The Weekly 2000AD – Prog 2114 Previewed: Brink Above All

by Richard Bruton

The weekly 2000AD gives you lucky people the chance to take a little look-see at the greatest sci-fi comic coming out of the UK. Frankly, the greatest sci-fi comic anywhere. After all, week in and week out, 2000AD delivers a huge variety of incredible comic work. This week is no exception, with a solid line up including the conclusion of the two-part Block Buds Judge Dredd tale, the third and final part of the latest Tharg’s 3Riller, The Scorched Zone, and the continuations of Brink, Fiends of the Western Front, and Skip Tracer, who features on this weeks Neil Roberts cover.

2000AD Prog 2114 is out in the UK and digitally on the 16th of January and out in the North Americas later in the month.

JUDGE DREDD: BLOCK BUDS – PART 2 – FINAL PART – Kenneth Niemand, Jeff Anderson, letters Annie Parkhouse

The finale to the Block Buds 2-parter, with the obvious conclusion to the tale once the block hologram program went, inevitably, wrong. 2-parters are always funny things, and this one feels distinctly filler to be honest. Good, sure, but light and something that could easily be done in a single issue.

BRINK – HIGH SOCIETY – PART 15 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, letters Simon Bowland.

And from a filler strip straight into the best thing in this Prog, by a long way. In fact, the way Brink, High Society is going, I think it’s already a strong contender for a best of year nod, even this early on. There’s going to have to be something incredibly good in 2000AD to get beyond the brilliance of this.

We’re into the endgame here, although the way Abnett has plotted this one, there could be a fair few episodes left, despite it all having a finality to it. While Bridget tracks down the cult leaders, those same cult leaders are deep in ‘The Family Space’, deep in Junot House. Tillerson has gathered the members together, and I think we all know what they’re all there for. Tillerson wants to make an offer, and that always seems to end in mass deaths.

“Will people be hurt, Joel?”
“Only physically, Sarah. Oh, bless you for caring”

Yes. As Bridget will observe… batshit crazy. But god, this is beautifully done.

SKIP TRACER – LOUDER THAN BOMBS – PART 4 – James Peaty, Paul Marshal, colours Dylan Teague, letters Ellie De Ville

Now in the employ, of sorts, forced once more, of the Consociation, Nathan Blake is busy tracking down Loden, small, blue, four-arms. All of which serves to set up a nicely staged escape and chase scene. Yes, it’s got every cliche going here, dive into trash container, steal bike, seriously piss off bad guy, race off to safety. But, it’s all neatly and nicely done, as satisfyingly routine as a Bond movie opener. And that’s pretty much the vibe you get from Skip Tracer. It plays out as a standard sci-fi popcorn action thriller of a thing, all big set-pieces and predictable storylines. And no, none of that actually spoils any of the fun for me.

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

So far, there’s been little of any surprise to this Tharg’s 3Riller, where a tech team are on the ground in the scorched earth area of Brasilia, uninhabitable due to global waring. Overrun by the heat zombies or whatever you want to call them, the team are left rushing things, looking for the vaccine to the virus causing the heat zombie mutation. A bit like Skip Tracer, The Scorched Earth is playing with a load of the cliches of this sort of zombie/ medical disaster movie. Thing is, when you only have those 15 pages to play with there’s a risk, and it’s happened here, that the shortcuts are simply too much, the story ending up rushed. Although, given the ending… there’s always the possibility of a follow-up series.

FIENDS OF THE WESTERN FRONT – PART 4 – Ian Edginton, Tiernan Trevallion, letters Annie Parkhouse

The vampire Constanta, previously seen haunting the battlefields of the Napoleonic eastern push of 1812 and the failed Nazi push into Russia in WWII, has pitched up on the Western Front of WWI here. But, unlike previous tales, this one’s taken a sharp left turn away from the horror of vampire versus human, into a more horror movie thing, with the addition of old UK comics character, the Black Max, who’s attempting to use Constanta’s vampire genes to breed his bat creatures.

For what it is, a big, old-fashioned monster versus monster tale, complete with aerial battles to come between Constanta’s flying form and Black Max’s biplane, it’s over-the-top fun stuff. But, compared to both the original Fiends tale and Edginton’s 1812, with Dave Taylor, it’s just lacking that horrific edge.

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