The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2187: Time To Head To The Out

by Richard Bruton

The Weekly 2000 AD… Week in and week out, giving you the preview of the new 2000 AD Prog. The UK’s best sci-fi weekly since 1977. Four decades and still going strong.

Cover by Mark Harrison

Prog 2187 is out in the UK on 24 June on digital and from newsagents and comic shops. Support those local comic shops as they begin reopening slowly and tentatively – they’ve been there for you all these years, now it’s time for you to support them.

Right then, Prog 2187 – and it’s all about The Out, a new series from the team behind Grey Area, one of my favourites of recent years, Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison. The Out takes the place of Sinister Dexter, after a quick trio of tales for the opener of Bulletopia. Everything else is continuing, so that’s more searching for those Four Horsemen in Judge Dredd: End Of Days, more fun with Full Tilt Boogie, more historical goings-on in The Order, and more demonic madness in The Diaboliks.

JUDGE DREDD: END OF DAYS – PART 4Rob Williams, Colin MacNeil, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland

Judge Dredd, Anderson, a team of hand-picked Judges, the head of an Angel, and that Cowboy are heading out to find and defeat the Four Horsemen – first stop, Brit-Cit and Famine… it really doesn’t look good.

The adventure begins, four Horsemen, four locations, a small team, little hope of them all getting back alive. Yes, it’s a fun round the world adventure type thing, with MacNeil’s artwork looking incredible all through.

FULL TILT BOOGIE – PART 3Alex De Campi, Eduardo Ocana, letters by Simon Bowland

Last episode, the five knights were picked to defend the Luxine Empire, including Prince Ifan’s regal sister – and here we see the results of that, beautifully set out by Ocana with that perfectly light and clear linework against a lush watercolour backdrop.

Elsewhere, the crew of the Full Tilt Boogie drop off Prince Ifan to a seriously obsessed fan willing to pay to have him at her side. Hey, Tee has bills to pay and a ship to run and Grandma really wants to go shopping.

The fun just keeps coming here, there’s a lovely lightness to the tale, albeit with a growing sense of things about to get serious.

THE OUT – PART 1Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Cyd Finlea is a photo-journalist working for Global Neographic, with her adventures taking her far into outer space, simply called The Out. Her role is to catalogue and photograph all those wonders of the alien societies she comes into contact with.

She’s been in The Out for so long that she’s getting just that little bit jaded now, no matter what the spectacular thing she’s looking at.

This is pure intro episode, here she is, this is what she does, this is where she does it sort of thing. Cyd’s life explained across five pages, simply yet beautifully done, set against a backdrop of alien wonder.

It’s a perfect example of how to get that first episode exactly right, drawing the reader in, giving them all the info they need, all the background, yet doing so without it feeling like exposition. Instead, it simply feels like the most natural and fascinating conversation you’ve ever been in.

And of course, so much of what makes The Out just so perfect in this first episode is the sheer alienness of the strip, and that’s thanks so much to the incredible artwork of Mark Harrison. Take a look at that art above. That’s just a small part of a panel, just to show you the detail Harrison packs into this. And it works so well, his pages just screamed other, full of interesting little features, yet still managing to guide you through often complicated, even busy, page designs and layouts.

This is a cracking first episode that brings us straight into a spectacular world immediately, with Mark Harrison’s artwork just perfect for exploring the galaxy through a photo-journo’s lens.

No idea where this is going, whether Abnett’s bringing in some bigger plot elements to it. But based on what I’ve just read and seen, if they did every single episode as simply Cyd exploring and documenting what she sees, I’d be more than happy with that.

THE ORDER – LAND OF THE FREE – PART 4Kek-W, John Burns, letters by Simon Bowland

Another episode of The Order, another five pages of lovely looking John Burns artwork. Still very little idea of what’s going on or where it’s actually going. Just this episode we get more of the same plus the addition of Armoured Gideon.

Although I did enjoy this line…

But one line isn’t enough to change any of the continued feelings of just having the entire strip wash over me.

And that’s what it does, week in, week out. Just not one for me at all, I’m afraid.

THE DIABOLIKS – LA VITA MALVAGIA – PART 4Gordon Rennie and Dom Reardon, letters by Jim Campbell

Jenny and Solomon, the ex-Caballistics, Inc. agents, are knee-deep in their new role as hired fixers for the church.

First order of business was sorting out the Ossaphage killing and easting its way through the priesthood in a small church. Their solution – not quite what the church intended…

But all that’s going to do is piss off those in power, the Malleus, and history does seem to prove that pissing off the Church is rarely a good thing.

For me, this one’s all about seeing Dom Reardon’s artwork. Yes, Rennie’s story is a fun thing, a diabolical road-trip with stops along the way to deal with whatever they get thrown at them. But it’s Reardon’s sketchy, scratchy artwork that makes this such a great strip.

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