The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2265 – Saphir Returns To Intoxicate & Delight…

by Richard Bruton

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

Saphir cover by David Roach, colours by Dylan Teague

After we bade a fond farewell to The OUT last Prog it’s time to revisit the wonderful world of Saphir for a new 5-parter featuring the strange delights of inter-dimensional adventures for Inspector Mucha of the Surete.

Alongside that debut, it’s business as usual for the other four strips this week – Working Girl in Judge Dredd and the latest from Proteus Vex, The Order, and Kingmaker.

Right then, 2000 AD Prog 2265 is out on Wednesday 19th January. Time for a preview:

JUDGE DREDD: WORKING GIRL – PART 3 – Ken Niemand, Patrick Goddard, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Poor old Mona, all she really wants is to look after her li’l one, earn a few creds, keep out of the iso-cubes, and stay in one piece.

Problem is, she’s got herself a skysurfing delivery gig with a difference. That difference being this one’s not exactly legit, meaning she’s got Dredd on her case. Oh, and then there’s the small matter that she might be just the decoy rider with a bomb ticking away in her backpack. Not good. For one thing, just imagine what the babysitter fees are going to be?

Basically, Working Girl is another one of those classic tales of a new hero in MC-1 as a foil to Dredd. And of course the Chopper comparisons are always going to be there with this one. But just because it’s an old idea doesn’t make it a bad idea.

And then there’s the main thing that makes this one pop and that’s Patrick Goddard’s artwork. It’s just so damn good to see him on this. He’s one of those artists who can go under the radar a little, doing everything well, solid, classical even. But that also means he’s easy to overlook when it comes to a classic Dredd artist, a classic 2000 AD artist. But here, forgive the pun, he’s really been allowed to fly.

PROTEUS VEX: DESIRE PATHS – PART 4 – Michael Carroll, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland

As I read more and more of Proteus Vex, I just find myself falling more in line with it, enjoying it more and more. The device Carroll uses of establishing it as a reportage piece, quoting from future historians to set up the latest slice of the story is a perfect start, particularly this week…

If there’s one lesson we should take from the Obdurate War it’s that teleporting a star into a stable system is not something one can undo – so one had better be certain.

Well yes. Anyhow, it’s more of Vex and Navarch Ko hopping around the galaxy recruiting others into their long-term plans, plans which we’re eventually going to be told all about. But right now, the joy of Proteus Vex is in seeing it all play out so damn well. The twists and turns of the plot, the great design and character work that Jake Lynch’s putting in, the whole fascinating strangeness of it all, each episode adding someone or something new to the mix, some little piece of the puzzle.

THE ORDER: FANTASTIC VOYAGE – PART 4 – Kek-W, John Burns, Simon Bowland

In many ways, The Order and Proteus Vex are similar things. Both are complex tales, both slow to reveal their true intentions, both can be seen as difficult and hard to get into. Of course, Proteus Vex has been going nowhere near as long as The Order, which may well be why I find myself way more forgiving of it.

There’s just so much back story here in The Order, so many characters and situations, and more often than not it ends up being one of those strips that just confounds me. And Fantastic Voyage is a case in point. Basically, it’s the individual members of The Order separated and making their way back together – or at least that’s what I think it is anyway, with the evil Francis Bacon pulling strings elsewhere/elsewhen.

It’s basically one of those things where I just can’t keep it all in my overactive head. Now, does that make it my fault or the strip’s fault? You know, I’m never really sure.

KINGMAKER: FALLS THE SHADOW – PART 4 – Ian Edginton, Leigh Gallagher, letters by Jim Campbell

Okay then, it’s The Lord of the Rings meets space aliens, where the big bad of the fantasy has now taken over the body of the big bad of the alien invaders.

Or, in Kingmaker language, the spirit of Ichnar the Wraith King takes root in the Thorn Duke and begins his dastardly plans. Dastardly plans that mean big trouble for Crixus and Princess Yarrow. Basically, imagine Loki getting to take over Thanos. Or something like that. Or maybe not?

Hell, Kingmaker just has fun mixing up its influences and then playing with them. And that’s just why it works so well, with Edginton and Gallagher messing around with all the tropes of fantasy and sci-fi and simply going for it.

The great thing is – it works. And it works really well. To the extent where this reader just accepts it all and thoroughly enjoys everything that Kingmaker gives me.

It’s a strip that’s full of big fantasy, big sci-fi, but also full of big character stuff. And it’s a whole lotta fun.

SAPHIR: LIAISONS DANGEREUSES – PART 1 – Kek W, David Roach, colours by Peter Doherty, letters by Annie Parkhouse

The first series of Saphir was all exotic locales and gorgeous David Roach art (seriously, is there anything else?)

It was all about poor old Inspector Mucha discovering a whole other world, complete with incredibly strange things going on, all alternative dimensions and the like, full of strange women doing strange things, that sort of thing.

So, here in the second, five-part series, it’s time to see what happens when Inspector Mucha gets drawn into it all over again. Damn, poor Inspector Mucha really isn’t set up for this sort of revelation, is he?

What can I say, it’s just gorgeous, it really is. Like I said, what else did you expect from David Roach? But it’s also me being right at the start of a Kek-W series and thoroughly enjoying all the wonderful weirdness he throws at me. Hmm, maybe I should really try just going with The Order?

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