The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2250: Big Boots Back For Dredd

by Richard Bruton

Time to head out to the land of 2000 AD, the UK’s greatest sci-fi weekly comic for four decades and counting… it’s The Weekly 2000 AD.

Do you even need me to say – it’s the magnificent Mike McMahon

Right then, now that is a COVER. The stance, the details, the classic Lawgiver, and, oh boy, those boots!

It’s unmistakably Mike McMahon, one of the legends of 2000 AD, who’s back this week for the special jumping-on Prog, 52 pages of thrill-power, with all-new strips and a couple of great little one-offs…

Inside, there’s a new Judge Dredd, The Hard Way, a new Diaboliks, new Scarlet Traces, the first series for the Regened favourite, Pandora Perfect, and the second series for The Out, probably my favourite new 2000 AD strip for many years.

And on top of that, we get Chris Weston giving us a quirky Future Shock, and a new Anderson, Psi-Division that follows up from the events of the recent 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special.

So, what you waiting for? 2000 AD Prog 2250 is in store and online from Wednesday 22nd September.

Ready for a look inside? You know you are…

JUDGE DREDD: THE HARD WAY – PART 1 – Rob Williams, Arthur Wyatt, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Annie Parkhouse.

“Dredd and Accounts Judge Maitland have been targeting Euro crime-boss La Reine Rouge…”

That’s the intro to this one, a new six-parter from the writing team that brought you ‘Carry The Nine’, one of my favourite bits of Dredd from last year, where Accounts Judge Maitland figured out a way to radically transform MC-1 crime, just by thinking about it from left-field and running the numbers.

Now it seems that Maitland’s been digging into La Reine Rouge, Euro crime boss – and if that name sounds familiar, you’re spot on – the Red Queen was last seen in the Arthur Wyatt written Red Queen’s Gambit in the Megazine.

So… Williams, Wyatt, and Jake Lynch really are pulling things together here… although the darker, more serious tone of what’s built up to this is somewhat negated by the rest of the pages and the assembling of a squad of… well, weird and wacky assembly of assassins and hit-people to take down Maitland – although that in itself is playing up to the classic Dredd stories of Wagner et al, never afraid to go seriously silly with the supporting cast.


So, there’s a hell of a lot in here to connect to both ‘Carry The Nine’ and ‘Red Queen’s Gambit’ and I cannot wait to see how this one develops.

And as for Lynch, well, he’s been a great Dredd artist, great artist period, for quite some time now, and it’s a happy coincidence to see his art here under a McMahon cover – one huge influence on his art for certain.

THE DIABOLIKS – ARRIVEDERCI ROMA – PART 1 – Gordon Rennie, Antonio Fuso, letters by Jim Campbell.

Solomon Ravne and Jennifer Simmons, once of Cabballistics, Inc., the private paranormal troubleshooting unit, are now a couple, working on behalf of the Malleus, destroying their demonic enemies. Oh, and Jenny happens to be possessed by a demon – a case of set a demon-possessed paranormal investigator to catch a demon.

Now it’s off on the next case, but for a different set of masters now, as Jenny’s demon gets called into play by a very unholy agency indeed.

It’s another fun start for what’s turning into a decent series, loads of potential for Rennie to play with all the demon vs the Church stuff, and some great atmospheric b&w art from Fuso.

SCARLET TRACES – STORM FRONT – PART 1 – Ian Edginton, D’Israeli, letters by Simon Bowland.

1968. Decades since Mars waged war on Earth, and the major nations all have access to Martian-derived tech. Britain’s still recovering from the Martian bombardment of the 1940s, when much of South England was destroyed. After that, in the 1950s, two million Venusians, seeking refuge from the Martian occupation, arrived in England. Now – the Martians are on the attack again, and Earth is seeking allies in Jupiter.

And that doesn’t even cover half of what makes Scarlet Traces so damn good. Edginton and D’Israeli have taken HG Wells’ War Of The Worlds as a starting point and then gone off to create a spectacular, far-reaching slab of pure sci-fi brilliance.

Frankly, this one’s a delight from the very first panel – the old-fashioned, very suburban English door with its very unusual stained glass solar system. And from there, it just gets better and better, all wonderful Englishness, an at home with the Venusians vibe, with Ahron home from the latest mission… or maybe not.

The overly bold colours, the gaudiness of it all… it’s all a little too artificial. But damn, it’s a Beatles-esque psychedelic delight while it lasts.

And then, boom, just like that, we’re into the meat of the story, as we’re off to Jupiter to see if they want to help with the war effort back on Earth.

Brilliant, brilliant stuff from both Edginton and D’Israeli… but then again, didn’t you just know that would be the case?

