The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2198: Sinister Dexter Get Hot In The City

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 Luke Preece

Prog 2198 is out in the UK on 9 September on digital and from newsagents and comic shops. Yes, get out and support them but please do it properly – mask up, keep your distance. We will get through it. Together. Safely.

Now, on with the Prog…

2000 AD Prog 2198. That’s really rather a damn fine cover from Luke Preece, don’t you think?

Inside, it’s all building towards the big stepping on Prog of 2200. So, as you’d expect from that cover, we see another slight return of Downlode’s finest, Sinister Dexter, in Ghostlands. There’s also the second part of the Tharg’s 3Riller, Saphir, another slight return for The Diaboliks. And of course, there’s the build up for the ending of both Judge Dredd End Of Days and for perhaps the greatest new strip of recent years, The Out.

JUDGE DREDD: END OF DAYS – PART 14 – Rob Williams, Henry Flint, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Well, there you go – we know just who the last Horseman, Death, is now – and yes, it was always going to be thus.

Seriously, it’s there on the first page of this penultimate part of End of Days…

I… am… the law… and the law is annihilation

Yep, it’s all gone wrong, all Joe Dredd has actually managed to do here is be a passenger whilst everyone else deals with things, whether that’s Ichabod, Anderson, or The Sovs. And now, he’s more of a threat than anything else, meaning that someone or something has to step up and deal with what Dredd’s become.

The bigger question about End of Days was never really whether Dredd would become some form of the big bad in the end but where the series was going. With just one episode to go after this, we’re either going to have a very quick finale, the sort of thing where crisis is averted immediately and everything goes back to the status quo or whether we get the ramifications of End of Days coming thick and fast with another Williams written Dredd very quickly on the heels of End of Days. There’s even the remote possibility that this is truly an End of Days moment for Dredd – or art least Dredd as we know him right now. One episode to go – so it’s just one more week till we find out at least some of the answers.

THE OUT – PART 11 – Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Her therapy session over, we now now just what launched Cyd Finlea into space, why she went into the Out, what she was looking for, what she was escaping from. And it was done so skillfully, giving us an emotional punch in the most personal reveal of the series thus far.

You see it right here on page 1 of this penultimate episode, the loss of a daughter – yet not the loss we’d considered before – a shocking, brutal, tragic thing. And you realise the emptiness of Cyd’s life, the huge hole that she just can’t hope to fill, and why she’s spent so long in the Out.

Another perfect episode in the best new series from 2000 AD in a long time. One more episode to go, but a second series in the works as we speak.

THARG’S 3RILLERS PRESENT – SAPHIR – PART 2 – Kek-W, David Roach, colours by Peter Doherty, letters by Simon Bowland

Well, it ‘aint the Paris of 1899 that Inspector Alphonse Mucha knew, that’s for certain. Instead, he’s in the company of a blue woman deep in the Hive-City of the Carrion-Men and it’s got something to do with the mysterious death (maybe) of Lady Sofia Corundum and the blue Saphir.

And although it’s probably not the Alphonse Mucha (although frankly, this one’s so off the wall that anything’s possible at this point), we do get to see David Roach give us a wonderful Mucha-esque femme fatale in the shape of the Lady Sofia all tied up in the clutches of… well, it’s Jacob Rees-Mogg, that particularly nasty little example of English entitlement and a class system gone so very wrong.

Anyway, it’s Art Nouveau meets Lovecraft with a Tory knob as the enemy – rather liking this.

SINISTER DEXTER – BULLETOPIA CHAPTER 3 – GHOSTLANDS – PART 1 – Dan Abnett and Nicolo Assirelli, colours by John Charles, letters by Jim Campbell

It’s the gun-sharks versus the AI taking over Downlode. All they have in their corner is Carrie Hosanna (Finnigan’s ex-wife – much to her surprise thanks to the whole continuum reboot) and Billi Octavo (who remembers Finn and Ray for some reason despite said reboot).

Billi’s found one of the designers of the AI, a tattooist called Momoa, and hidden him in the Ghostlands, a new development where nothing’s hardwired yet. She hired a PI to find him, and what do you know, Finn’s met his ex-wife, time for Ray to get a blast from the past.

Weird seeing Sinister Dexter done by someone other than Steve Yeowell again. It just seems a little off, I miss that solidity, that sense of control that Yeowell brought to the strip.

THE DIABOLIKS – A CROOKED BEAT – PART 2 – Gordon Rennie, Dom Reardon, letters by Jim Campbell

So, it’s the Diaboliks meets a Johnny Constantine-a-like in Jake Pazuzu, punk rocker and presumably the whole crooked beat of the title.

And he wants in on the Maleus action the Diaboliks have gotten themselves and protection from another group of god-botherers, Deus Vult, who are hot on his heels.

It’s all tootling along nicely – although how this is going to be all done in just 5 pages next Prog, no idea. And damn, isn’t Dom Reardon’s art just stunning in its rawness, it’s scratchy beauty – exactly the sort of different look we need to see in 2000 AD.

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