The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2319: Speak Softly And Carry A Big Gun?

by Richard Bruton

Since 1977 2000 AD has been the UK’s greatest sci-fi weekly comic, and every week we give you a glimpse inside the new Prog… it’s The Weekly 2000 AD.

Simon Coleby returning to the cover for the first time in what seems like a long time – damn fine Joe Pineapples cover too!

Another week, another 2000 AD preview, with another Prog’s worth of tales with the finale to the three-part Dredd, ‘The Hagger They Fall’, and the latest episodes of Joe Pineapples, The Order, and the insanely great slices of epic sci-fi of The Out and Proteus Vex.

2000 AD Prog 2319 is out on 15 February. Shall we have a little look-see inside?

More amazing Jake Lynch artwork from Proteus Vex this week – wonderful imagery, evocative, and otherly

JUDGE DREDD: THE HAGGER THEY FALL – PART 3 – FINAL PART – Arthur Wyatt, Rob Williams, Paul Marshall, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Three parts that end right here – effectively an epilogue to Wyatt and Williams’ Red Queen Saga (collected in Regicide, which I absolutely loved and for which the preview and review will be up soon,) and a case of Dredd mopping up things, getting an excuse to head out to capture Keeper Hag and nullify the contract on Judge Maitland.

It’s played out neatly and simply, a simple hunt and capture, with Dredd playing the Justice Department system to get authorisation for one of those ever so costly space missions.

And then, at the end, something else, a spectre of the Red Queen appears, making this not just an epilogue but a connection to the next part of the story. And in that we get the essence of what makes these tales so damn good. It’s different from the Dredd mega-tales of old, done and dusted across multiple parts where it’s huge at the moment but then Mega-City One just rolls on with the changes reflected in the background of the storytelling. Instead, it’s done across several stories, often months apart. Hell, the whole Maitland saga has been percolating nicely over several years now. It’s perhaps introducing a slightly more complicated continuity to Dreddworld but it also gives a satisfying sense of connection.

THE OUT: BOOK THREE – PART 7 – by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, letters by Simon Bowland

Things are heating up and getting faster here in The Out, with Cyd’s mission to Zotol after escaping the Unanima Capital world meaning that she’s now got both the Zoto threatening to un-mend her and the two Gwindol attack-pandas who were meant to be guarding her wanting to “ugly kill that onspog.”

All this because she wanted to get to the bottom of why she was infected with the Tankinar tech when she was mended/brought back to life in her new body by the Zotol.

So, it’s Zotol and the attack pandas against Cyd – and against each other – with Cyd throwing everything she can at them from her bag to slow them down as she runs. Not quite the kitchen sink, but seriously, Cyd? you kept your favourite car in the bag?


Even in the midst of all the chaos, there’s still time for Cyd and bag to have a go at each other, sparkling dialogue as usual, and all making this so much more than one of those needing to get the character from here to here episodes. And of course, all the way through all of this we have Mark Harrison’s artwork holding us by the hand to guide us through panel after panel, page after page of spectacular scenery and magnificent details.

Damn, this really is just the best thing.


JOE PINEAPPLES: TIN MAN – PART 7 – Pat Mills and Clint Langley, story by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Right, let’s start this off with a positive… there’s page after page of Clint Langley doing some loving tribute pieces to ABC Warriors of old in here, dropping the colours to illustrate Joe remembering fights of a time gone by.


Trouble is, of course, whilst Langley is doing all that lovely illustration showing us what the ABC Warriors looked like, we have a story here that’s written as if it were back in the Warriors’ heyday, somewhere early ’80s. And seriously, comics and 2000 AD have moved on since then. Increasingly, it seems that Pat Mills hasn’t. Maybe this was just one that was hanging around the archives as a rejected strip and Mills has pulled out for this last appearance in a comic he’s increasingly not been involved with and been at odds with over the last decade or, so or it’s just a case of phoning it in. Whatever it is, well, it’s not doing it for me. But hey… to end on a good note, Langley makes it all look good at least. I think there’s a phrase for that but it’s slipped my mind…


THE ORDER: HEART OF DARKNESS – PART 3 – Kek-W and John Burns, letters by Jim Campbell

More great art on a strip I haven’t, historically, gotten along with all that well. But it’s the final series here so it’s all just a case of enjoying it for the last time and just going with it.


Here, we have the rest of The Order against Francis Bacon, who’s busy trying to bring Ben Franklin over to the side of the shadow-creatures, and all the while there’s the miniature golems of Paul Bunyan are inside his body attempting to fight off the shadow creatures from the inside – and they might just be losing that particular battle.

So yes, just go with it and enjoy the out-there weirdness of what it’s doing, along with all the gorgeous artwork from John Burns.


PROTEUS VEX: CRAWLSPACE – PART 8 – Michael Carrol and Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland

After the last episode, The Scorchers are suddenly on the other side of things in their war with the Imperium, thanks to Proteus Vex and the freed Obdurate soldiers and the armada from the Tahus Void shipyards.

Massive losses are not something the Scorchers are used to, but Tsellest, leader of the Scorchers, immediately begins the fight back, brutal, overwhelming, a blanket kill order for any citizen of the Imperium Ascendant, not to mention any kingdom or race that stands with the Imperium.


And speaking of other kingdoms, back to the Citheronians and Midnight Indicating Shame, prisoner of the Scorchers, being brought back to the Citheronian Queen… well, let’s just say that she’s got plans.

Damn, it’s so good. The way Carroll structures Proteus Vex just lends itself, or at least for this series, to a slow pace, one that spreads itself across a few plot threads, then slowly brings them all together in the most unexpected and marvelous ways. And tasked with putting all of this onto the comic page, creating a strip that’s absolutely alien, we have Jake Lynch. Everything in Proteus Vex just looks brilliantly alien, the shapes, the characters, the buildings, the ships, it all has a different look to it, a great way to end the Prog.

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