The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2272: Habs On The Brink

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.

INJ Culbard giving you a stunning Brink cover

Like it says in the always worth reading Damage Report: Journal of the Plague Years that runs in the copyright bit on the contents page, it’s a chilling moment when Dredd and real-life come close together – so with Dredd flashing back to the Apocalypse War with the Sovs and at the same time as Russia invades Ukraine, that’s not good at all. We prefer to keep these sorts of wars and the tyrannical dictatorial madmen on the printed page if it’s all the same to you, Putin.

Anyway, inside this Prog, more of the same as last Prog, including stunning Judge Dredd from John  Wagner and Dan Cornwell, incredible sci-fi in all its forms with Brink from Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard, Proteus Vex from Michael Carroll and Jake Lynch, and Kingmaker from Ian Edginton and Leigh Gallagher. Ending this week is the latest run of The Order – with a new Fiends of the Eastern Front taking its place in Prog 2273.

But first… Prog 2272 – it’s a bit damn good! 2000 AD Prog 2272 is out on Wednesday 9th March. Time to have a look inside.

JUDGE DREDD: THE CITADEL – PART 3 – John Wagner, Dan Cornwell, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Annie Parkhouse

After meeting Winterton, the man who’s been languishing in iso-block solitary for the last 35 years with a story to tell about what really went on with ‘The Citadel’ and the ‘Apocalypse War’, complete with secrets to spill, it’s now time to head back – to Dredd and cadets, including Winterton, desperately fighting for their city.

It’s so well written, of course it is, but it’s brutal and it’s deadly and it screams of something important going on – it’s just we don’t know it yet.

Having already lost one cadet to the Sovs, Dredd’s making the hard decisions, laying down the law his way to keep the cadets and the Cit-Def in shape, all to mount his assault on the Citadel.

So very, very good. Tense, taut, spare writing from Wagner and Cornwell just gets better and better.

PROTEUS VEX: DESIRE PATHS – PART 11 – Michael Carroll, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland

And there we have it – the meaning behind the title, ‘Desire Paths’… they’re the tracks made by animals (and humans as well) to take the shortest, safest, most-rewarding paths. And here in Proteus Vex, it’s Carroll transposing it to the founding of Kingdoms and naturally to all we’ve read so far of the various Kingdoms and Empires in this stunning sci-fi tale.

And Jake Lynch has so much to do with that, his visuals here are better than anything he’s done before – and he was pretty damn good before.

There’s an angularity in his art, all the way through to the panel layouts, all giving us a sense of the alien nature of it all. But the flow never falters, is never lost, leaving us with something so readable yet so cutting edge at the same time – now that’s a trick to pull off.


THE ORDER: FANTASTIC VOYAGE – PART 11 – FINAL PART – Kek-W, John Burns, letters by Simon Bowland

Across 11 parts, we’ve seen so much, as the shadow beasts threaten the disparate elements of The Order across time and one that threatens humanity through the imposition of a shadow republic, masterminded by the powerful and familiar names in the US government.

So, as Ben Franklin’s body in one time is engulfed by the shadows, The Order struggle to save him in another time, another place. And all with the aid of a wire and a set of Small Paul’s miniature bodies.

What does it all mean? Well, damned if I know – and the ending here may leave you wanting too much for a finale. We’re left with a cliffhanger, or whatever the underwater equivalent is.

KINGMAKER: FALLS THE SHADOW – PART 9 – Ian Edginton, Leigh Gallagher, letters by Jim Campbell

Crixus, Princess Yarrow, and the back from the dead Wizard Ablard are waiting for the attack from above. Except it doesn’t. Instead, there’s something far stranger, as Crixus finds himself offered a strange bounty, something that’s more than likely to cause him a world of trouble somewhere down the line.

Or, as Ablard says…

Yes, there’s always a twist or two or three in Kingmaker, with Edginton writing his socks off to show us something very different in this one. And of course, along with Edginton’s excellent storytelling, we have those delightful lines of Leigh Gallagher, perfect to show the contrast between the lush organic world of Crixus and the hard-line sci-fi touches of those above.

Although Kingmaker may well be coming to the end of this current storyline, I don’t doubt there’s a few twists and turns to come in this most enjoyable melding of genres.

BRINK: MERCURY RETROGRADE – PART 3 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, letters by Simon Bowland

Three parts in and this is already showing us just why Brink is consistently one of the best things 2000 AD has published in the last couple of decades.

It’s back to the beginning in so many ways, with Nolan Maslow investigating the Sect crimes, the links to the Unions, and to Gentau Corp. But the title tells us there’s going to be a hell of a lot more to this – presumably all to do with the Mercury problem and the fact that it’s just not there anymore.

Right now we’re tight on Mas doing his investigation, although he’s not sure quite what it is he’s looking at yet.

But then there’s also the thread of following the Unions, in this case, the Atmospheric Workers Union fitters – so far it’s just chat, but there’s always more to it than that in Brink, which is just what makes it all so fascinating and good to see it play out deliciously slowly.

And then you get INJ Culbard’s artwork. With just five pages this episode, he goes from a riot to a tight indoor scene, a simple but perfectly done conversation between the union guys, and then out onto the streets where the neon glow just burst off the page, and finally back to the Union guys on the job.

Five pages, five switches, five subtly different looks – and they are all just some of the best work you’ll see all year.

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