The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2199: (Nearly) Everything Must Go

by Richard Bruton

The Weekly 2000 AD… Giving you an advance look at the Thrill-power, Week in and week out since 1977. This week it’s a clearing of the decks, with everything but Sinister Dexter ending for the next jumping on Prog next week for Prog 2200.

Cover by Paul Williams and Chris Blythe

Prog 2199 is out in the UK on 16 September on digital and from newsagents and comic shops. And just because you can go out doesn’t mean you don’t need to take care – masks and hand sanitiser folks – unless you actually trust your Government to make it all better?
Now, on with the Prog…
2000 AD Prog 2199. It’s a deathly Dredd overlooking the Mega-City on that cover by Paul Williams. And inside we’re all end times as well, not just in the finale to ‘Judge Dredd: End of Days, but with every strip (except Sinister Dexter – perhaps Tharg miscounted?) ending so as to lead us into Prog 2200, another jumping on Prog with new Stickleback, new Skip Tracer, and what Tharg describes as ‘an unexpected comeback’ for someone. As for Dredd, we get MC-1 reeling in the wake of End of Days in Carry The Nine.
But that’s next Prog… there’s a whole Prog 2199 to go first. So, shall we?

JUDGE DREDD: END OF DAYS – PART 15 – FINAL PART – Rob Williams, Henry Flint, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Okay, first off – if you haven’t read ‘End of Day’s yet – all you need to know is that it’s Colin MacNeil and Henry Flint delivering some stunning Dredd art over a Rob Williams story and script that, well, it fizzled where it promised to wow, to be honest. Rob’s a great, great Dredd writer, no mistaking that, but here it all just felt too must of a stretch with Dredd, Anderson et al. heading off on a jolly to search and destroy the Four Horsemen.

Here, it’s the end of the ‘End of Days’. We’re looking at the fourth Horseman and he’s just who we all thought he would be. Got to say that I do like that opening passage though, Williams does write tired, knackered old Dredd so well.
It’s been fun for sure, but it all felt a bit pointless, a bit dire peril with no real risk.
Although, there’s a gorgeous very spoilery page in here where you do get a beautiful bit of Flint artwork and a real ‘Gaze into the fist of Dredd moment.’
However, next Prog it’s Williams AND Arthur Wyatt on new strip Carry The Nine. Now, that says to me that we’re looking at Williams’ ‘End of Days’ carrying through to events to come. I’m really hoping that ‘End of Days’ is merely the prelude to something bigger.

THE DIABOLIKS – A CROOKED BEAT – PART 3 – FINAL PART – Gordon Rennie, Dom Reardon, letters by Jim Campbell
Well, the Johnny Constantine-a-like, Jake Pazuzu, is sot of part of the gang now, as they all attempt to see off Deus Vult.
And just like that, it’s all sorted and over. Again, having just these three short parts hardly gives us time to get into much of anything. But hey, I still love seeing Dom Reardon’s artwork here, gloriously scratchy and messy black and white lines, the sort of thing that looks messy but actually is perfectly controlled and has a gorgeous flow to it.

THARG’S 3RILLERS PRESENT – SAPHIR – PART 3 – FINAL PART – Kek-W, David Roach, colours by Peter Doherty, letters by Simon Bowland
Okay, so it’s Inspector Alphonse Mucha versus Jacob Rees-Mogg – if you don’t already know, he’s a venomous, hideous Tory minister who once campaigned for election with his Nanny with him, thinks those of us who went to State schools are “potted plants,” against same-sex marriage and abortion – even in the cases of rape, claimed food banks were ‘rather uplifting‘ – a vile, horrible excuse for a man.
Well, it’s more than that of course. It’s Paris 1899 and Mucha has discovered that there’s a lot more to his world than he thinks – indeed, there’s more worlds than he thinks.
Three parts done, gorgeous David Roach and Peter Doherty artwork, and frankly I’d love to see more from Inspector Mucha and the mysteries of Saphir.

SINISTER DEXTER – BULLETOPIA CHAPTER 3 – GHOSTLANDS – PART 2 – Dan Abnett and Nicolo Assirelli, colours by John Charles, letters by Jim Campbell
Okay then, Ray and Finn are gathering a little group together in their attempt to get one over on the AI that’s taking over Downlode.
Here, they’re picking up one loose end, a tattooist who was one of the designers of the AI. He was found by Billi Octavo and the PI she hired – a PI who Ray knows very, very well, or at least knew her in another life.
And then there’s a twist, shocking, out of nowhere, and God knows where we’re going in the next Prog. Although my bet is that this is a minor blip rather than the shocking twist with any lasting effects.

THE OUT – PART 12 – FINAL PART (SOBS) – Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, letters by Annie Parkhouse
12 episodes of the finest thing that’s been in the Prog for a LONG time. From the very first episode through to this, it’s been spectacular in its grounded, small-scale looking at the big scale from a distance storytelling.
Here, we’re just sitting in with Cyd as she packs her bag for the next phase of her journey. But even here, there’s a chance for Abnett to surprise and for Harrison to amaze with the glorious artwork.
Her bag’s a Flatspace bag, everything inside it gets moved to a small parallel dimension, perfect for travel.
Oh, and it’s also sentient…

Cue the weirdest two-hander episode you’re likely to see, with ‘Bag’ pointing out all the bad, bad things Cyd has done with it so far.

Or the to-and-fro about using ‘Bag’ as a place to hide…

And then, she’s off. One last photo sent out – to where, we have no idea. after all, we have no idea whether Earth is even still there, no matter her employers.
All I know is that The Out has been an absolute triumph. It really has. Yes, it’s a sort of modern-day Halo Jones. But it’s also so much more than that. In Cyd, we have a hero that’s just perfect for us, someone viewing, watching, recording rather than actually doing much of anything. Sure, she’s got something of a purpose now, looking for her daughter… except there’s so little hope of finding her that it’s a pointless search, just something she can hang her sanity off for now.
But through 12 episodes, Abnett and Harrison have crafted something that is truly wonderful. Absolutely, spectacularly, brilliantly down to Earth and about as far from down to Earth as you can get. It’s been a blast. Cannot wait for series 2.

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