So, welcome back to The OUT. It’s damn fine to have it back. Best thing in here of course.
ROGUE TROOPER: BLIGHTY VALLEY – PART 6 – Garth Ennis and Patrick Goddard, letters by Rob Steen
I made the comparison last week to Rogue Trooper doing Charlie’s War – and that is definitely the case here and now.
We have Rogue tagging along with the Tommys, just keeping things safe while they look to report in. Rogue and his bio-chips are wondering just how they’re in this position, whether it’s the black hole interstellar transport that’s become unstable and put them here. That’s the obvious thing of course. But I don’t know, maybe there’s more to it than that?
Anyway, after that, we have a moment between Rogue and the Tommy’s commanding officer, the sort of self-realisation about who he is, what the hell he’s doing here commanding these men when he’s never done a day of work and lived his whole life with that silver spoon firmly in his mouth. It’s a cliched bit of course, one that’s been done so many times before, yet Ennis still makes it chilling, sad, getting over the futility of it all, no matter whether it’s WWI Tommys or dying Genetic Infantrymen slipping into bio-chips.
It’s harsh but it’s damn good. The moody b&w was the only way to go and Goddard’s art is just so perfectly stark and effective for this one.
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