The Weekly 2000 AD – Prog 2134 Previewed: Small House Redux For Dredd

by Richard Bruton

The Weekly 2000 AD, our regular look at the insides of the UK’s finest sci-fi comic, full of spectacular strips, week in and week out… This week, we have a very special new done in one Dredd from Rob Williams and Henry Flint, something of an epilogue to their magnificent The Small House saga from 2018.

And the cover-featured strip is a return of the Quilli, the strange ancient god/ventriloquist dummy we first saw in 2018… creepy! we see the conclusion of Max Normal and continuations of Kingmaker and Scarlet Traces.

Quilli Creepiness on the cover from David Hitchcock

Prog 2133 comes out on digital and in UK comic shops on 5 June.

JUDGE DREDD: PETS – Rob Williams, Henry Flint, colors Gary Caldwell, letters Annie Parkhouse

Williams and Flint reunite on Dredd, with something that’s a little epilogue to the Small House from 2018, where Dredd and his little group took down Smiley, where people died and, it seems, things were left rather unresolved.

Giant and Dredd meet up for the first time since then, with Giant none too happy at the old man. And, as a simple tale of Justice Dept Cyber-Dog hacking plays out, Williams gets to play out a final page loaded down with meaning. As for Flint, it’s strange, to be honest, to see him drawing Dredd in the bright light of the outdoors during the day, but beautifully done here, as always.

SCARLET TRACES: HOME FRONT – Part 8 – Ian Edginton and D’Israeli, letters Ellie De Ville

We’re underground, giving D’Israeli’s color palette even more chance to impress, with his subterreanean hues of green and orange giving everything an eerie glow. And, as we’re taken round this resistance bunker, we learn a little more of our Venusian hosts, and a tantalising hint of life on other planets past Venus, Mars and Earth.

It’s such a wonderfully low-key serial, with Edginton carefully teasing out everything, playing the long, slow game. But, that’s part of the charm of Scarlet Traces, and has been through it’s long history.

TERROR TALES: THE QUILLI COMMITTEE – Laura Bailey, David Hitchcock, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Ventriloquist Jerry Reginaldo claimed to be channelling an ancient God called Quilli through his puppet. Now, it’s gained something of a cult following… and a reporter is determined to get on the inside at the Quilli shelter.

Hitchcock’s art is perfect for this sort of strip, and Bailey’s story promises much more to come in the future. Hopefully soon, there’s a longer tale in here waiting to get out. But, as a single issue thing, it’s mere appetiser when it needed something bigger.

KINGMAKER: OUROBOROS – PART 11 – Ian Edginton and Leigh Gallagher, letters by Ellie De Ville

After Crixus led everyone to an unexpected victory and an even more unexpected leap into diplmacy and forging most un-Orc-like alliances, we’re leaping back off world, to The Horde top brass, where we get just a hint of the absolute nightmare that’s about to come raining down on Earth.

Kingmaker continues to be a great strip, switching things up and around, a fantasy with political elements, Lord of the Rings with bite, and looking wonderful.

MAX NORMAL: HOW MAX GOT HIS STRIPES – PART 10 – Guy Adams and Dan Cornwell, colours Jim Boswell, letters Simon Bowland

The finale to Max Normal’s origin story erupts in all-shuggy action as Max and Vito take on the juves in the Shuggy hall. And we even get a cameo from Dredd… seems Vito’s got himself a secret crush.

It’s been an excellent, unexpected delight, Adams writing hitting the right mix of telling a tight tale and never taking it too seriously. But it’s Cornwell who’s been the star here, with some really great artwork, veering between playing things straight and going all out.

Until next time, baby? Oh yes please Max, yes please.

And before we go, a little teaser for next week and the start of something that looks rather wonderful…

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