The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2226: Nunja Action Awaits

by Richard Bruton

The Weekly 2000 AD, Comicon’s weekly preview of all the thrill-power the UK’s finest sci-fi comic has to offer…

Cover by Mike Collins and Dylan Teague

This Prog, it’s more of Judge Dredd and his investigations into The Penitent Man, more sinister chills in Thistlebone, more from the comedy double-act Feral & Foe. There’s also another glimpse into the worst place in any world with Visions of Deadworld. And rounding it out, the first part of another Tharg’s 3Riller, with the return of Mike Collins to the pages of 2000 AD in ‘Chorus & The Ring’.

2000 AD Prog 2226 is out on Wednesday 7th April. If you can, get out there and support your local comic shop. If you can’t get out, go mail order and you can STILL support your local comic shop.

 

JUDGE DREDD: A PENITENT MAN – PART 2 – Ken Niemand, Tom Foster, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Last week we met Asher, fresh from his 20 year stretch on Titan and, unusually for ex-Judges, trying to make a home back in MC-1.

But he’s convinced that all the bad things happening to him, the crappy job, the crappy housing, the break-in, is part of a programme of harassment and intimidation. Worse, he’s convinced it’s standard procedure for ex-Judges daring to return to MC-1. Even worse, he’s standing in front of Dredd accusing the SJS of being behind it.

So, what’s a Judge to do? Oh c’mon, this is Dredd, he’s going to be investigating and making his name even blacker in the eyes of the SJS – and yes, they have eyes everywhere.

This one’s shaping up really well. A definite sense of paranoia unfolding, the delicious prospect of Dredd butting heads again with SJS, and all of it with Tom Foster’s artwork. I don’t need to tell you how good it is, do I?

THISTLEBONE: POISONED ROOTS – PART 6 – TC Eglington, Simon Davis, letters by Simon Bowland

It’s been really fascinating seeing how Simon Davis has been switching out his artwork in this second Thistlebone series. The flashbacks to the doomed scouting trip in ’84 that Seema’s investigating are all done in that simpler cartooning style, giving us a moment of silliness before we get that realisation that poor lil’ Malcolm is doing the whole speaking in tongues thing… it’s all just wonderfully well executed.

And then it’s back to present day and Malcolm is making his move, with Davis’ art back to its usual, beautifully painted style.

Oh, and last week I mentioned something that was a chiller of an ending for the episode… the badger…

Well…

Like I keep saying, this is a creeper, one of those that’s slowly unfolding week by week. But it’s also one of those that delivers well in the Prog and then really hits you hard in the collection.

I recently re-read the first series (the preview is up here, with my review here) but when it’s all put together as one story, the way Eglington and Davis just slowly get under your skin with Thistlebone really is perfect horror.

VISIONS OF DEADWORLD: THE MAN WHO KILLED MORTIS – Kek-W, Dave Kendall, letters by Simon Bowland

These are the sorts of done-in-one strips that really work, each one building the mystique of the bigger strip, with Dave Kendall’s art just shining through (well, shining as much as it can in the darkness that’s perfectly fitting), with so much detail going into his artwork…

That’s just one detail of the first panel here. And seeing that, I want to see a future Visions that’s just Mortis taking us for a tour of his gardens.

This week, it’s Mortis’ turn under the Visions of Deadworld spotlight now and, as you should be able to tell from the title, Mortis is in a spot of bother.

Well, for a moment anyway. Seriously, you expected a Dark Judge to fall that easily?

THARG’S 3RILLERS PRESENT CHORUS & THE RING – James Peaty, Mike Collins, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Another three-part 3riller now, with the return of Mike Collins on artwork, a creator who’s an irregular contributor to the Prog and has a varied and quality body of work, whether that’s storyboarding Doctor Who for the BBC, creating American Gothic for 2000 AD, his plentiful work in the US, particularly for DC Comics, or the likes of Apollo, where his art on the SelfMadeHero graphic novel was some of his career best.

But he’s also been keeping his hand in here at the Prog, the last thing being his art on Judge Anderson: Undertow, back in Progs 2077-2080.

Now he’s back on this James Peaty scripted 3Riller telling of a 57th Century religious group, The Divine Chorus of Freedom, where the religion is based on an asteroid ring and it’s fallen far from its original ideals of liberation and fairness… now, the faith requires conquest.

Battle Sister Evangelista gets her summons from Deus – Pius 45, their war-pontiff, is dead and she has to recover the Signet Spiritus, a huge MacGuffin thingy here that gives control of the Chorus to its wearer.

It seems like a huge amount of setup in this first third of the story, with Evangelista only blasting off in the final panel of part one, but it’s really enjoyable, good old-fashioned sci-fi nonsense build-up, all accompanied by some fine, fine artwork.

FERAL & FOE II – PART 3 – Dan Abnett, Richard Elson, letters by Jim Campbell

Bode the Necromancer is in Wraith’s body (with Bode’s appetitie meaning it’s a body with an expanding waistline) and has no idea about the whole ancient fighting skills stuff Wraith could do. Wraith is in Bode’s body and really hasn’t been putting the hours in to master even the most basic of skills.

They’re both, along with their mate Krod, on their way to sort out the necromancer Golgone with hopes of them being put back in the right bodies.

Right now they’re lost with a pack of brigands in front of them… cue the comedy.

Oh, and they happen to have their old comrade, Gyre, along as well – he’s just a little bit of a flesh-eating crazed zombie right now.

Really, this is just getting better and better, so much fun to be had, not so much from the body-swap plot but definitely from the bickering between Bode and Wraith that’s even higher up in the mix now, giving Abnett licence to put in this sort of thing…

And yes, that is the final couple of panels for this episode but, as I’ve already said, it’s really not the actual nuts and bolts of the plot that’s important here, but the daft situations along the way. (And how long do you think Abnett’s had ‘My Malchemical Necromance’ in his head as a title?)

So, it’s no spoiler to tell you that Wraith, Bode, and the gang get to the Necromancer’s lair at all – the fun is to be had in the how they get there and the ridiculousness of what happens along the way.

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