By Chris Tresson
Before we get into this, I have a confession to make: I am a lapsed reader of 2000 AD. I still collect it (and the megazine, I have a subscription to both, you should look into that) but here's the reality of my situation: I own a comic shop and that means I get a hell of a lot of books from there, I'm talking 100+ books a month. That's a lot of reading to be done. I also review comics here and write comics when I get the time. That usually means that I end up prioritising certain books over others and stockpiling the majority to read at a later date. I knew the 2000th issue was coming and I could not catch up in time for its arrival so I am committing a comic book sin and reading this prog out of order... May grud have mercy on my soul...
To begin, I just want to tell you that this review copy came with all three, yes THREE, covers for this prog. All three of them are drokking lovely. Seriously. I might have to hunt them down because I know I'll only get the one in my sub. The Glenn Fabry wraparound cover is probably my favorite. So, once you get past the beautiful cover, you're diving in head first to a 'Uncle Creepy' style introduction from The Mighty One himself. He introduces all the tales in this prog, which is really nice to see. Each introduction has a different artist. These artists are Brian Bolland, Mick McMahon, Dave Gibbons, Robin Smith, Colin MacNeil and Boo Cook. A sickening line-up of talent there. I like it when Tharg appears in the prog, and I'm sure other fans like it, too.
Up first in the issue is Judge Dredd... I’m going to break this review down by story and try my best not to give much away. I don't want to spoil anything for you and I certainly wouldn't want to piss any 2000 AD fans by doing so. I'm a member of that forum, I know how you guys can get, haha. Anyway, here we go.
Judge Dredd: By Private Contract We’ve got both Judge Dredd creators, John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, doing a story in this prog. Fans of Wagner and Ezquerra are going to drokking love this… This story is a team up with another one of these creator’s creations for 2000 AD. Can’t really say much about the story without spoiling it for you, but it’s a nice little tale. There are some great panels and I really enjoyed seeing these two together in a story.
Nemesis The Warlock: Tubular Hells Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill’s Nemesis story is fantastic, the art and story are solid and it feels good seeing this character back in the pages of the prog. The art is completely black and white which I love because there’s so much detail in some of these panels that you can really appreciate O’Neill’s inking and line work. Lovely stuff.
Rogue Trooper: Ghosts of Nu Earth Gordon Rennie and Richard Elson tell us a tale with a bunch of Southers holding out in a base whilst being bombarded by the Norts. Story’s alright, could’ve done with a bit more Rogue in there but other than that it’s a nice story and the art isquite good, too. I’m just hoping there’s more Rogue Trooper in store for the near future. Rogue’s a great character and he deserves to be in the prog a little more than he is these days… Seems he only shows up on special occasions. At least we have Jaegir, right?
Anderson, Psi-Division: A Dream of Death This one is my favourite of the lot. It’s a good little tale from Alan Grant and David Roach. We have Anderson going into a sleep machine and having a dream of Judge Death... You should get that from the story's title, haha. Roach's art in this one for me is the best in this issue, which is really saying a lot as the book has a fantastic group of artists in it. It might be because Judge Death is in it and David Roach draws him incredibly well but hey, that's my opinion and I'm sticking with it. Great story, excellent art and a real stand-out for me.
Sinister Dexter: Replica Writer Dan Abnett and artist Mark Sexton give us a story built around Finnegan and Ramone’s motor. Lovely clean artwork from Mark Sexton which looks amazing under Gary Caldwell’s colouring. Also a nice little panel in here from Simon Davis who has drawn this pair before.
Counterfeit Girl A new strip for 2000 AD here from artist Rufus Dayglo and writer Peter Milligan. Rufus’ art is up to his usual standard and is drenched here in sickening, retina burning colour by Dom Regan. Lovely stuff! Some nice scenes of really trippy sci-fi weirdery and action in this one. This is the first thing I’ve read of Milligan’s for a while that I actually enjoyed. I love his older stuff but he’s not been doing the business for me of late. Hopefully this is a turning point (I did enjoy the last time he was in 2000 AD, mind you.)
A lot to take in there but I think new and old readers a-like will enjoy this issue for different reasons. Older fans will love the sheer quality of the strips, the roster of amazing familiar talent and the characters chosen for this prog. New readers will love it because it's a great point for them to jump on board and get into the galaxy's greatest comic. You don’t need to have read the previous 1999 issues to enjoy it. Stories in 2000 AD may run for weeks but each story rarely requires you to have a complete understanding of the character’s continuity. Just jump in and embrace it. You’ll love it like I do!
So yeah. I think everyone should give this issue a bash and if you aren't reading 2000 AD you should be. It’s great that you get little bitesize bits of stories each week that are easy to digest by some of the best artists and writers around. I love it. You'll love it.
Look out for Prog 2000 when you're in the shop this week and get yourself a copy so you can overdose on thrill power. There’s something for everyone here.
Here’s to 2000 more! Zarjaz!
2000 AD Prog 2000
Price: £3.99 / $7.99
Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital