The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #219: Exactly Like A Bear With A Sore Head

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 Richard Elson

Prog #2192 is out in the UK on 29 July on digital and from newsagents and comic shops. Grab your masks, sanitise those hands, keep the 2m distance rule, and scamper down to your local comic shop or newsagent for the new Prog.
So… Prog 2192 and we’re deep into all five strips here. We have space boogie action, Diabolikal goings-on, timey-wimey Order things, and of course, my favourite new strip that’s been in these pages for a long, long time… the OUT. And yes, the return (again) of a certain cover-featured bear.
Shall we? Oh, why not…

JUDGE DREDD: END OF DAYS – PART 9 – Rob Williams, Henry Flint, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse
The Angel’s head is lying on the floor, Ichabod’s got a very bust leg, and Dredd is having a bit of Shako trouble. Yes, it’s no under-exaggeration to say that Pestilence has the upper hand here.
So, first of all, the bringing back of Shako? It’s one of those hmmm moments. In the recent Sci-Fi Special, where Abnett and Elson brought Shako back for a meeting with Gene the Hackman, it was a one-off, totally self-contained and played into the mythos of both characters. Here though, it’s Shako given the Pestilence twist and it’s one that comes off a bit more like a special guest appearance in something Marvel or DC might put out. Does it work? Well yes, but it’s not an essential thing and, frankly, anything could have been here in place of the great (not so white anymore) bear.
However, one thing we do get, gloriously, is Henry Flint getting to show us all the Ursine versus Lawman action with a weakened Dredd facing down a Pestilence controlled Shako. And my word, it looks superb, it really does.
Now, eight parts in and Pestilence has infected the world, with the released virus travelling on the winds – so even with Pestilence stopped, who really needs Horsemen numbers three and four?
That’s what Dredd’s thinking anyway. So, what are we left with? Ichabod got rid of the first Horseman. Dredd takes care of Pestilence. What story element has been sitting there since back in the first episode?

Yeah, looks like the Angel is going to get his moment to shine now. But that still leaves us the few questions of all this – how’s the Angel going to pull a victory out of Dredd’s defeat, who is the third Horseman going to be, and at what point will we get surprised by the identity of the fourth Horseman? Place your bets now folks.

FULL TILT BOOGIE – PART 8 – Alex De Campi, Eduardo Ocana, letters by Simon Bowland
Battle lines have been drawn, The Luxine Knights versus the crew of the good ship Full Tilt Boogie, and yes, if it all feels a big Power Rangers, I suspect that’s about where it’s meant to be.

Grandma’s got her tea on, which is nice, but things with Horus are a little off.
We’re racing to the end now and it’s a fine, fine thing indeed, with De Campi and Ocana doing wonders with bringing a great all-ages strip into a perfect place within the pages of the Prog.

THE DIABOLIKS – PROFONDO ROSSO – PART 5 – Gordon Rennie and Antonio Fuso, letters by Jim Campbell
Oh, poor old Damien Dellamore, locked in a police interrogation room with Franco, Ennio, and Paulo… all of whom have many reasons to beat the living crap out of this particular lothario.
And then a couple of cracking double-page spreads from Fuso, particularly troublesome across digital where the page breaks always seem to come at the wrong time. But damn, these are lovely spreads – trust me.
And all the while, we get to see the Red Madonna in terrifying action.
This one really ramps up the action, and it’s Fuso’s show all the way through.

THE ORDER – LAND OF THE FREE – PART 9 – Kek-W, John Burns, letters by Simon Bowland
1794 Strasbourg, things are happening. The Order are trying to escape Philaedelphia by ship, and there’s plenty of folks who don’t want them doing that. There’s Francis Bacon on one side, Ben Franklin on the other who, for some reason, thinks Simeon Webb’s tidal charts are very, very important. And…
Oh hell, another five pages I meandered through as mere observer. John Burns’ art looks lovely though.

THE OUT – PART 6 – Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, letters by Annie Parkhouse
As things get worse, Cyd Finlea, photo-journo, has decided to take herself deeper into things, volunteering as part of the aid taskforce headed into the warzone created by the invading Tankinar.
It’s a big step she’s taking, actively, actually getting involved, walking into the zone, documenting all that’s going on. Her, a couple of medics, five war witnesses, and Daddylack, the protection officer assigned to them all. Think giant panda with a big attitude and body armour.

The world-building just gets bigger and bigger in the Out, Cyd’s photo snapshots illuminating this strange world for us even as we get glimpses, through what she sees and what she says, into everything else going on here.
It’s just beautifully, wonderfully done, definitely my favourite thing I’ve read in the Prog for a long, long time.

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