The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2284: Spiralling Down, Down, Down In The Brilliant Brink

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.

Another week, another Prog, with the continuations of Judge Dredd: An Honest Man, Hope… In The Shadows, Brink: Mercury Retrograde, the penultimate episode in Fiends of the Eastern Front: 1963, plus a brand-new Future Shock, ‘School Run’.

Another stunning INJ Culbard cover – always striking, always beautiful… and again with the circular theme

Right then – 2000 AD Prog #2284 is out on Wednesday 1st June, so it’s time for a preview:

JUDGE DREDD: AN HONEST MAN – PART 4 – Ken Niemand, Tom Foster, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

After Asher pretty much sealed his fate last episode, you know it’s only a matter of time before either rookie Judge Purcell, who he’s managed to completely piss off, or Dredd, who you just know is keeping an eye on things, are on his case.

Well, that happens right here, first Purcell and then Dredd – although whether Dredd’s going to be more on Asher’s case or Purcell’s is a matter of degrees at this point I reckon.

Anyway, as before, Niemand’s Dredd voice is just perfect, clipped, precise, full of the threat that you know is coming.

It’s a great read, backed up by Tom Foster’s precise, classical figure work and great looking cityscapes. Just look at that beautiful set of panels above for exactly what I mean – the devious little smile that grows on Purcell’s face as he gets his way, the subtlety of it all, the details, that’s just why Foster’s such a brilliant Dredd artist.

FUTURE SHOCKS: SCHOOL RUN – John Tomlinson, Steven Austin, letters by Simon Bowland

Manny Litvak had a tough time at school, but that’s where Class Carnage can help him out, a brand-new clone-based system to allow you to get your revenge on the bullies and the teachers that made your life hell all those years ago.

All you have to do is clone yourself a younger body, get some DNA from those you hated, and have at it – multiple clones, multiple ways to get your revenge.

But of course, revenge is a funny thing… especially in a Future Shock and poor Manny’s about to find out.

HOPE IN THE SHADOWS – REEL ONE – PART 8 – Guy Adams, Jimmy Broxton, letters by Jim Campbell

So, who exactly is it that’s hired Mallory Hope this time round? Definitely more to him than meets the eye – after all, the Kirk Douglas-looking fella has just turned up at the morgue and brought Hope back to life.

Although Hope, being Hope, has taken it in his stride, it gave him some thinking time – that would be the colour interlude last episode – and he’s after answers, especially about the info Lupus promised him about his wife. Which takes us to the ending of this one… and that’s the twist I won’t tell you about. Needless to say, it’s something that turns everything on its head.

There’s just so much good about Hope, especially in Broxton’s mostly black and white artwork that I’ve told you, practically every week, is simply superb, atmospheric, moody, noir, all of it. But Guy Adams’ writing here is something to enjoy as well, the extra space afforded to him with this one taking place over the two ‘reels’ means that he’s had the room to allow this one to slowly build and build, piling on the noir feel, establishing the sleaze of the setting, and it’s something that’s definitely paid off.

BRINK: MERCURY RETROGRADE – PART 14 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, leters by Simon Bowland

Still on his own, with Lauren being called away, Maslow’s not dealing too well with it, getting too into his head, beginning to get obsessed with the complexity of what he’s been looking into. He’s got all the political and social stuff to look at, then has to add in the Union activity, plus whatever weird sect things are going on in the Unions, and then there’s Gentau and the big corps (and surely it’s no coincidence that Lauren was looking at Gentau as well – that one has the feel of something that’s going to go very wrong soon). All in all, Maslow’s head is about as cluttered as the board in his room.

And that’s even before we get into all the psychological stuff that he’s getting into. He talks of ‘Brink Anxiety,’ something about living in these Habs that fundamentally affects people, amplifies everything, turns things bad.

Everything in Brink has import, all of it so deliciously unravelled by Abnett and Culbard, slowly, carefully, that sense of things all gathering momentum and spiralling down to the conclusion. We’re 14 glorious parts into it and yet I still can’t quite see where they’re taking things in Mercury Retrograde – and that’s just fine, more than fine in fact, it’s the reason why Brink is one of the best things in 2000 AD.

FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT: 1963 – PART 11 – Ian Edginton, Tiernen Trevallion, letters by Annie Parkhouse

The penultimate episode and we’re far away from the spy thriller that 1963 started out as. Instead, Constanta’s in the skies above London fighting the first sinner, here transformed into a nightmarish crocodile thing with wings.

All of which means we get page after glorious page of Trevallion letting loose with the action, the vampire and the first sinner having it out in the rain – Trevallion’s art just looking so splendid here.

Fiends under Edginton and Trevallion has come so far from the bare bones (brilliant of course, but simple) strip that it first was. Edginton’s added so much depth and potential to the strip, and I can only imagine that there’s plenty more stories to be told. Of course, there’s the end to this one next week, although from how things end here I can guess that it’s going to be a slight ending, setting up something for the following series.

%d bloggers like this: