The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2252: Dredd’s Doing It The Hard Way

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

Another one of those great looking covers by Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague

Well, as you’d expect, no changes at all in the five slices of thrill-power this week, but seeing as that means more of the great new Judge Dredd in ‘The Hard Way, more Scarlet Traces, more Diaboliks, more wonderful silliness with a surprising twist in Pandora Perfect, and best of all, another episode of The Out… it’s a fine, fine Prog indeed.

So, what you waiting for? 2000 AD Prog 2252 in store and online from 6 October.

Ready for a look inside? You know you are…

JUDGE DREDD: THE HARD WAY – PART 3 – Rob Williams, Arthur Wyatt, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Annie Parkhouse.

We have a kill order out on Maitland from The Red Queen, with a weird and wonderful hit squad tracking her down. Her and Dredd are currently in Atlantis, the midway station of the Trans-Atlantic tunnel between Mega-City One and Brit-Cit.

A tunnel that’s been hit, the hard way, by those Red Queen hit-persons…

So, you have Dredd putting off ‘the chat’ with Maitland, you know, the chat about how Maitland theoretically solved all of MC-1’s crime problems by radically altering the Justice Department. Then you have the head of Brit-Cit’s accounts dept somewhere in all this, the trade deals involving the Mechanismo units… all of it spinning up in the air in the midst of an out and out bit of old-fashioned Dredd silliness going on, with Wyatt and Williams deliberately making the kill squad going after Maitland as wonderfully daft as the best of those Wagnerian villains of old.

Three episodes in and that mix of the ongoing serious stuff and the overall daftness of the situation… it’s a load of fun.

THE DIABOLIKS – ARRIVEDERCI ROMA – PART 3 – Gordon Rennie, Antonio Fuso, letters by Jim Campbell.

So, last time, Jenny – on orders from diabolical masters of the demon inside her – was at a special Vatican auction and came away with a copy of the Codex Infama.

Problem is, what she got wasn’t exactly what she was expecting. Hmmm, the Catholic Church using children as living books… it’s like Rennie’s saying something about what a piece of work the Catholic Church is. Surely not?

Or then again, it’s always possible that the Codex is an incredibly powerful object, which is probably why we now have a priest in pieces that he’s killed an angel.

Next up… if the Codex is just part of a collection of children, it would be insane to try to storm the Vatican and rescue them all, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it?

SCARLET TRACES – STORM FRONT – PART 3 – Ian Edginton, D’Israeli, letters by Simon Bowland.

Three episodes of Storm Front, and D’Israeli’s artwork just keeps shifting around, beautifully so. Take the opening pages here and the delicate colours and tones of the artwork morphing into something harder, more solid. It’s just a masterclass of setting a mood.

As usual with every Scarlet Traces storyline, there’s multiple threads to this latest, all against a backdrop of Ahron and Ikarys’s mission to Jupiter to see if the Jovians are going to play ball and join in the fight.

It’s really all beginning to build up to the end in many ways, with the final battle to come. But there’s a sense that there’s a world of stories in the Scarlet Traces universe to be explored, well after we reach the end of this, what may well be the final story in this main saga.

And yes, that would be a great thing.

PANDORA PERFECT – MYSTERY MOON – PART 3 – Roger Langridge, Brett Parson, letters by Simon Bowland.

Plots and plans, with Pandora and Gort onboard Bartleby Spugg’s party boat, the Wonga diamond nicked. All they need to do is get away.

Yeah, like it was ever going to go that smoothly.

And here’s where Langridge shifts things, ever so slightly, so just for a little while the silliness gives way to some genuine peril, as Pandora has to worry that the one person she cares about is in real trouble.

It’s taken an unexpected turn perhaps, but the thing is, with any gag strip, as Pandora started life as, if you’re going to go longer with it you have to give the reader a story they’re invested in – and Langridge has absolutely pulled that one off here.

THE OUT – BOOK TWO – PART 3 – Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, letters by Annie Parkhouse.

So, with episode two of The Out, we had Cyd getting a contact list of other humans making new lives, like her, out in The Out.

All of which meant we got to see Mark Harrison doing this…

Yes… this… going in closer…

That’s just a panel of supreme beauty, something that, in other strips, would have had a full page. But the thing about The Out is that there’s just so much that Harrison is packing into each and every page that it got just a final panel.

Not that I’m complaining at all. This is a thing of complete beauty, every page packed with a huge amount of sheer STUFF, foreground and background stuffed full of things, making it like nothing else you’ll see in the Prog. Stunning work.

As for what’s going on, well, like I say, Cyd’s got the contact list and is just starting to track down other humans out here. Which isn’t exactly going well. Boring ex-pats possibly losing their minds, some isolated last survivor with dubious eating habits, and one running away from her human-ness.

Not exactly what Cyd was thinking she was going to get.

But exactly what I figured we’d be getting from this. A nothing story of sorts. Because that’s exactly what happened with the first series of The Out, things seemed to be drifting, with no over-riding thread tying it all together, until Abnett managed to pull it all in at the end. And so it is here, nothing going on, Cyd just meandering around the place, nothing doing. But the thing is, just like series one, if that’s all Abnett and Harrison did in this second series, just 12 episodes or so of Cyd meandering around, it would STILL be superb.

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