The Weekly 2000 AD #Prog 2215: Kiss This Axe!

by Richard Bruton

The Weekly 2000 AD, giving you a weekly glimpse inside the thrill-powered pages of the UK’s finest sci-fi comic. No matter how bad it might be out in the real world, 2000 AD keeps delivering the thrills…

Now that’s a stunning Sláine cover by debutant Mark Montague

Everything inside is the same as last week, which means there’s the chance to get more of that wonderful Will Simpson art in Judge Dredd: Desperadlands, along with more dragon-killing action in Sláine, more Durham Red, more Proteus Vex, and a glimpse into the troubled past of Barbara in Hershey: The Brutal.

2000 AD Prog 2215 is out on 21 January, you can find it in all good newsagents, comic shops and digital stores. Support your comic shops, they’re still there, you can still give them your cash and right now they really need it.

JUDGE DREDD: DESPERADLANDS – PART 3 – Mike Carroll, William Simpson, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Three parts into ‘Desperadlands’ and things are unfolding, with Dredd and ex-Judge Meekins captured and in a hell of a lot of trouble and us discovering exactly what the complex relationship between Meekins, MC-1 most wanted Syan Hegedos, and the eight-year-old Cadet, Odessa, that Hegedos kidnapped from a hot-dog run.

Like I said last week, it’s something that Carroll’s been laying the groundwork for in past Dredd stories, something you don’t necessarily need to know about but also something that adds a lot to the richness of the storytelling.

Odessa was ripped from her mother at birth and taken straight into the Justice Department – and we all know just what a bang-up job of parenting those Judges do. Here, she’s a simple pawn, but it could well be that Carroll’s got more plans for her particularly difficult childhood in the future. All part of the fun of seeing different writers laying claim to different bits of Dredd.

And of course, ‘Desperadlands’ sees Will Simpson doing grand things artistically, including giving us a cheeky glimpse at Dredd’s socks – red and white strips, how’d have thought?

DURHAM RED: SERVED COLD – PART 4 – Alec Worley, Ben Willsher, letters by Jim Campbell

Four episodes in and this one really is just going to be one of those strips that just does a simple thing and gets it done very well, just Durham Red trapped in a backwater, Danny Glover as the sheriff, hostiles outside and blasting their way in. Yes, it’s a simple cowboy thing going on, with a good old bit of Durham attitude…

And once you just go with that, all of it works so much better than when I was looking for a little more depth. After all, sometimes you get complex, multi-layered strips in 2000 AD, sometimes you just get to enjoy a good old fashioned bit of Western action. Of course, with Ben Willsher’s artwork, enjoying the action is a way easier, lots of smooth, clean linework, inventive layouts, all of it giving you a really simple, really fun read. Sometimes that’s all it is and that’s just fine.


SLÁINE: DRAGONTAMER – PART 4 – Pat Mills, Leonardo Manco, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Last time, Slaine took down one dragon. This time, there’s a whole dragon squadron to face down. All of which means there’s more dragons for Leonardo Manco to draw, more action for him to draw… and that’s really what this Sláine is all about for me.

In between the dragons and a little more Sláine going full Sláine on them all, there’s time for a little druid stuff and then a little more Sláine being Sláine. Seriously, it’s something like the greatest hits of Sláine here.

PROTEUS VEX: THE SHADOW CHANCELLOR – PART 4 – Michael Carroll, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland

After a bit of a thrilling rescue against the Silent last episode, here Imperium agent Proteus Vex and companion Midnight Indicating Shame are doing a bit of mopping up and debriefing with the other Imperium agents.

Again, building and building towards something, we’re just not really seeing what the something is quite yet. But it’s full of wonderfully different moments, Carroll’s tale giving us all the alienness you want to see in something like this.

And in Jake Lynch, he’s found another artist so capable of making it look so good yet always slightly off-kilter, his shapes all extended and lithe, all the angles and views just off enough. And there’s some wonderfully flowing panel sequencing going on all the way through this episode.

HERSHEY: THE BRUTAL – PART 4 – Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, letters by Simon Bowland

Another forward and back episode, with poor old Dirty Frank going through his boxing duties all to get Hershey in with the cartels so she can get her retribution for the ills she caused through Smiley, but broken up with some gorgeously coloured pages of Hershey at age five, a fresh-faced entrant to the Academy of Law.

The to and fro works so well, the contrast between Hershey’s predicament and pain now with the pain of the Academy highlighted so beautifully by Fraser’s tonal work. And there’s even just a moment of levity, as Frank reverts to the man of old for just a moment before the inevitable happens and poor Frank loses once more.

Hershey though, well I imagine it’s all part of Hershey’s brutal plan. A plan where no one, not Frank, not the cartel, and definitely not Hershey are going to get out unscathed.

%d bloggers like this: