The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2257: Diaboliks Hit The Town Down In That There London

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.

West End Ghouls indeed – great Diaboliks cover art by Mike Dowling

This Prog… we’re back after the great all-ages Regened last Prog, which means we drop right back into the storylines in Scarlet Traces and The OUT. But we also get a return of the Diaboliks, just with original series artist Dom Reardon showing us what’s been happening in London while half the team was off in Rome recently. And then there’s a brand-new Future Shock and the beginning to a new Dredd storyline, ‘Tread Softly, from Michael Carroll and Simon Coleby.

So… what you waiting for? 2000 AD Prog 2257 in store and online from 10 November.

Ready for a look inside? You know you are…

Oh, before we start, a quick hat tip to Cat Sullivan and her Droid Life strips that appear every few weeks on the contents page…

Poor, poor droids.

Right then… onwards to the Prog…

JUDGE DREDD: TREAD SOFTLY – PART 1 – Michael Carroll, Simon Coleby, colours by John Charles, letters by Annie Parkhouse.

Isaac McDaniels is a dream junkie and he’s having a seriously shite time of it right now. Dragged out of the dream he’s having, three bullets to the chest, rad burns, and he wakes up to Dredd? Not a good day at all.

Dredd’s just sympathy all over, ain’t he?

It’s a mission to catch the dream suppliers, with Dredd just heading in there, guns blazing, much to the chagrin of Judge Vanzura, the Med-Judge with him. But Dredd’s already worked out that Vanzura’s got their own agenda… we’re just waiting to see what the hell that is.

Super strong opener from Carroll and Coleby. It’s great seeing Coleby’s solid and so striking art back on Dredd.

THE DIABOLIKS – LONDON CALLING – PART 1 – Gordon Rennie, Dom Reardon, letters by Jim Campbell.

Well, with Jenny over in Rome messing up the Papal desire to have a living set of supernatural books, we’re over to London with Solomon Ravne and Jake for the new strip, complete with the ever-gorgeous scratchy black and white art of Dom Reardon.

Rennie’s straight in with his magical refs (and the Moore refs as well… “Thank Glycon”) as Jake takes Solomon for a meeting with the Baron, who’s having a little trouble keeping the house tidy – there’s way too many ancient spirits cluttering up the reception rooms.

Anyway, one magical bit of cleaning later and we’re off on the next leg of the London gig, as Jake’s magical collection’s been sold on to a bunch called the Collection.

Damn, between Reardon and Antonio Fuso, the art on Diaboliks is just so good – I always love having something strikingly out-there different in the pages here, and they deliver just that.

SCARLET TRACES – STORM FRONT – PART 7 – Ian Edginton, D’Israeli, letters by Simon Bowland.

Back with Ahron and Ikarys, whose little group got a little bigger last episode, much to Ikarys’ surprise.

But now they’ve got to figure out a way of stopping the Martians. Because even if bringing the Jovians into the fight could beat the Martians finally, it seems that the Earth’s going to lose anyway.

So, it’s right down to the last throw of the dice stuff now, just as it should be. And it’s really feeling like this one really will be the final chapter in this original Scarlet Traces epic. Of course, in the midst of all this epic stuff, Edginton doesn’t forget the thing that made Scarlet Traces work so well in the first place, using the various races involved to take a hard look at humanity’s continued lack of understanding of others. It also gives us so much opportunity to take a long look at D’Israeli’s artwork and just go… “Wow.”

FUTURE SHOCKS: KEYBOARD WARRIORS – Karl Stock, Rob Richardson, letters by Simon Bowland

A mineral-rich planet, a mining company in charge, the indigenous peoples resettled… with force.

But this is resettlement done remotely, as the planet’s invaders as sitting comfortably in some corporate cubicle-filled faceless building. Thing is, what happens if the next planet’s occupants to be wiped out or moved on go on the offensive?

Karl Stock’s doing a bit of a great run on these Future Shocks, whether here or in the Regened Progs. Some great stuff as well. This one – well, you’re going to see the twist a long way off I reckon, but the story’s a solid one. As for Richardson on artwork – it’s the artist’s debut here and it’s an impressive one. Definitely one to watch for the future I reckon.

THE OUT – BOOK TWO – PART 7 – Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, letters by Annie Parkhouse.

There’s a terrible temptation to jump straight to the end of the Prog every week, such is the greatness of The OUT. Thing is, I was one of those kids who always liked to leave the fave food on the plate till the end of the meal, and so it goes that I read through the weekly Prog knowing that it’s inevitably going to go out on a high. Again, and again, and again.

Seriously, best thing I’ve read in 2000 AD for a hell of a long time. Beautiful, different, inventive, eminently readable. So, so good.

Anyway, Cyd Finlea, traveller of note, is out in the back end of the universe, as far from home as she can probably get. Hell, she has no idea what’s going on back home anymore, no contact with humanity except for tracking down the names she found in the little black book of humankind last episode…

This episode, she takes in a gig. Although, within the first few panels we know this is a gig like no other. Planetoids rotating, audience starting to float, it’s a performance from Robert Lustre, the biggest rock-star of the 21st Century… and the human that her last contact was so impressed with.

Cyd’s right in the middle of the crowd doing vox-pop, then she’s getting a bit of chill-out time, overwhelmed by the entire immersive, sensory overload-ness of it all.

She’s not the only one grabbing a break either. Yep, she really does get to meet some of the most interesting folks.

Dammit, this really is everything I want it to be.

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