The Weekly 2000 AD – Prog 2282 – Magic Heats Things Up For Cold War Constanta
by Richard Bruton
45 years and better than ever – 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.
More, more, and more on offer here amongst the five strips on offer. Obviously, cover featured Fiends Of The Eastern Front: 1963 sees Constanta getting in all manner of trouble with an old, old foe. But there’s also more of ex-Judge Asher making dubious decisions that are going to bring him into Dredd’s orbit in Judge Dredd: An Honest Man, more shadowy Hollywood nightmares for Mallory Hope, P.I. in Hope… In The Shadows, more from Dexter on the run in ‘The Thing Is The Thin’g, and more intriguing, tantalising reveals in the always quite brilliant Brink: Mercury Retrograde.
Right then – 2000 AD Prog #2282 is out on Wednesday 18th May, so it’s time for a preview…
JUDGE DREDD: AN HONEST MAN – PART 2 – Ken Niemand, Tom Foster, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Oh, Asher, you just couldn’t let it rest could you? This is an ex-Judge who did his 10 on Titan and made it back to MC-1, only to not be able to quiet the nagging voice of the Justice Department training when he stumbles onto something interesting and mob-related in a street crash.
So now Asher’s got himself a mission, a potentially off-world and definitely illegal handgun, and he’s only going to make it worse the deeper he gets into this one.
And speaking of getting in deeper… Dredd follows up the crash with that idiot rookie Purcell and doesn’t like what he finds. All of which leads to this…
You have to hand it to Dredd, he’s not one to ditch the job that needs doing to prove a point, even when it means getting waist-deep in human sludge to get hold of whatever the couriers were carrying.
Again, it’s a beautifully crafted Dredd from Niemand and Foster. Niemand’s got all that Wagnerian tone down by now and is playing the two parts of this story so well, near-parallel storylines that we know will diverge at some point – and that’s probably a point ex-Judge Asher won’t be happy with. And of course, Foster’s artwork in this is just sumptuous. That delicate line, the wonderful inks, the detailing all over the pages, the excellent storytelling and flow to it all. Excellent stuff even after just a couple of episodes.
HOPE IN THE SHADOWS – REEL ONE – PART 6 – Guy Adams, Jimmy Broxton, letters by Jim Campbell
Slow build, atmospheric, gorgeous to look at… that’s been the feel of Hope in every storyline thus far and it just carries on and on, Broxton’s artwork just such a fit for something 1940s alt-history and magical. His art here practically smells of celluloid, whisky, and cigarette smoke.
Here, Mallory’s brought in on another murder related to the film set, by a cop called Ingmar to boot – all the cine-references are in here, naming is just a small part of it. And boom… just like that things switch and move and Mallory’s in so much trouble, magical trouble.
No disrespect meant to Guy Adams here but everything here in Hope rests on Broxton’s wide shoulders. Once we go off the magical rails once more there’s more chance for Broxton to impress, playing with style and layout so well, making this a real visual feast.
BRINK: MERCURY RETROGRADE – PART 12 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, leters by Simon Bowland
As the episodes go on and on, Brink always takes on an accelerated sense of dread and expectation, the pieces all lining up in place, Abnett slow build matched so well by Culbard’s exquisite details and perfect instinctual sense of how to thrill in a book that’s anything but your standard action thriller.
And thus it is here, 12 episodes in, and investigative journo Nolan Maslow has just had his first real contact with Hab Security, either warning him off the case of the Union/Sect link and what happened when Bridget Kurtis’ partner, Brinkman, ended up dead or just pushing him in the right direction so they can spin it their way.
By the end of this episode Mas will find himself in way, way too deep as the whole history of Brink just keeps on cycling back into Mercury Retrograde.
It’s all here, even in the little details. After all, Kurtis is somewhere in the background of all this investigating what’s going on after Brink died, Maslow’s already met Hassan and Bonner and they’re both involved in Kurtis’ case, plus there’s the whole Union/Cult thing getting louder and louder all the time. Not to mention the fact that very shortly we know that Mercury’s going to go dark, all comms lost, like it’s not there anymore. And we know all this because Mas’s investigations run parallel to events in Brink volume 1, something which you absolutely, positively have to have read – not just because all of the connections and callbacks just build and build but because it’s a damn fine first volume of what has become one of 2000 AD’s finest strips.
DEXTER: BULLETOPIA CHAPTER 9: THE THING IN THE THING – PART 1 – Dan Abnett, Tazio Bettin, colours by Matt Soffe, letters by Simon Bowland
If Abnett’s Brink is the sci-fi procedural that continually amazes across multiple long-running series, Sinister Dexter is Abnett breaking a 20-year storyline into shorter chunks, and never more so than with ‘Bulletopia’, already up to nine chapters of shorter works. In it, he’s had Downlode taken over by a rogue AI, killed Sinister and resurrected him as an AI puppet tasked with tracking down Dexter.
Now, in The Thing In The Thing, Dexter and a motley crew of Carrie Hosanna, Billi Octavo, and Kalinka have found what appears to be refuge in the Rejektist Collective – but then again, Abnett is never one to let Sinister Dexter slow down that much and before you know it we’re off into a goodly bit of a horror movie, which was always going to happen once we saw Billi heading off to investigate the oh-so spooky-looking barn.
FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT: 1963 – PART 9 – Ian Edginton, Tiernen Trevallion, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Rasputin’s made his play, Constanta’s on the hook and rather legless and armless. But you know Constanta, always a trick up his sleeve, especially when Balaur has his talons in the mix.
And all that talk last episode of the First Sinner… well, perhaps now we find out just who really is pulling all the strings behind this cold war plot to ensnare the vampire?
Obviously, Edginton has more and more plans for the vampire here, something that he has so successfully spun out of what was a really small, but still significant and excellent, part of 2000 AD’s past. And with Trevallion on art, it looks suitably superb, the sinewy darkness of his lines just get better and better as the series comes to yet another conclusion of sorts very soon. But, with Edginton at the helm, there’s bound to be more to come from Constanta and damn enjoyable it will be too.