The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2255: Big Boss Level In ‘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!

Judge Dredd takes on the last of the assassins – cover art by Alex Ronald

This Prog… three endings, as Judge Dredd, Pandora Perfect, and The Diaboliks finish their current storylines – although there’s only a short break before the next Diaboliks story in Prog 2257. The other two strips, The OUT and Scarlet Traces, are taking a week’s rest to make way for the next 2000 AD Regened all-ages Prog 2256.

So… what you waiting for? 2000 AD Prog #2255 in store and online from Wednesday 27th October.

Ready for a look inside? You know you are…

JUDGE DREDD: THE HARD WAY – PART 6 – FINAL PART – Rob Williams, Arthur Wyatt, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Annie Parkhouse.

Well, it’s six and done for ‘The Hard Way’, and it’s been a load of fun, a complete 360 from what you normally expect from a Rob Williams and Arthur Wyatt Dredd.

This final episode sees the Atlantis dome giving way, evacuation underway, and Dredd and Maitland coming up against all of the assassins brought into play by La Reine Rouge… because why would it be easy to get out of a flooding undersea station?

So yes, this one’s been a thrill ride, plenty of action for Lynch to get his artistic teeth into, proving just how damn good he’s getting and how he’s a born Dredd artist for now and a long way into the future.

There’s even chance to set up a couple of coming soon moments, with Maitland having even more reason to want to take La Reine Rouge down.

And then there’s the quiet little chat right at the end, where Maitland’s still convinced about the radical idea she put to the Council, whether or not the Council are keen – oh yes, that’s still something that’s going to have to be dealt with. And I can’t wait.

But first, enjoy the ending to a very fine slice of old-school Dredd action – loads of fun has been had by all!

THE DIABOLIKS – ARRIVEDERCI ROMA – PART 6 – FINAL PART – Gordon Rennie, Antonio Fuso, letters by Jim Campbell.

The end of their little Vatican City adventure now, with a neat tying up of things, diplomatic immunity being brought up, as Jenny and her handler end up taking a little walk from the Earth-based embassies of heaven and hell… although quite which one is worse in the grand scheme of things is up for debate, especially if you’re Jenny thinking about protecting not just her own child but the children acting as hosts for the Codices.

In a couple of weeks time, we’re off to London in this Diabolikal tour of the supernatural, rejoining Solomon in London Calling.

PANDORA PERFECT – MYSTERY MOON – PART 6 – FINAL PART – Roger Langridge, Brett Parson, letters by Simon Bowland.

In a series that’s been all out action and total silliness, it’s perfect to think that Pandora and Gort managed to get away from the Mystery Moon with the old-fashioned classic plot device of escape by vomit.

It’s time for Spugg to get his just deserts… or his sausages…

It may only have been a short six episodes, but the joy in these sorts of 2000 AD strips, the comedy ones, is that they hit short and sharp, high on gags, low on big, expansive storylines.

And that’s exactly what Langridge and Parsons have done here with Pandora Perfect, sprinkling enough gags through the episodes, making the whole thing one big caper tale to keep everything light and fast-moving, yet still giving us a little moment of more emotional insight. Six episodes is just about right for the likes of Pandora Perfect, beginning, middle, end, full of laughs and smiles and loads of fun.

SCARLET TRACES – STORM FRONT – PART 6 – Ian Edginton, D’Israeli, letters by Simon Bowland.

Epic space battles, a small group of fighters infiltrating the Martian base… it’s all getting very widescreen blockbuster with Scarlet Traces right now!

Not a criticism at all, it’s a wonderful slice of fast and furious sci-fi action befitting the climactic storyline of these particular Martian chronicles.

Here we’re back with Ahron and Ikarys, possibly the last of the raiding party the Jovians put together to destroy the Martians.

Sure, they’ve got the big guns, but they happen to have mislaid the charges and the lander’s looking a little dodgy for making an escape – possibly the worst time for a load of Martians to turn up.

But then Scarlet Traces throws us the first of a couple of twists in the episode, with the return of a (somewhat) familiar face with a story to tell.

As is usual, Scarlet Traces is full of all that gorgeous D’Israeli artwork, but there’s a particular joy in seeing the action of the first couple of pages…

THE OUT – BOOK TWO – PART 6 – Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, letters by Annie Parkhouse.

More of the greatest thing in 2000 AD for many a year – and there have been a fair number of really great strips in the past few years after all. But The OUT just does something very special, something very different, writer and artist in perfect synchrony giving us a storyline that’s just beautiful in the way it’s meandering along, seemingly full of disconnected moments, but that’s what makes it just so amazing, so brilliant.

Here, it’s a perfect illustration of what makes it so wonderful – Cyd is journeying around the OUT with a little black book of contact details of humanity who’ve made it out this far. And in just five pages we get the lonely weirdo… “Hello. Would you like to do some sex at all?” and the polylanguages professor who’s all but impossible to talk to… “I began to appreciate how durkableet most human languages are.”

And then there’s the recluse. Who Cyd doesn’t even get to meet face-to-face, but who manages to give us two potentially important story points as we move forwards… just how important is the next name on her list and why Mitchell doesn’t talk to people.

And that’s the joy of The OUT. Those two things could be huge plot points. Could be the thing that drives the second half of this second book – or they could be just inconsequential little details never to be returned to. That’s what makes this so special, the number of wonderful little moments that you get in every episode, the number of questions that the strip brings up in your head.

Oh, it’s just a glorious, magnificent thing that I’m not going to get tired of anytime soon. And that’s without even going into the fabulous artwork of Mark Harrison. And we didn’t even get the chance to mention Cyd’s latest t-shirt!

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