The 2000AD Preview: Progs 2091 – 2094, Coming To You In September

by Richard Bruton

For the past four decades, 2000AD has been delivering a weekly dose of Thrill-Power to comic shops and newsagents across Britain. Over in the states, you have to wait for the four-issue monthly packs to hit the shelves and it’s come to our attention that you don’t get to see it all that much. Here’s where we try to change all that, showing you just why 2000AD is, consistently, the greatest anthology sci-fi comic out there. Ask for it by name in your store. Here’s what’s happening in the 2000AD monthly pack that should be in your local comic shop sometime in September.
Enjoy the preview!
First though – cover of the month has to go to Mark Harrison’s Grey Area cover for Prog 2091…

Judge Dredd: A Better Class Of Criminal – Rory McConville and Leonardo Manco (Prog 2091-2094)
Leonardo Manco’s second stint at 2000AD. He provided the gorgeous artwork for a Rogue Trooper strip a while back. And it’s a delight to see him in the pages of 2000AD once more, his artwork looking just perfect for the comic. Providing the story we have Rory McConville, one of the new generation of 2000AD writers, proving to be a more than safe pair of hands for all things Dredd.
There’s a gang of superpowered perps running around the big Meg in McConville and Manco’s tale and it’s one of those classic little bits of self-contained 4-part Dredd that the comic has delivered so well over the years.
The Order: The New World – Kek-W and John Burns (Prog 2091-2094)
Ok, although I maintain that 2000AD is the best anthology comic out there, I will admit that there are strips in the comic that I just don’t get. And sadly, The Order is one of those. Hey, any good anthology will have enough variety that no-one can enjoy all the strips all of the time. And thus it is with me and The Order.
On the plus side, I still love John Burns’ artwork, but as for the story… you know when you read something and by the end of the page you realise you haven’t taken anything in and need to reread the thing? That’s what The Order does to me. But, having said all that, you might love it. One interesting thing that has happened here in this latest story is the bizarre inclusion of Armoured Gideon, a long-lost character last seen in the pages of 2000AD in the 90s.

Grey Area: K.I.A. / Suspension / 86 / The Laundry Room – Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison (Prog 2091-2094)
As usual, trouble rears up in the Grey Area Exo-Immigration Zone, the alien holding area policed by the Exo Transfer Control Officers.
After last week’s shock confrontation with a big-ass nasty code one, Buillet’s team have two officer’s down and he’s pissed at the total failure of screening to identify the threat. It’s another twist in Abnett’s tale, spectacularly visualised by Harrison, and although I don’t know where they’re heading with this one, I do know from past experience, that it should be fabulous.
With Grey Area, Abnett structures the tales as small pieces that flow from one to the next, so the 2-parts of K.I.A. move straight into Suspension, where a sombre and thinking of quitting Birdy writes home. And from there we’re left with the possibility that both Birdy and Buillet will be leaving the Exo-Squad, after they get to the bottom of just who’s to blame for the cock up that cost them dear. And then it’s on to 86 and The Laundry Room, where we see Builliet and Birdy put together a new 86 team and then head off somewhere darker, to a surprise twist in the tale.
Grey Area is one of the best things that’s been in 2000AD for many a year, with Abnett’s writing on top form, exploring subtleties of the concept in the tradition of the best sci-fi. And, although, there have been quite a few very goo there’s a brilliance in what he’s doing that’s elevated it to another level.

Damned – The Fall Of Deadworld -Kek-W and Dave Kendall – (Progs 2091-2092)
More from the Deadworld, where Judge Death and the Dark Judges are well on their way to turning a nightmarish world for all those living there into a nightmarish world filled with corpses. We know where it’s all going, but the journey is definitely the thing in this one, all set to Kendall’s art that’s perfect for the strip.
With the final two parts here (it returns at Christmas) we’re looking at threads coming brutally together with Technician Casey facing down Judge Death and the missiles about to start flying. It’s a great ending to the strip, mirroring the events we saw so many years ago in MC-1.

Mechastopheles: True Faith – Gordon Rennie, Lawrence Rennie, Karl Richardson – (Progs 2092-2094)
This started out as one of the three part Tharg’s 3Rillers, with demonic transformers roaming the land, set a year after the fall, when the demons rose and everything went south for humanity. Now, a group of survivors have refuge in the giant demon, Mechastopheles, but how long before things go wrong – after all, can you really trust a demon?
It all came about when Gordon Rennie told his son he fancied writing a story of a big demon robot in hell. That’s still pretty much all you need to know to get into it and enjoy it as much as I am. Big robot demon fights a plenty, all done real well by Karl Richardson. And big? Think city big and you get an idea of the scale at play here.

Tharg’s 3Rillers: Appetite – James Peaty and Andrea Mutti (Prog 2093-2094)
Tharg’s 3Rillers are, essentially, extended Future Shocks – 15 pages across 3 parts instead of the 4 or 5 pages of a Future Shock. This one’s from the writer of the excellent Skip Tracer and new to 2000AD artist Andrea Mutti. It looks quite lovely and I really want to see more of Mutti’s work. But the story just doesn’t really fire too well, a tale of media takeover with a twist, but the twist’s obvious and it’s not as good as I reckon Peaty can deliver.

Terror Tales: Quilli – Laura Bailey and David Hitchcock (Prog 2091)
Terror Tales are another example of 2000AD’s done in one issue, a complete mini story in 5 pages thing, just like their famous Future Shocks. It’s the sort of strip that lets new to 2000AD creators stretch their artistic muscles and deliver the goods. Here it’s Laura Bailey, an up and coming writer (she won the annual Thought Bubble Festival 2000AD writer’s competition) with a growing number of 2000AD tales to her name. Add in David Hitchcock’s striking artwork and a tale of ventriloquism gone wrong turns into a great short tale.
As for covers this time round… four crackers… Prog 2091 Mark Harrison, Prog 2092 Clint Langley, Prog 2093 Karl Richarddson, Prog 2094 Kei Zama.

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