The Weekly 2000AD – Prog 2141 Previewed: Psycho Killer Qu’est-Ce Que C’est? – It’s SJS Pin…

by Richard Bruton

Welcome once more to The Weekly 2000 AD, where takes you for a spin around the UK’s best sci-fi comic.
And this week, it’s all about Judge Dredd, as Rob Williams and Chris Weston return to the tale of SJS Judge Pin, the psychopath who’s set her sights on Dredd. But there’s quality all the way through the Prog, with more folk-horror chills in Thistlebone, the multiversal madness of Indigo Prime, Psi-Judge Anderson‘s cult investigation, and Absalom‘s assault on the demonic forces of the Mills. Five strips, five great reads for you – all coming out in the UK and on digital on 24 July. If you’re further afield, get to your LCS and ask for it by name.
But first, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of Chris Weston‘s Dredd cover…

JUDGE DREDD: CONTROL – Rob Williams, Chris Weston, colours Chris Blythe, letters Annie Parkhouse
The Judge Pin saga is another one of Rob Williams’ tales that’s been a slow burner. We first met the psychopath heading up the SJS a while back, saw her own brand of justice, brutal, bloody, as she built up her collection of Judge’s helmets, all those who she judged unworthy.

And now, she’s ready to move on Dredd. But Dredd is already looking into her. The showdown is going to be spectacular. Williams really is one of the best Dredd writers. Last year it was The Small House with Henry Flint, this year it’s Control. Brilliantly tight writing, fabulous Weston artwork. It’s a great time to be a Dredd fan.

INDIGO PRIME: FALL OF THE HOUSE OF VISTA – Part 3 – KEK-W and Lee Carter, letters by Ellie De Ville
Three episodes in and I’m rather lost in the madness of Indigo Prime. Multiverses, Christhulhu, cracks in the universe skin, multiple parallel Earths, Imagineers, it’s all thrown rather wonderfully at the page, every episode building and building the wonderful madness. It’s one of those strips with a glorious sense of craziness, an ideas feast, Kek-W doing the best job of chucking everything into the strip. There’s a story in here that’s unfolding slowly for sure, but it’s one that’s secondary to the strangeness.

As for the artwork, this is Lee Carter doing the best work I’ve seen from him, the style of the strip and his art style in perfect synergy whether it’s a superbly constructed bizarre boardroom or a stunning psychic assault – Indigo Prime looks just superb.

ANDERSON PSI-DIVISION: MARTYRS – PART 4 – Emma Beeby. Aneke, colors by Barbara Nosenzo, letters by Simon Bowland
The monster inside Psi-Judge Karyn is threatening to burst through, despite the reassurances of the cult of the Lotus. And Anderson finds herself captured and under attack.
Two tales playing out here, both good but not quite firing yet, despite signs that there’s a real strong storyline simmering away. One to keep watching, to keep hoping it’s going to burst into life. However, one thing that is bursting into life is Aneke’s artwork. Four parts in and she finally delivered the moment I was hoping she would, that page where she got into Anderson’s world and into Anderson’s head. This moment…

It’s a great set of images, a wonderful piece of artwork from an artist new to 2000 AD. And it’s damn wonderful to see it happen.

ABSALOM: TERMINAL DIAGNOSIS – Book Two -PART 6 – Gordon Rennie, Tiernan Trevallion, letters Ellie De Ville
The troops are in place, Abasalom’s mob deep in the demonic Mills, split and in real trouble. The title says it all really, this may well be the end, not just for the series, not just for Absalom, but for all involved. It’s end times stuff and there may well be blood.
It’s a kinetic episode and Trevallion nails it so well, his artwork choreographing a fight scene with balletic beauty and a delight in the gruesome ridiculousness of Harry’s predicament.

THISTLEBONE – PART 7 – TC Eglington, Simon Davis, letters by Annie Parkhouse
It’s been a review where I’ve been praising and praising some more the artwork in this Prog, and it’s not going to end before I get to shout to the rooftops about just how damn great the art is here, a breathtaking blast of style, of colours, of beauty, all contributing to a strip that brings a chilling slow-burn of a storyline.
And credit has to go not just to Davis here, but Eglington as well, whose storyline in Thistlebone really is crafting something that is working in a way few 2000 AD strips do and, in doing that, shows just how wonderful this comic can be, how it can embrace genres and styles far beyond the simple remit of a sci-fi anthology. Thistlebone, by being a strip far outside what 2000 AD is known for, is proving just how important 2000 AD is to comics today.
Now, after that intro, I suppose a little about what’s actually going on might be required. Things in Thistlebone are ramping up now, with Avril being accused of being somehow involved with a missing kid in the village, at the same time as she’s doubting herself, questioning everything and losing herself in the chaos and nightmares on her experiences, past and present.

Thistlebone really does have that feel of something incredible, something terrifying, a strip that draws the reader in, story and art working together so well, a strip we’re going to remember for many years to come.

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