The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2271: 45 Years And Counting Of Bringing On The Thrill Power

by Richard Bruton

45 years and still going strong, it’s the UK’s greatest sci-fi weekly comic, 2000 AD and we’re here with the Weekly 2000 AD to give you a preview.

Damn, Cliff Robinson is just so good

Well, with the bumper 45th-anniversary Prog having come and gone, we’re back to the usual five strips. Which means there’s more of the new John Wagner and Dan Cornwell Judge Dredd, ‘The Citadel’, which promises to be huge, plus the investigation into the world of Brink continues in ‘Mercury Retrograde, we get more incredible cosmic brilliance in Proteus Vex: Desire Paths, more sci-fi fantasy thrills in Kingmaker: Falls The Shadow, and more bizarre time-traveling strangeness in The Order.

2000 AD Prog #2271 is out on Wednesday 2nd March. Time to have a look inside.

JUDGE DREDD: THE CITADEL – PART 2 – John Wagner, Dan Cornwell, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Annie Parkhouse

This one promises huge things, Dreddworld changing things. Or at least that’s the way everything seems and how all the PR has been pitched.

At the end of the first episode, we had this…

Anyway, that’s Winterton, in iso-block solitary for the past 35 years and now ready to spill the beans on what happened in the Citadel back in the Apocalypse War.

He was a final year Cadet back then, desperately running from the invading Sovs, just him and a few fellow cadets and a few useless Cit-Def muppets. And that’s where he meets Dredd for the first time, swooping in as though some hi-ex wielding messiah, taking control immediately, fearless, brutal, emotionless.

And damn, this is so good. We’ve had two episodes now and we’re back in time, deep in the Apocalypse War and wondering just what dirt Winterton’s going to spill to the priest while a riot goes on outside in the iso-block. But it just read so well, as you’d expect given that it’s John Wagner doing what he’s always done so well, the writer that just knows Dredd better than any other. And in Dan Cornwell, we have a relatively new artist who obviously has Wagner’s complete trust. And no wonder, as there’s just some amazingly good moments here, perhaps none more so than when we get that epic moment of Dredd taking the fight to the Sovs.

PROTEUS VEX: DESIRE PATHS – PART 10 – Michael Carroll, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland

At the end of the last episode, the head Scorcher showed his displeasure with the news that there were other similar races that the Imperium had found. And did it in quite brutal fashion – just like this…

After this comes the cover-up and Vex’s escape, followed by what may be the start of all-out war. But as all that happens, we get five glorious pages done at breakneck speed, Jake Lynch’s perfectly choreographed work set against Carroll’s deliberate use of reportage through most of it that slows down the action just perfectly.

It really is building and building now to the finale, although quite where Carroll and Lynch are taking us with that finale is something that remains, wonderfully, difficult to imagine.

THE ORDER: FANTASTIC VOYAGE – PART 10 – Kek-W, John Burns, Simon Bowland

The Reef of Loast Automata, Clara back as Armoured Zurion, what’s left of The Order separated, shadow beasts aplenty, Ben Franklin being de-shadow wormed by teeny tiny little things that were Small Paul, the son of Paul Bunyan (a worm in human form) – It’s shadow beasts inside and out, large and small.

So, just another normal episode of the time-twisting saga that so often gets beyond me!

It’s moving along apace now, leaving me wondering what’s going on in the larger scheme of things. And yet, still pretty enjoyable despite my confusion.

KINGMAKER: FALLS THE SHADOW – PART 7 – Ian Edginton, Leigh Gallagher, letters by Jim Campbell

So, a victory was had and the gang’s all back together – Crixus, Princess Yarrow, and the back from the dead Wizard Ablard.

But the final battle’s a long way off and you have a feeling things aren’t going to go as smoothly as they’re thinking they might – after all, I reckon Edginton has a few curveballs left to come here in Kingmaker.

But it’s such fine entertainment, the high fantasy sitting so well with the hard sci-fi of the Thorn, both sides of the strip so beautifully drawn here by Gallagher.

BRINK: MERCURY RETROGRADE – PART 2 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, letters by Simon Bowland

So, although we’re back in the world of Brink with the latest storyline, it’s not quite the Brink we were used to. Well not yet anyway. Gone is the police procedural and there’s no sign Of Bridget Kurtis or Hab-Sec as yet. Instead, we’re right back at the beginning of the saga and revisiting all the intrigue around just what’s been going on with the Sect crime, the murders, and the general weirdness of it all – just from an investigative journalist’s perspective instead of Hab-Sec Officer Bridge.

Nolan Maslow was there when Bridge’s partner, Brink, was killed and he’s been sniffing around what he thinks might be a big story ever since – Unions, Sects, the works. He’s done it before, he broke the story that led to the Hab’s first official sect case. But this one – well, this one might be much bigger. Already there’s hints of the mystery, with Gentau Corp. and their huge plant, somewhere the Union workers never get to go inside to work. What is it? What are they hiding?

Thus far, it’s been doing that usual and wonderful Brink thing, of dancing around the storyline, settling us into the world again, getting familiar with the characters, all as magnificently done by Abnett and Culbard as ever.

So, strap yourselves in for a ride – hopefully, there’s another 15+ episodes of Mercury Retrograde to love coming up. And I reckon it’s one of those where a careful re-read of everything that’s gone before is going to prove important.

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