2000 AD Villains Takeover Special – Death In Therapy?

by Richard Bruton

Way, way back when this 2000 AD Villains Takeover Special was announced, we gave you a pretty full preview of the work inside. Now, we’re just around the corner from the 1st of May release date, it’s time to take a look at the actual tales themselves… but first, that Greg Staples cover…

The idea is simple; this was originally a Free Comic Book Day comic, but as you may or may not know, even though publishers can submit two titles to the FCBD organisation, they don’t always get approved. So was the case with this. Rebellion’s solution… put it out as a 99c/99p Special instead.

So, just for a change, it’s time for the villains to take centre-stage here. Enough of Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog, Slaine, and the rest. Time for the bad guys to take a bow…

And it all kicks off with the biggest, baddest villain of the lot…

JUDGE DEATH: THE JUDGE WHO LAUGHS – Rob Williams and Henrik Sahlstrom, letters by Simon Bowland

What happens when the chief Dark Judge checks in for a spot of therapy?

That’s the idea in The Judge Who Laughs. What keeps Death up at night? Who haunts his dreams? You might guess that one, but you might not guess why. But you’ll find out along with the therapist. Oh, that poor therapist.

Yet again, Rob Williams comes up with a short Dredd that gets right to the heart of the character, even when he’s only really there to be talked about, and Sahlstrom’s artwork gives us a wonderfully expressive Death.

BRASS AND BLAND: THE PROFESSIONALS – Karl Stock and Kael Ngu, colors by Barbara Nosenzo, letters by Oz Osbourne

In the devastated wasteland of Nu Earth, where the war between the Nort and Souther armies wages, there’s always some money to be made, which is just what Mr Brass and Mr Bland decided to do, looting the bodies of the fallen for profit.

The Professionals is a strange little tale, of arms trading and operating systems, war droids, and double-dealing. Trouble is, after that Judge Death strip, it just feels somewhat listless, not really going anywhere… occasionally the issue with done in one things.

THE LORD WEIRD SLOUGH FEG: LORD OF THE HUNT – Pat Mills and Kyle Hotz, letters by Ellie De Ville

Slaine has many enemies, but few as terrifying as Lord Weird Slough Feg, Drune Lord with powers to raise the dead and take on new forms at will. And here’s a short little tale, told from a travelling storyteller’s perspective, of the truth of the Drune Lords, with Lord Weird Slough Feg the very worst of them.

Simple enough tale, but it comes alive with Kyle Hotz showing us, in glorious, gruesome black and white, shades of Kelley Jones at times, and perfect for the story. Lord Weird never looked more decrepid and downright nasty… and he even does a fine looking Slaine!

STIX: SLEEPING DOGS LIE – Matt Smith and Chris Weston, letters by Simon Bowland

The Strontium Dogs are mutant bounty hunters, tracking their prey across the Galaxy. There have been good Dogs and there have been bad dogs, but few are as downright dastardly as the Stix, a clan of identical mutant siblings, not afraid to do the wrong thing.

Another tale told via storyteller, this time mama Stix telling a bedtime story of famous brother Tyrus Stix and the time he defeated the famous Johnny Alpha. It’s another neatly done tale, again elevated beyond the simplicity of the plot by Chris Weston’s artwork, including a bittersweet dedication to Carlos Ezquerra and a beautiful page for Strontium Dog’s much missed co-creator…

THARG’S TERROR TALES: THE LAST OF THE HELLPHIBIANS – The Feek and Henry Flint, letters Ozvaldo Sanchez

What would any 2000 AD Special be without either a Tharg’s Terror Tale or the fabulous art stylings of Henry Flint. Anyone suggesting that he has certain compromising photos of Tharg would be completely wrong.

Nah, Flint’s artwok here is as gorgeous as it usually is, and perfect for a tale of something hideous coming from water. Plus, cricket playing nuns!

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