The Weekly 2000 AD – Prog 2128 Previewed: Normal To The Max!

by Richard Bruton

Another week, another fantastic five strips in the Galaxy’s Greatest comic. It’s time for the weekly 2000 AD, Comicon.com’s look at what’s happening in the pages of 2000 AD…

Such an understated Max Normal cover by Staz Johnson, but when you look deeper, it’s a beautifully done image, following that iconic idea of the foreshadowing shadow, where young Max stands defiant before the Judges, truly the kid who would be the King of Cool.

As for what you’ll find inside; the ongoing Dredd – The Long Game, Scarlet Traces, Max Normal, and Kingmaker strips are joined by Juncture, a Future Shock from the exciting team of Andi Ewington and Anna Morozova.

Prog 2128 comes out on digital and in UK comic shops on 24 April. Anywhere else? Ask at your local comic shop for the best UK sci-fi comic around!

JUDGE DREDD: THE LONG GAME – PART 3 – Michael Carroll and Mark Sexton, colours John Charles, letters Annie Parkhouse.

More Dredd-lite Dredd from Carroll and Sexton, where we’re deep into the world of organised crime, with two opposing factions, The Parliament and The Kindred, working for an alliance and a dead made man turning up means there’s a place on The Parliament’s high table up for grabs.

But, before any of that gets settled, the body needs grabbing from the Justice Department med-centre morgue before they can scan it, something that would, inevitably, lead the Js to The Parliament.

More mysteries unfold, exactly how does Sage know that Dredd’s on his way? Are they connected? Is Sage deep undercover? Something else? There’s more later in this week’s stealth mission that hints at Sage’s involvement but, as I expect from Carroll’s story, nothing plays out too fast.

This is a perfectly done slow-build of a Dredd tale, with Sexton delighting with his fine lines as he gives us something that looks, for all the world like Dredd crossing over with James Bond. Loving it.

SCARLET TRACES: HOME FRONT – Part 3 – Ian Edginton and D’Israeli, letters Ellie De Ville

And just like that, the Martians are here and Earth is looking at total domination once more. Last Prog we saw the bombardment, here we’re down on the ground, seeeing the devastating force the cylinders and the tripods wield once again. Now, just what role Mrs Hemming, last person on Mars during the second World War, has in all this we’re still waiting on, but the excitement of seeing things all kick off here is a delight.

Star of the show with Scarlet Traces, and I’m sure Edginton would be first to agree, is D’Israeli’s artwork. It’s unlike anything else you’ll see in 2000 AD, always evolving, always looking amazing. You’d hesitate to call it minimal, it’s more to do with how he uses colour so integrally to do the work that other artists would add more and more detail. Here, it’s a spectacular mix of reds, oranges, yellows throughout, punctuated with Martian greens, as we watch London burn and the Martians takeover.

MAX NORMAL: HOW MAX GOT HIS STRIPES – PART 5 – Guy Adams and Dan Cornwell, colours Jim Boswell, letters Simon Bowland

As the Golden Pocket opens and Vito parties, Max is trying to stop dwelling on the past, as we disappear into a reverie of how Max learnt to be Max Normal, the speech, the clothes, the attitude, all taught. And how best to do it? “Montage, baby… because who has time for backstory?

And that’s all that’s so good with this Max Normal strip, that way that Adams and Cornwell have taken a throwaway background character, decoration in drab Mega-City, and given him meaning and a past, but refuse to let him turn into someone less than flamboyantly cool, never dropping far into melancholy.

It’s good because it keeps the essence of the man, keeps the fun of the character, yet still gives us both a great tale and a little more on Max.

FUTURE SHOCKS: JUNCTURE – Andi Ewington and Anna Morozova, letters Annie Parkhouse

Ewington’s last was the 3Riller Tooth and Nail, but this is Anna Morozova’s first 2000 AD work, but I can say that it won’t be her last, not on this form. It’s a look that’s clean line, with added style and flair, and one that really looks great.

As for the Future Shock, well it’s a fun twist thing, all taking place in Fortitude, “Caring for the Superheroes of Yesteryear, Today!” Five pages, one twist, nicely done, can’t ask for more than that in a Future Shock!

KINGMAKER: OUROBOROS – PART 5 – Ian Edginton and Leigh Gallagher, letters by Ellie De Ville

Crixus the Ork, Ablard the Wizard, and Yarrow, the Dryad Princess, have made their way into the Hall of the Mountain King, overrun with goblins and Orks and… Daddy?

Yes, family reunion time in Kingmaker and a look into the history of the Orks. Another really well constructed episode, with Edginton fluidly mixing exposition and action, all delivered with such beauty from Gallagher. Gorgeous.

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