The Weekly 2000 AD – Prog 2321 – Walk The Line Punk
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.
Yep, 46 years and still going strong. In fact I’d go as far as saying we’re seeing a comic that’s getting better and better and better with age.
First of all, a note about the brilliant cover – it’s a rare Jock piece but it comes from a commission piece that was done, that then got tinkered with, worked up a bit, sent to Tharg and… boom… next thing you know it’s a cover. And a damn fine one, a great banged-up Dredd.
Once we’re past that though we’ve got another five strips, with continuations of two of the greatest bits of sci-fi that have been in the Prog in so many years – so damn great – I speak of The Out and Proteus Vex of course. You’ve also got the weird and the strange world of The Order in its final series. And then there’s Joe Pineapples. And starting it all off this week we have a new Dredd multi-parter, ‘Succession‘ by Ken Niemand and Leonardo Manco, where a case of corporate bloodletting reaches Mega-City One levels.
2000 AD Prog 2320 is out right now – go do yourself a favour and go get it!
JUDGE DREDD: SUCCESSION – PART 1 – Ken Niemand, Leonardo Manco, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse
‘Old Man Gone. It’s On.’ That’s what it takes to set this one off, a message coming through the phones of all the higher-up corporate types of the Curare Corporation after old man Curare kicks the bucket.
So, this being Mega-City One and everyone being absolutely bat-shit crazy, instead of the usual corporate jostling going on with everyone lining themselves up for the new order of the corporation, including whoever takes over at the top, we have everyone involved going absolutely Rambo and starting to whittle away the competition – it’s corporate bloodletting gone mad.
Of course, this being one of those sorts of Dredd strips, the man himself only turns on the last couple of pages – and he’s got absolutely no idea what’s going on either.
A fine start for another one of those Niemand Dredds where Dredd just plays the bystander to the chaos of yet another set of utterly ridiculous goings-on in the big Meg. But the big draw this week has got to be having Leonardo Manco, whose art was the only good thing about the final series of Slaine last year, here on Dredd. Stunning artwork going on, fabulous.
THE OUT: BOOK THREE – PART 9 – by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, letters by Simon Bowland
After all that’s gone on so far – finding out she had the dormant Tankinar tech deliberately implanted by the Zoto when they rebuilt her, getting sentenced to life planet-arrest on the Unanima homeworld and then escaping – literally out the back door – Cyd’s got a hell of a lot of questions she wants answers to as well as looking to clear her name.
Trouble is, everybody wants to kill her and she’s on the run with just her sentient bag and her old mate Cheerio for help.
So of course, this is the perfect moment for Abnett to have an episode where everyone just goes on a 100km trek. And it’s every bit as perfect as you’d expect. This episode is just one of the best this series and all because Abnett and Harrison spend their five pages just giving us gag after gag after gag.
Although there is some serious stuff going on, particularly where Cheerio mentions this…
Yep, the end of civilisation coming thanks to the latest iteration of the Tankinar, something intimately connected to Cyd now.
But no, this one’s all about the funny, as Cyd, Bag, and Cheerio take a little wonder to go ask the ‘Truth Trumpet of Celestial Knowledge’ – according to Cheerio it’s something that people from all over come to ask questions. A long trek – 100km – gives us all the time we need to get a little banter going. It’s all to do with the locals who’ve evolved into screens that respond – and display -empathically to whatever the pilgrims say or do.
Cuee Cyd going for it, ‘Flowers!’ ‘Bag!’ and then this…
But the glory of what Abnett does is that the gags are just layered, so there’s funny on top of funny on top of funny – and the brilliance of Abnett is that, while he’s just having Cyd, Bag, and Cheerio have a trek and a chat, we’re also getting all that wonderful Out stuff – the alienness of it, the weirdness, the otherness, and the fact that, by the end, wouldn’t you know it, Cyd’s in a hell of a lot more trouble than she thought, something that means she’s about to blow up on Cheerio.
Which all leads us to this glorious, glorious moment…
Now that, dear readers, is how to deliver a punchline on top of a punchline. Brilliant.
And of course, all the way through the device of having them wander through the weirdness, it’s a perfect opportunity for Mark Harrison to do his thing and fill the pages with magnificent artwork.
Better and better and better – best thing for years in 2000 AD without a doubt. Magnificent.
JOE PINEAPPLES: TIN MAN – PART 9 – Pat Mills and Clint Langley, story by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley, letters by Annie Parkhouse
And after the magnificence of The Out, back down to Earth with Joe Pineapples. Although, after ploughing through the last eight episodes – and really finding it a drag to turn the pages – we do at last have a little good news. Because, yes, it’s there in Tharg’s editorial on the inside front cover – ‘the penultimate part of Tin Man.’
Again, the only good thing about Joe Pineapples is Clint Langley’s artwork. Although frankly it’s far better right now to head over to the Megazine where you get great Langley artwork that you can enjoy along with a great story in ‘Storm Warning’.
Anyway, this episode… I don’t know, stuff happens. Ro-Jaws has eaten the asteroid they’ve been on for the last however many million years. Joe’s still having his crisis over Sue Bananas. The dialogue is still dismal – ‘I tried every way I could to block out the pain of her passing. But if it took the life and death of a star to get over the pain of losing her… then I must be real… I must have a soul.’ Yes Joe, you can be a real boy now.
And… well, screw it, I just don’t care. Some other things appear, there’s shouting, and then Blackblood turns up. I neither know nor care why.
THE ORDER: HEART OF DARKNESS – PART 5 – Kek-W and John Burns, letters by Jim Campbell
I’ve never really got The Order, it’s just one of those strips that didn’t click with me. Sometimes that happens. But at least I can read The Order and get what it’s trying to do and appreciate that it does actually work in being completely off the wall and strange.
So now we’ve got things coming to some sort of ending – I think I’m right in saying that this is the final series of The Order – Kek-W’s doing the great thing of just leaning into the weird whilst also pushing on to an ending, knowing that whatever you can come up with, John Burns is the artist to make it look great on the page.
Which is exactly why we have Ben Franklin having a meet and greet with Washington and the rest in the Shadow Congress, all made up of interconnected sentient shadow matter, looking to make America a shadow slave colony. Except Ben Franklin is actually playing for the other side, The Order, misdirecting things, plotting and planning. Oh, and he’s got all those little versions of Paul Bunyan’s golems inside him as well. Yes, it is strange, I did warn you.
As for the rest of the Order, they’re surfing the Chronal Space in a Shadow-covered vessel, causing chronal anomalies all over the place.
Yep, that’s just some of what The Order is all about, loads of weirdness all well done.
PROTEUS VEX: CRAWLSPACE – PART 10 – Michael Carrol and Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland
Well, the events of last episode really showed us just what Midnight Indicating Shame had been plotting and planning for the longest time…
Oh yes, the cunning, wonderful thing that she is. You knew right from the start that Carroll wasn’t going to be just throwing this character aside anytime soon.
Of course, doing all that means that the Citheronian Queen isn’t exactly having the best of times right now, especially as Midnight’s been causing a load of trouble for the Scorchers and the Citheronians really don’t want to be upsetting them either.
And Midnight’s little message… well, that doesn’t go down too well…
So, we have Midnight inspiring rebellion, we have the Citheronian Queen wanting Midnight neutralised, we have the Scorchers making deals, where oh where is this wonderful series going to go next?