The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2320: Happy 46th To The Galaxy’s Greatest!
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.
It’s a happy birthday to 2000 AD this Prog – 46 thrill-powered years to remember and absolutely no signs of it slowing down any time yet.
Inside the Prog, we have a rather great done-in-one Judge Dredd, plus the continuing adventures in The Order, Joe Pineapples, plus two of the best 2000 AD strips in many a year with more epic sci-fi from The Out and Proteus Vex.
2000 AD Prog #2320 came out on Wednesday 22nd February (which means that, yes, I’m late once more. I know, I know. I shall have to do better.) So, that means we’re more than overdue for a look inside…
JUDGE DREDD: TAKING DOORS – Ken Niemand, Kieran McKeown, colours by Matt Soffe, letters by Annie Parkhouse
A one-off for the birthday Prog, with Niemand cleverly playing with the idea of Dredd’s history through memories of just how many doors he’s busted down over the years after an innocent question from a Cadet tagging along on a raid.
It’s right back to door number one, with Dredd leading the way. And from there it’s door after door after door, no two the same, so many different situations, so many ways he could have died. And all the time knowing that the next door could be his last.
So it’s a Dredd that looks simple but one that’s loaded with complexity and history, working really well, one of those that just gets Dredd right – or mostly right… because there’s two bits that just don’t sit well, both when the Judges come through the doors, shouting ‘Justice Department! Drop ’em or die, punks!’ and yet they’re already guns out and shooting indiscriminately into the room and into the perps. After all, the Judges might go through the door guns out, but would they really go in shooting like that? Little things that just bug the crap out of you occasionally and pull you out of things.
JOE PINEAPPLES: TIN MAN – PART 9 – Pat Mills and Clint Langley, story by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley, letters by Annie Parkhouse
So, from a Dredd that just has a couple of things to spoil the fun to a strip that’s only got one saving grace and that’s Clint Langley’s artwork.
Apart from that, the seven pages (yes, seven, God knows why) here do absolutely nothing to convince me that this is one that’s going to go down as anything other than a terrible end to Pat Mills’ run in 2000 AD, rather than some sort of magnificent finale, as I’m sure he thought it would be.
You’ve got Joe Pineapples and Sue Bananas back in time dealing with the psychopath doctor whilst in the present day (whenever the hell that is), Joe’s busy moaning (and moaning and moaning and moaning and moaning) to Ro-Jaws about Sue and the damn nanobot problem.
If there was a story here apart from Joe Pineapples feels a bit lovesick, let’s introduce a lady robot and a backstory, then it’s escaping me.
However, on the plus side, we’re 9 episodes in by now. Surely there’s not more than 12 in all?
THE OUT: BOOK THREE – PART 9 – by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, letters by Simon Bowland
Ah, the perfect palate cleanser after Joe Pineapples, The Out thankfully hasn’t put a step wrong across any episode of the three books thus far and I don’t see it doing so anytime, not with Abnett and Harrison in such grand form.
Anyhow, in the past few installments of The Out we’ve had Cyd discover that she was deliberately infected with dormant Tankinar tech by the Zoto when they rebuilt her, we’ve had the Zoto and the Unanima’s attack pandas both trying to kill her, and we’ve had her manage to get the hell out of things by getting a ride with an old friend.
So, having caught up and after a few episodes that just flashed by, time to relax and unwind things a little, with Abnett taking the moment to unpack all that’s gone on so far here in Book 3, which is something like this…
Damn it all, The Out does manage to be just so superb, week after week, episode after episode. It’s a joy unfolding in front of you. Abnett’s way of adding so many little touches all the way through, whilst running dialogue past us that’s just sparkling and so much fun, is just such a delight.
And as for Harrison, he just has this way of filling all his pages and panels with so much but never losing control, never losing the reader.
Beautiful stuff, every single week.
THE ORDER: HEART OF DARKNESS – PART 4 – Kek-W and John Burns, letters by Jim Campbell
Francis Bacon is determined to rule an entire empire across space and time, meaing the Order have to battle the shadow-creatures at the edge of time.
All of which insanity sort of explains why there’s a little version of Paul Bunyan, or one of his golem-like creature copies currently in Ben Franklin’s duodenum. Okay, maybe it doesn’t explain it. But the thing about the Order, particularly this late in the game, given that this is the last series of The Order as far as I know, is that it never made all that much sense to me.
I don’t quite know why but it’s never really been one I could get into. I mean, it’s not the same as Joe Pineapples, by any means. There’s loads of fans of The Order out there and I can certainly appreciate the skill of what’s being done. It’s just not for me.
Having said all that, there’s a real enjoyment to be had for just going along with the strangeness and enjoying it for what it is.
PROTEUS VEX: CRAWLSPACE – PART 9 – Michael Carrol and Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland
The war that the Imperium never thought they could win has been won it seems, the Scorchers defeated and the other worlds flock to offer their support for the Imperium Ascendant.
So that’s it then? The story done even on the first page here, as Carroll’s clever voiceover that he’s adopted all the way through Proteus Vex declares that the unification around the Imperium ‘would be regarded as the foundation for long-lasting peace in the galaxy.’
Well, nope, not a bit of it. It’s just a chance for Carroll and Lynch to take us in a different direction, as we realise that the whole Imperium-Scorcher war was merely the backdrop to this story – all of which seems to bring us back to what Midnight Indicating Shame has been doing.
Oh yes, Proteus Vex continues to get better and better, with Carroll and Lynch doing that thing they’ve done so well and is done so rarely of having a sci-fi strip that’s not got a single connection to humanity. Instead, they’ve created this whole galaxy of wonders to be explored and enjoyed. Every twist they take just surprises you and means that there’s so much more that’s possible in the world of Proteus Vex.