The Weekly 2000 AD, the Comicon.com look at the best of British sci-fi every seven of our Earth days.
Let’s begin by talking about that spectacular cover by Tula Lotay. Iconic Anderson shot or what?
Prog 2137 comes out on digital and in UK comic shops on 26 June.
JUDGE DREDD: THE SAMARITAN – PART 2 – Kenneth Niemand, Staz Johnson, colors Chris Blyther, letters Annie Parkhouse
The Samaritan is a big Meg hero, at least in her own head. The Justice Department isn’t so sure. She sees what she does as rescuing the dead and dying, forcing them into surgery to save themselves. Dredd and The JD see a criminal assaulting unsuspecting cits.
Last Prog, she got a Psi-flash of a victim, shot, dying. And it didn’t come as too much of a surprise to work out who it was… but damn, that was a fine last page from Prog 2136…
And that’s where we begin here in Prog 2137. Dredd waking up, remembering what happened. Great dialogue from Niemand capturing the essence of the character as well…
No blaze of glory, no saving-the-city big stakes. Deep down, this is how he always thought it would end.
Fallen in the line of duty
But no, not today. Not yet. Instead, he’s woken up and presented the Samaritan with a big problem. What the hell to do.
Alongside this, Nieman takes on the latest storyline from John Wagner, integrating the new line of robo-judges into the tale. It’s well done, showing just how useful they can be – and how naive – as we see when Judge Patsy asks Rico for help tracking Dredd through the clone bloodline link. Yes, robo-judges can patch into comms and the memories of other tech, but clones just don’t work that way…
It’s turning into a fascinating storyline, with Dredd on the sidelines (or more accurately, tied down to a bed recovering and dosed up on trancs while the Samaritan figures out what to do with him.
SCARLET TRACES: HOME FRONT – Part 11 – Ian Edginton and D’Israeli, letters Ellie De Ville
This run of Scarlet Traces has been one to focus tight on the ground, the little people and how they react to the threat of the Martian invasion. And that’s what’s proving fascinating, seeing how Edginton and D’Israeli keep shifting attention almost every episode. Last issue we headed out to the moon, here we’re back in leafy Birmingham, the TV presenter and her Venusian resistance companions hunting supplies in the empty BBC Pebble Mill building. But, even as an interlude, it’s still full of great little moments, tightly concentrated on the small moments… a security guard falling back on his job when there’s no one left, the resistance hemmed in, a political moment and then, following discovery, the glimpse of something bigger happening above them, out of their scope.
Fascinating, enjoyable, gorgeous to look at as always. This Scarlet Traces is a fabulously low-key thing.
ANDERSON PSI-DIVISION: MARTYRS – Emma Beeby. Aneke, colors by Barbara Nosenzo, letters by Simon Bowland
In last year’s Undertow (Progs 2073-2080), we saw the possessed Psi-Judge Karyn and witnessed Anderson’s attempts to save her. Now, Karyn is in training and rehab, with Anderson sticking by her.
Problem is, Karyn’s bad side is still there, simmering under the surface, and her handlers know they can’t trust her yet, even if Anderson does.
Undertow showed how good Beeby’s Anderson could be, Martyrs is hopefully going to continue that. Aneke is new to the pages of 2000 AD, but she’s showing good style, mixing old and new to good effect. Very promising opener.
THISTLEBONE – PART 2 – TC Eglington, Simon Davis, letters by Annie Parkhouse
The slow build on Thistlebone is proving just as deliciously dark as Davis’ art is consistently beautiful.
Cult survivor Avril and journalist Seema are investigating the village of Harrowvale, the village where Avril was held prisoner of the cult intending to sacrifice her to the deity they called Thistlebone.
It’s all about getting the mood just right and Eglington’s writing is doing exactly that, where even those kids on the first page seem somehow threatening, some part of the whole mysterious, folk horror vibe to it all. And when we drop back into Avril’s memories, we see just some of the creeping horror of the past that may well be bleeding into the now.
And there’s a lot to do with language and symbolism that plays large into all that’s going on, most evident with the circle of crows, all blood and ominous warnings – although we’re just not sure if it’s all just in Avril’s head still.
Thistlebone really is turning into one of those 2000 AD strips that may well live long in the memory.
ABSALOM: TERMINAL DIAGNOSIS – PART 2 – Gordon Rennie, Tiernan Trevallion, letters Ellie De Ville
His cancer-ridden body may be failing him, but the determination to see one last mission through, no matter what the cost, no matter who has to die – that’s still as strong as ever.
So, Absalom and his team have raced into The Mills, stronghold of the demonic Rathborne family. It’s not looking good that all of them will be coming out.
Trevallion’s artwork really does look so good here, his grey tones perfect for the mood that’s being set.