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.
The 45th-anniversary Prog approaches fast, but first, there’s plenty to enjoy here in Prog #2268. Leigh Gallagher‘s running a bit late, so Kingmaker‘s taking a few weeks off. In its place, we get a PJ Holden solo Tharg’s Terror Tales: Roots. Alongside that, another done in one Judge Dredd: Extraordinary Deaths, and the continuations of Saphir: Liaisons Dangereuses, Proteus Vex: Desire Paths, and The Order: Fantastic Voyage.
Right then… 2000 AD Prog 2268 is out on Wednesday 9th February. Time for a preview…
JUDGE DREDD: EXTRAORDINARY DEATHS – TC Eglington, Silvia Califano, colours by Gary Caldwell, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Another done-in-one Dredd, this time one of the weird cases strips, where Dredd’s investigating a series of suspicious hacking-related deaths.
So far, so run-of-the-mill, right? Well, thankfully, Eglington, along with some really lovely looking art from Califano, pulls it all together, gives it a twist, adds in some funny, and makes this one a really damn fine one-off. And let’s not forget, for all the epic Dredds, the really important life-changing events, the core of Dredd, the thing that’s kept it all fresh and vibrant all these years, is the focus on Mega-City One and all the poor schmucks living there. Hell, we wouldn’t want to, but it’s one-offs like Extraordinary Deaths that make it somewhere that we can’t help but come back to.
THE ORDER: FANTASTIC VOYAGE – PART 7 – Kek-W, John Burns, Simon Bowland
The Island of the Dead, the Shadowmen are attacking, and I’m just going with The Order at this point. Sod it, I’ve had enough of scratching my head and wondering who, what, why and all the other W words. No, instead I’m just going along with it all.
So, it’s the Shadowmen versus what’s left of The Order, and the odds don’t look all that good for them all getting out of the fight… but the art… oh, the art surely does look damn fine, it’s John Burns after all. That glorious thing he does with his art of dropping the colour out, the choreography of the fight scenes – damn, he’s still so good.
SAPHIR: LIAISONS DANGEREUSES – PART 4 – Kek-W, David Roach, colours by Peter Doherty, letters by Annie Parkhouse
And speaking of gorgeous artwork adorning the pages of the Prog. Here’s David Roach doing his thing. Oh my, that’s beautiful, stunning work, complete with a spectacular double-page spread breaking through the dimensions.
Now that Inspector Mucha has sort of been reassured about the Lady Sofia’s child that’s sort of his, sort of not, there’s the small matter of the huge alien invasion led by Amos Veridian to deal with. So it’s every woman to the barricades and the house spinning off into the barriers between worlds.
Just like the other Kek-W saga in the Prog, The Order, it’s expansive, fantastical, and benefits hugely from having a stellar talent on the art. Unlike The Order, I’m in with this one from the start and it’s just a fabulous adventure to be in on.
THARG’S TERROR TALES: ROOTS – by PJ Holden, letters by Simon Bowland
PJ Holden flies solo here, in a simple little 4-pager that takes the Terror of Terror Tales and does it proud.
A family ripped apart by husband and father, a famous horror writer, killing himself. Mom’s lost in her plants, the son’s lost deep into whatever shit he’s putting in his veins. But sometimes families get brought back together in the strangest ways.
Four pages, black and white, and bloody great. For those of you who have only really seen Holden’s work on Dredd, this is very different, a perfect showcase to see the artwork.
PROTEUS VEX: DESIRE PATHS – PART 7 – Michael Carroll, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland
We’re in classic standoff territory now, with Vex coming face to face with the agent who’s been on his trail all this time, Melody Pen Naday.
This one’s Carroll and especially Lynch really letting loose, the simmering tension through Proteus Vex exploding in a glorious bit of action, just a couple of pages long but absolutely glorious, Lynch choreographing it all so beautifully.
And after the explosions and the violence, Vex is off again, pursuing his own agenda, always moving forward, mysterious, different. And that’s just how the whole strip reads. And that’s a damn good thing.