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.
This Prog, it’s the more than welcome return of the vampire Constanta to an all-new field of war, as Ian Edginton and Tiernen Trevallion bring us to the cold, cold war of Fiends of the Eastern Front: 1963. Alongside that, there’s more from the four great strips – including stunning Dredd from John Wagner and Dan Cornwell in Crucible, and three brilliantly different examples of sci-fi with Brink, Proteus Vex, and Kingmaker.
So… onwards to 2000 AD Prog #2273, out on Wednesday 16th March.
JUDGE DREDD: THE CITADEL – PART 4 – John Wagner, Dan Cornwell, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Annie Parkhouse
We’re deep into the mystery of what the hell The Citadel is here and we’re still no less in the dark about it all. But this is a Wagner Dredd and the build-up to it all can be the best thing. In fact, if you remember, ‘Day of Chaos’ was structurally ALL build-up and that was some of the greatest Dredd you’ve ever read.
Here, in the midst of the Apocalypse War, Dredd and an ever-diminishing group of Cadets and Cit-Def, including Cadet Winterton, the man telling this shocking story 35 years in the future, are on the run from Sov bots – and running out of room to run at that.
Effectively, there’s nothing adding to the plot here in this episode, but that doesn’t there’s nothing happening – far from it, this is six pages of Dredd action, choreographed so wonderfully well by both Wagner and one of his artists of choice these days, Dan Cornwell.
KINGMAKER: FALLS THE SHADOW – PART 10 – Ian Edginton, Leigh Gallagher, letters by Jim Campbell
Well, now that Crixus has ended up with Duke Eschatus’ title and position, things have been shaken up in the world of Kingmaker. So it’s not too much of a surprise that we catch up with Crixus and Wizard Ablard and Crixus figures out just how – or rather who – it is that Ablard managed to come back from the dead this time.
All of which puts Crixus into bit of a bind…
So, we’re at a bit of storytelling crossroads here in Kingmaker, with the balance of power shifting somewhat. But of course, things haven’t ended yet – as the last couple of pages show us – and there’s going to be peril a-plenty for Crixus et al in the finale of ‘Falls the Shadow’ to come.
PROTEUS VEX: DESIRE PATHS – PART 12 – Michael Carroll, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland
With Proteus Vex and with pursuers all in the one ship now, and all of them hunted by the Scorchers, things have taken a turn here.
And suddenly, the Imperium and the Scorchers are at war… and the Galaxy is at war once more.
Proteus Vex is all about this slow build, the explosive action coming now and again, but there’s such a delight in seeing Jake Lynch’s artwork, whether it’s in mid-battle and full of action or the tense scenes here, there’s a dynamism in his figure work, that angular look to all his characters – it’s simply a joy to see.
FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT: 1963 – PART 1 – Ian Edginton, Tiernen Trevallion, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Edginton and Trevallion’s exploration of the vampire Constanta has been a glorious thing in recent years, taking on a strip that burst forth for a very short run a long time back in the early days of 2000 AD and had a short follow up, with Stalingrad, in 2006. It was a simple but oh-so-good concept, what if there were vampires stalking the fields of battle in WWII?
But Edginton and Trevallion have gone so much further, taking the simple concept and expanding upon it, keeping the core attraction of the strip but delving deeper into the world of vampires and the history of Constanta himself.
Here, perhaps the most fascinating of all the set-ups and locations thus far, with Constanta deep in the Cold War. It’s Berlin, 1963, and Constanta is the agent on the ground for the Uncivil Service, Britain’s spooks tasked with dealing with the paranormal and dark forces railing against Queen and Country.
An American U-2 spy plane is downed by an infestation of deadly Russian spiders and one of Hitler’s Necromancers wants to defect from Russian to Britain and has requested a meeting in Berlin… I wonder who the Uncivil Service will send for the meet?
It’s a great concept, loaded with potential, and looks so good back in black and white, thanks to the hard work Trevallion puts into every single line.
BRINK: MERCURY RETROGRADE – PART 4 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, letters by Simon Bowland
Nolan Maslow’s investigation into the world of Sect Crimes and their Union links has brought him into contact with the original investigation by Hab-Sec Officer Briget Kurtis, the one where she lost her partner, Brink. And now Mas is spinning a pitch to his editor, linking big corporations and Hab-Sec in breaking the power of the Unions.
The problem for Mas is that we already know there’s a hell of a lot more to the story than that – and while he’s busy downplaying the Sect Crime angle… we know different. And you get the impression that, within no time at all, Mas is going to be way, way deeper into the chaos that we know surrounds this world. Hell, we might even see him come into contact with Bridge.
It’s always been a favourite of mine but now, with the complete change of tack of switching focus to the journalist’s investigation, it’s getting better and better, with Abnett and particularly Culbard completely blowing me away every single week.