ANDERSON, PSI-DIVISION – BE PSI-ING YOU – Maura McHugh, Lee Carter, letters by Jim Campbell.

After the 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special, we have a huge new threat to Earth, well, an old force at least, the Earth Animus. And here, McHugh begins what I’d imagine will be something that will be taking up quite a bit of Anderson’s time in the future.

So, off we go; after Anderson teamed up with fellow Psis Shakta and Corann Ryan, the latter shadowed by the ghost of her twin, Lesley.

And it’s with Corann (and Lesley) that we start, as they head down to the Undercity, with the cause of her running out on things playing out as we backtrack a couple of days to the Council of Psis having a good old debrief over the Earth Animus thing. And their findings don’t mean anything good for either of the Ryans.

What we have here is both epilogue to the Sci-Fi Special and McHugh setting things up for more Anderson. And hopefully, we’ll be getting a big Anderson series from McHugh very soon – she’s proving herself most adept at getting the character right, and the ending here is no ending at all, more a set-up for all she seems to have planned.

PANDORA PERFECT – MYSTERY MOON – Roger Langridge, Brett Parson, letters by Simon Bowland.

Now this is good news – another Regened strip making the jump to a full 2000 AD series, after the super-silly and very funny Pandora Perfect delighted in the Regened Progs, it’s time to see what delights Langridge and Parson have for us in Mystery Moon.

So, it’s back with Pandora Perez, burglar, safe-cracker, armed bandit, all-round career criminal, and, not accidentally… looking rather like a certain practically perfect in every way nanny you might have heard of.

Here, in Mystery Moon, Pandora and loyal robot assistant Gort are out of jail and up to their usual tricks. And their usual tricks are fabulously enjoyable!

Yep, fun stuff for the storyline, great art from Parson, everything that was great about Pandora Perfect in the Regened Progs is here in this first episode of the longer adventure.

As for what’s going on… well, that’s secondary in many ways to the fun of the thing, but Pandora’s looted the Imperial Plunder Museum and has to get to the Moonsausage Factory, where all the meat loves being farmed, and the boss happens to be an old friend (of sorts) of Pandora.

But, like I say, the stories secondary to the fun – of which there’s plenty here.

FUTURE SHOCKS – THE GUARDIAN & THE GODCHILD – Chris Weston, letters by Simon Bowland.

Three pages, perfect little Future Shock from Chris Weston.

A wandering samurai looking for redemption, we go back to a past life, seeing this man burdened with shame, about to end his life… and then a strange comet flashes through the sky.

And that’s absolutely all I’m saying about this in terms of story. Because you’re going to love it. And yes, it’s a perfect case, I’m guessing, of Weston coming up with that final line and working the entire story around it. Brilliance, of course.

THE OUT – BOOK TWO – PART 1 – Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, letters by Annie Parkhouse.

Classic case of Tharg saving the best till last – it’s the return of the best thing I read in 2000 AD all last year, very possibly the best thing in the last decade, to be honest, a spectacular bit of sci-fi from Abnett and Harrison, reading and looking like nothing else in the Prog.

We’re off to the furthest edge of the universe once more, far into the future, where Cyd Finlea, photo-journalist for Global Neographic is way, way into outer space… The Out.

She’s been away from Earth for 10 years, has no idea if her snaps are getting back, and has been off on a bit of a wild adventure – in a war, a refugee, has died, been brought back in another body, gained a sentient flatspace bag… and is now spending her time seeking out other ex-pat humans.

In the first series of The Out we met Cyd and got into her head, finding out the deep tragedy of her past, the reason she’s out in The Out.

Now… it’s Cyd traveling around, on the lookout for other humans, with a plan to send the pics back to Earth’s Global Neographic – although, as she says, “Admittedly, I don’t know where Earth is anymore, and Glo-Neo hasn’t paid me in 40 years.”

But anyway, it’s a plan of sorts. At least a plan she can throw herself into, a plan that stops her dwelling on the past, both recent and distant. And now she’s off in search of one of those rare humans.

Damn, it’s so good that this is back. From the very first page, it was everything I remembered about it, so rich and full of all that imagery, Abnett throwing details at us in the words, Harrison throwing everything at the page and STILL managing to make it so wonderfully readable and so brilliant.

There’s a mass of things happening in every single panel, it’s big, it’s noisy, it’s quite spectacular all over again.

Pick a favourite moment, there’s plenty of them – Cyd’s talking bag, the gags, the alien foods, the HILF t-shirt, the alien landscapes, Cyd’s really forced happy-go-lucky attitude that’s hiding a world of hurt… there’s just so much to absolutely love in here.

And, just because the image is so damn good – next Prog advert…

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