The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2228: Time To Kiss The Axe One Last Time

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 Leonardo Manco)

This week, it’s the end of Slaine, as the delayed finale of Dragontamer, which also will be, reputedly, the final Slaine episode ever. Elsewhere, we’re also seeing the third and final part of the latest Tharg’s 3Riller, Chorus and the Ring, as well as more of Judge Dredd‘s investigation into A Penitent Man, more magical maladjusted mischief in Feral & Foe, and yet more chills down in the forest in Thistlebone.

2000 AD Prog 2228 is out on 21 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 4 – Ken Niemand, Tom Foster, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Last week, ex-Judge Asher ended up on the wrong end of the SJS’s covert welcome wagon op. Now, Dredd’s on the case, already pissed that SJS have taken Asher from the scene, now even more pissed that the SJS have warned him off the case.

Yep, there’s going to be a showdown, all over the penitent man. It’s building just perfectly, with Tom Foster’s artwork creating a perfect MC-1, full of dark shadows; just the right mood and tone for something that can’t help but feel like it’s important. Dredd vs the SJS – you get the impression from everything that’s happened so far, from the way Niemand is setting it up, that this has to be one that will go badly for Dredd one way or another.

The only worry I have right now is that this is but a 6-parter and I’m just hoping it’s not one that peters out or doesn’t hold its nerve and deliver something status quo changing.

 

THISTLEBONE: POISONED ROOTS – PART 8 – TC Eglington, Simon Davis, letters by Simon Bowland

Two-thirds of the way through and the villain seems obvious, as Malcolm Kinniburgh’s been flagged as mentally unstable and connected to the Thistlebone cult since almost the beginning – all tied into that fateful scout trip.

And that means we get to see Simon Davis play around, once more, with his wonderfully different version of events on that scout trip, all suddenly switching as things go very wrong in the woods.

After the brilliance of the first Thistlebone storyline, it was hard to imagine that it was possible for the second series to keep the chills going like this – thankfully, they have.

This is turning into another excellent thing to put the shivers down your spine.

 

SLAINE: DRAGONTAMER – PART 10 – FINAL PART (NO, SERIOUSLY – THE FINAL EVER PART) – Pat Mills, Leonardo Manco, letters by Annie Parkhouse

So, this is it. Not just the much-delayed finale to Dragontamer but, if the news is to be believed, the very last Slaine. Ever. At least that’s how Pat Mills is talking. In fact, apart from the even longer delayed Joe Pineapples strip, there’s nothing else coming from the pen of Pat Mills in 2000 AD.

Since Prog 330 in 1983, Pat Mills and Angie Kincaid‘s creation has been here in 2000 AD. But no more.

And Slaine goes out fighting. Time for one last Kiss My Axe and… well, that’s it actually.

Damn, it looks absolutely lovely and Leonardo Manco can certainly hold his head up amongst those names that have come before, the likes of Bisley, Belardinelli, McMahon, Fabry, Pugh, Talbot et al. But you can’t tell me, looking back over the whole of Slaine, that this isn’t a series that should have ended with The Horned God back in 1990.

However, it did continue for another thirty-one years of stories, looking gorgeous usually, thanks to new artists, Langley, Percival, and Davis amongst others, but it always felt like it was treading old ground, each new adventure giving nothing to the mythos that hadn’t been built in those first nine years. And so it is with Dragontamer … Slaine turned up, he did Slaine things, sounded every bit the old-time comedian repeating the old catchphrases … ‘Kiss My Axe‘, ‘He Did Not Think It Too Many,’ and going out with a bit of a whimper.

 

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

Slaine over and done with, time for the palette cleanser that is the 3Riller. Three and done for this one, pure space opera fun: lightweight, well-drawn, not about to surprise us with any twists – seriously, as soon as they talked of the War-Pontiff being dead and Battle Sister Evangelista having to recover his Signet Spiritus in the first episode, you knew that the twist in the tale was going to be that, no, he wasn’t dead.

And as for the ending? Well, I reckon you saw that coming as well. Thing is, it matters not one bit – this was a lot of fun.

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

‘He’s not well, is he?’
‘Yeah, but can you cure him?’
‘Cure him? Is this some kind of joke? Does this look like a walk-in clinic?’

And we’re off and running with the silly, funny, and all-around fun Feral & Foe.

The gang have met Golgone the Necromancer and their plans, as you’d expect, have gone royally south. So now it’s time for Golgone to make them an offer, get the Malign Chalice…

All of which means Bode and Wraith are on another quest…

‘Gotta love a quest. Except side-quests. They’re just annoying wastes of time…’

Yep, Abnett skewers himself in print. You can just tell he’s having fun with this. And so am I. Feral & Foe is unashamedly fun and absolutely funny.

 

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