The Weekly 2000AD – Ring In The New Year With Prog 2112

by Richard Bruton

Welcome to 2019, a new year and a new 2000AD. All sat underneath a masterpiece of WWI blood and bats on a cover from Tiernen Trevallion, as he and Ian Edginton bring back Black Max in the pages of Fiends Of The Western Front.

Inside, we have a done in one Judge Dredd, the continuations of the aforementioned Fiends Of The Western Front, more of the spectacular Brink, the second of the current run of Skip Tracer, and a new Tharg’s 3Riller to beckon in the new year.

2000AD Prog 2112 is out in the UK and digitally on 2 January and out in the North Americas later in the month.

JUDGE DREDD: THE ETERNITY HOTEL – Rory McConville, Dan Cornwell, colors Jim Boswell, letters Annie Parkhouse.

Viking settlement in MC-1? Oh, you just know it’s one of those re-enactment thingys, don’t you? As the perp who crashes through the simulation says, “Can’t believe anyone pays for this crap“. Anyway, Dredd follows soon after (no post-Christmas slack time for old Joe) and blunders his way through things, as he does. It’s one of those where events happen around Dredd, where he’s merely the means of delivering the ending. Good ending though, with a neat little twist to the reenactment thing.

I am really liking Cornwell’s artwork, it’s got a fascinatingly different look to it, sitting alongside older artists such as Ridgway, Stokes, Parkhouse, but with a nice bit of McMahon angularity in there as well. Good to see him return, great to see how much he’s pushing on, so early in his pro career.

BRINK – HIGH SOCIETY – PART 13 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, letters Simon Bowland.

The best thing in 2000AD, alongside The Small House, from 2018 continues into the new year. From the first page, Culbard’s art is just eye-poppingly perfect, those close-up shots of Mariam just incredible, the tones and colour work perfection. Seriously, just take a look at Culbard’s art in these three tight, intense panels…

Hab security Officer Bridget Kurtis was undercover on the super-glitzy Yuliya habitat, investigating sect crimes. But now, with her cover blown, she’s in deep trouble. We saw Mariam appear last time, figured the House junot CEO would take things in hand, but no, that would be a far, far too simple thing. Instead, we’re dropped into the bigger conspiracy… remember, Mercury vanishing? How big do you want?

Brink just continues to excel, twisting and turning every episode.

SKIP TRACER – LOUDER THAN BOMBS – PART 2 – James Peaty, Paul Marshal, colours Dylan Teague, letters Ellie De Ville

Start by dealing with a terrorist threat, at least partly, then move, quickly, introducing the notion of the Cube having a refugee crisis, throw in a casual reference to Red Erica, missing journalist, and jump straight to another bad looking type whom Nolan Blake knows from old, most likely looking to recruit him for the next thing.

And in a series with that title, the graffiti here is both far too loud and pointed to not be important somewhere… “Orden Tel was right! The Children of Fury will not be silenced!

Much as I like Skip Tracer, especially with Marshal’s art giving it that old-school vibe for an old-school strip, isn’t that something very like the first series? Now, I might be proved wrong, but there’s a definite sense of things going down a formulaic route. Is it a huge problem? Not so much, it’s good enough, entertaining enough to cover that.

THARG’S 3RILLERS – THE SCORCHED ZONE – PART 1 – Eddie Robson, Nick Brokenshaw, colours – Gary Caldwell, letters – Ellie De Ville

Latest in the 3-part 3Rillers brings us to the barren Earth of the early 22nd Century, where climate change has made anything between the tropics an uninhabitable dead zone. But, science has a plan, a way to cool the planet, sending robots with climate polarisers into Brasilia, to deflect some of the sun’s rays. They lost contact with the robots before activation, and now it’s the task of a tech team to find out what happened.

The twist, well, there’s not a twist. It goes just how you think it will if you’ve seen any halfway good sci-fi/zombie thing. But, the first episode of any of these 3Rillers is always setup, we’ll reserve judgment until parts 2 & 3.

FIENDS OF THE WESTERN FRONT – PART 2 – Ian Edginton, Tiernan Trevallion, letters – Annie Parkhouse

The vampire Constanta has been on the bloody battlefields of WWII’s Eastern Front and on the 1812 snowfields of Napoleon’s doomed push to Russia. But, in WWI, he and his vampire troops are fighting on the Western Front. Last Prog saw them, plus a Brit soldier captured by the legendary Black Max.

Black Max, a fabulously over the top character, all giant bats, Frankenstein-ish machinery, even his very own Igor. And that might be the thing that’s stopping this from really working for me. I’m teetering on the brink of disliking where it’s going. The prior tales, both original and Edginton and Taylor’s recent 1812, had a menace, a darkness, this… not so much.

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