The Weekly 2000AD – Previewing Prog 2104: Five Of The Best You’ll Read This Week

by Richard Bruton

Prog 2104 and possibly my absolute favourite cover of the year – Dredd by Jake Lynch.

There’s something of the Mike MacMahon in Jake Lynch’s artwork, that angularity, the extremes of shapes, all shored up with a solidity of anatomy, exaggerated yet true at the same time. Here it’s a moody Dredd on a big-ass Lawmaster, all perfect shadows and shapes. Yep, cracking cover.

Inside, five strips, five bits of varying brilliance. Nothing, frankly, is going to beat the current Dredd tale, The Small House, for sheer ominous feel and excitement, as the pieces move into place and the Dredd Vs Smiley war comes to life and light. But, with Brink there’s strong competition for the best of the year in terms of strips. And that’s not discounting the excellence in the cold wastes of Fiends of the Eastern Front, the mind and war-games of Skip Tracer, and the increasingly intriguing evolutionary developments in Kingdom.

Yep, it’s a fine, fine time to be a 2000AD reader right now. Prog 2104 can be in your hands, if you’re in the UK or get it digitally, from 24th October. If you’re in the North American colonies, you’ll see it as part of the monthly 2000AD 4-pack at some point before Christmas time.

So… here’s what’s inside…

JUDGE DREDD: THE SMALL HOUSE – PART 5 – Rob Williams, Henry Flint, colors Chris Blythe, letters Annie Parkhouse.

Dredd and his team, working without sanction from Chief Judge Hershey are getting closer and closer to Judge Smiley and his stealth units, hacking the Justice Department systems to do so. It’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out though, and what that’s going to mean for the already troubled Hershey/Dredd relationship you can only imagine.

Spectacular storytelling from Rob Williams and breathtakingly good Dredd art from Henry Flint make The Small House the finest Dredd tale since Chaos Day and Trifecta.

BRINK – HIGH SOCIETY – PART 5 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, letters Simon Bowland.

Compared to the tension in every panel of the Dredd tale, Brink’s bright lighting and glorious colours, the expansive spaces so beautifully created by Culbard, and the slowly unfolding storyline, Brink actually feels relaxed this time round. Expect all that to change after the events of this episode though. But, seeing Bridge slowly investigate, watching the case unfolding as she goes about the luxurious quarters of Yuliya.

There’s just something amazing watching Culbard put together his pages, each figure occupying their space so well, the shadows in this episode sheer perfection – these are pages to simply dwell over, magnificently artwork for a great strip.

FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT: 1812 – PART 5 – Ian Edginton, Dave Taylor, letters Annie Parkhouse.

Part 4 was where we discovered something of the past of Hauptmann Constanta, with the secrets of his transformation from soldier to undead revealed. Here, amongst the white landscape so wonderfully captured with Dave Taylor’s artwork, we follow that up, with Constanta and Baba Yaga facing off and the young French officer, caught up in it all, looking more and more like another innocent victim of the Fiends of the Eastern Front. Three strips in and three beautifully drawn, thrilling to read 2000AD adventures.

SKIP TRACER: LEGION – PART 5 – James Peaty, Colin MacNeil, colors Dylan Teague, letters Ellie De Ville.

When this Skip Tracer series began, we were thrown into a straight up sci-fi adventure, a Blade Runner-esque thing, fast and furious, very much old-skool 2000AD. Then the second series began and it seemed, for a time, that things were going the same way once more. Until Nathan Blake took a deep dive into the head of his brother. Then it all turned upside down, took a bizarre psychological twist, and here, with Blake still wandering the spaces of his brother’s head, we’re delivered the big bad of the title. Another twist in a storyline surprisingly full of them. And again, much as we’d expect, Colin MacNeil delivers his always brilliantly designed artwork, full of style and craft.

KINGDOM: ALPHA AND OMEGA – PART 5 – Dan Abnett, Richard Elson, colors Abigail Bulmer, letters Ellie De Ville.

Like Skip Tracer, Kingdom was a simple thing, or at least that’s what it always read like to me. Old skool stuff again, humans versus insectoid invaders, the ‘Them’ with humans losing badly, needing genetically enhanced Aux soldiers to fight for them, to keep them safe, to protect the remains of humanity. And that was how it was. Now, it’s oh so different, with Abnett throwing so much more into the mix, creating new evolutionary pathways, mixing Aux, human, Them, and even the parasitic ticks, to create something new, complex, threatening. What was old becomes new and fascinating along the way.

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