Time to head out to the land of 2000 AD, the UK’s greatest sci-fi weekly comic, now celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2022
This Prog, it’s more for four strips – meaning the second part of ‘Working Girl‘ in Judge Dredd, and third episodes for Proteus Vex, The Order, and Kingmaker. But all of that is nothing compared to the final strip this Prog – the finale to the second book of The OUT. Now hopefully, you know a couple of things about this one by now – it’s my favourite thing in 2000 AD for a long, long time, and it’s something that you all should be reading.
Right then… 2000 AD Prog 2264 is out on 12 January. Time for a preview…
JUDGE DREDD: WORKING GIRL – PART 2 – Ken Niemand, Patrick Goddard, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Oh, what’s a working Sky-surfer to do? Desperately needing cash, Mona’s done a dumb thing, taken a job she knew was dodgy, and is now on the run from the law, high above the streets of MC-1.
She’s good, damn good – but is she escape from Dredd good? Well, here’s where we’re going to find out.
Plenty of action and plenty of Niemand moments – he does seem to enjoy creating characters to get one over on Dredd, first Chimpsky, now Mona. But with a bomb on her back and both the bad people she’s working for and the Judges not taking any chances, this could be a very short career for Mona.
Again, you just have to love the amount of detail and action that Goddard gets into this one, with his layouts dominated by the flight of the surfers meaning it’s dominated with aerial shots, different angles, and gorgeous looks down into the city.
PROTEUS VEX: DESIRE PATHS – PART 3 – Michael Carroll, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland
Having made their escape with the rescued flesh-pilots, Proteus Vex and Navarch Ko are now en-route to see the Scavenger… not knowing that Imperium Agent Naday is tracking them down.
Here, it’s a stop-off for Vex at one of the waystations in the border space between the Imperium and the former Obdurate Empire, not so much downtime as fix the ship and have a chat with the station boss – all neatly done by Carroll to move the tale along in the non-standard fashion that Proteus Vex is all about.
It’s all being told in hindsight, an unseen narrator setting the scene and ending each episode with a sign-off, leading us to the next episode. And that, together with Carroll and Cornwell’s determined and impressive ways of making this one feel and look off-kilter, makes Proteus Vex read and feel different, sometimes a mite confusing, but always enthralling.
THE ORDER: FANTASTIC VOYAGE – PART 3 – Kek-W, John Burns, Simon Bowland
After the first two episodes of following Anna Kohl and the agents of The Order into the Dirac Sea and its phantoms, The Order unexpectedly shifts to somewhere else now, a look back at Cassi’s past, and just like that, things that were clear-ish get a little more confusing as I’m scrambling to remember the character and the why and what of her.
And that’s something that keeps happening to me with The Order, just as I think I’ve got it, as I’m settling into it and almost beginning to get it, Kek-W decides to shift the focus again – and this is a comic with a hell of a lot of different characters to focus on.
It’s to be lauded in a way, Kek-W having this many different balls in the air with The Order, but it really isn’t a story you can drop in and out of too easily, for good and for ill.
KINGMAKER: FALLS THE SHADOW – PART 3 – Ian Edginton, Leigh Gallagher, letters by Jim Campbell
We’re off-world now, as the spirit of Ichnar the Wraith King takes root in the Thorn Duke. Alien invaders and the nightmare the world thought was vanquished teaming up – oh, that’s not going to play well.
Even turncoat Lord Tycho knows how bad this is and makes his escape from Ichnar, now resplendent in his new Thorn threads thanks to Gallagher’s gorgeous artwork. Can we expect to be seeing Tycho and Crixus joining forces at some point?
The art really does so much in Kingmaker, with Gallagher’s style perfect, yet different, for the scenes down in the Nine Kingdoms – all lush greens and greys – and above with the Thorn, all bright purples and sharp lines.
THE OUT – BOOK TWO – PART 14 – FINAL PART – Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, letters by Annie Parkhouse.
This is the finale of the second book of The OUT.
And there’s no way to avoid spoiling it with the two preview pages below.
So, be warned… I’ll tell you about it without telling you about it, but two opening preview pages completely spoiler it for you.
After two books of The OUT, so much has changed. We’ve seen Cyd’s life shift, we’ve gone through the ups and downs of her being out here. And for most of the two books, it’s all been about her moving and experiencing, with Abnett and Harrison skillfully bringing us along with her on her travels.
And that, as I’ve said before, would have been just fine if that’s all that The OUT was ever about. I could have cheerfully read it, series after series, if it was just following the experiences of Cyd out in the whole alien universe she found herself in.
Except that wasn’t it. There was a story unfolding underneath all of Cyd’s experiences, a story that tied her to the Tanikar far more than she thought. We saw the Tanikar kill her, saw her body rebuilt, saw her continue on, unaware of what had truly happened. But it’s all there, looking back, all the hints and the clues and the brilliant little moments.
It’s been so damn good. Get the book when it comes out in 2022 to appreciate it all once again and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what Abnett and Harrison have in store for us with The OUT Book Three.
Remember what I said about spoilers coming on the first couple of pages here?
Well… don’t say I didn’t warn you …
See that girl…
Watch that scene…
Digging the dancing Queen…