The Weekly 2000 AD – Prog 2126 Previewed: Mars Attacks!

by Richard Bruton

Once again, the Weekly 2000 AD at casts its eye over the Greatest sci-fi comic to come out of these not so great British Isles (seriously, have you seen the absolute farce of our parliament?)

It all kicks off this Prog with a cracking D’Israeli cover announcing the return of those malevolent Martians in Scarlet Traces, and it’s a beauty, all 50s B movie poster looks…

Prog 2126 comes out on digital and in UK comic shops on 10 April, if you’re somewhere out of the UK, make sure you order a comic at your local comic shop. You won’t regret it!

JUDGE DREDD: THE LONG GAME – Michael Carroll and Mark Sexton, colours John Charles, letters Annie Parkhouse.

If your an illegal couple in MC-1 and a local thug is putting pressure on you, just who can you go to?

The answer, here in The Long Game, seems to be the mysterious Mr Sage and The Parliament. He’s a secretive sort, operating outside the law, a MC-1 fixer for those who can’t go to the judges.

The Long Game is that fascinating thing, a Dredd strip where Dredd appears in just 2 panels (3 if you count the one where it’s just his hand and Lawgiver) but has the spectre of Dredd and the Judges everywhere. Where Carroll takes it… well, we’ll be finding out in the next Prog, no doubt, but it’s a great opener, complete with some beautifully detailed artwork from Sexton.

SURVIVAL GEEKS: DUNGEONS & DRAGONS (BASIC) – PART 4 – Gordon Rennie & Emma Beeny, Neil Googe, colours Gary Caldwell, letters Annie Parkhouse

“Ahh, the alluring odour of Lynx deodorant, cheap cider, and sexual desperation.” Thus opens the latest episode of the ever-excellent Survival Geeks.

It’s more role playing romps and a chance for Sam to revisit the fateful party that landed her with the three geeks in the first place. What’s she going to do? Will true (geek) love win the day?

Read it and find out, dear reader. It’s silly, it’s funny, it’s actually rather sweet and the last thing you were expecting here would be to get something even close to a love story… but here it is.

KINGMAKER: OUROBOROS – PART 4 – Ian Edginton and Leigh Gallagher, letters by Ellie De Ville

It’s a fantasy strip molded in a Lord of the Rings style sure, but with Gallagher’s artwork, it’s a beautiful, lush, delicately drawn piece, full of artist-killing detailing when it’s called for, but also allowing Gallagher to go tight on the faces of the main players, showing he’s just as capable of doing perfect expressions as he is rich fantasy landscapes, just like this…

Gorgeous, don’t you think?

Thus far, we’ve done the first couple of episodes of initial drama, the switch to the Thorn ship and the political intrigues and murders, and now, we’re doing that favourite LOTR thing, the walk… all the way to the Kingdom of the Stone People and the Hall of the Mountain King. (Cue that music, classical version or Manic Miner, depending on your age). Yep, it’s an enjoyable fantasy romp is Kingmaker.

MAX NORMAL: HOW MAX GOT HIS STRIPES – PART 3 – Guy Adams and Dan Cornwell, colours Jim Boswell, letters

If you were wondering when we were going to get to the origin of old Max Normal, here’s where it all begins, with a raggamuffin Max living rough on the streets, until he happens into the midst of a certain Shuggy hall and his life changes forever.

Meanwhile, back in the now, Max is the proud owner of Mega-City One’s finest Shuggy Hall, the Golden Pocket, the very shuggy hall he stumbled into as a kid. Well, that’s what he thinks. You ask his simian pal, Vito, and he’d tell you straight off that Max Normal has turned into Max Mental, putting a fortune in creds down for a complete wreck, for a game no-one’s interested in anymore!

Adams’ story and dialogue is nice and solid here, with plenty of character building across each issue. But, for me, the star of the show is Cornwell. His style is a variable thing, cartoonish exageration at times in the past and in the comedy fights of the last prog, but there’s a perfect moment here where the mood turns that little bit sombre and reflective, with that image of Max above, and Cornwell just nails it, straight off.

SCARLET TRACES: HOME FRONT – Part 1 – Ian Edginton and D’Israeli, letters Ellie De Ville

It’s 1968 and now three decades have passed since Mars waged war on Earth. Every major power on Earth has access to Martian derived tech. Poor old Britain, having suffered the brunt of the Martian bombardment in the 40s, is still recovering, with much of the South of England still barren and destroyed.

Things didn’t get any easier in the 50s, as Earth welcomed over two million Venusian refugees, after the Martians invaded their planet. And as as you’d expect, they continue to have to put up with bigots and racists.

But, things are going to get a lot worse now, after the Martians managed to weaponise the sun (yes, THE SUN), destory humanity’s battle fleet, and are heading towards Earth once more, with Earth’s major cities emptying and a mass migration underway.

That’s where we join Scarlet Traces, Home Front, as Edginton and D’Israeli come together once more for another instalment of a series that’s always been a joy to read and fabulous to behold.

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