The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2323: Wanna Go Out Again?

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.

With the end of Joe Pineapples last week (oh the relief) it’s just four continuing tales this week, plus a new one-off Future Shock by Liam Johnson and Steve Yeowell. There’s also the penultimate episodes of Proteus Vex: Crawlspace and Judge Dredd: Succession, and the latest episodes for The Out Book Three and The Order: Heart of Darkness.

(You just know that’s one of those incredible Mark Harrison covers, don’t you? Paying fine homage to all sorts of classic movie posters)

2000 AD Prog #2323 is out right now. Yep, I’m late with it again, I know, I know. Bad Richard, bad Richard.

Right then, let’s have a darned good little look inside…


JUDGE DREDD: SUCCESSION – PART 3 – Ken Niemand, Leonardo Manco, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Corporate warfare completely out of control, that’s where this one’s at.

We’ve got the head of the Curare Corp who’s shuffled off this mortal coil and the power vacuum means that everyone in the company has pulled guns and started offing the competition.

And right now, we have Accounts Judge Gulliver leading a very Mega-City One type of forensic audit… Basically, it’s one of those Niemand Dredds where Dredd sits to one side and lets others sort some stuff – well, he can’t do it all, not all of the time. It’s the sort of thing that quality Dredds have done over the years and Niemand seems particularly good at it.


Artistically, we have Leonardo Manco on art, doing all the sort of gloriously great artwork you’d expect after seeing his work on Sláine: Dragontamer recently. Sure, he’s playing fast and loose with a bit of tech (that’s surely not a to spec Lawmaster – probably annoying the hell out of the pedants and gatekeeper types… good!)


THE OUT: BOOK THREE – PART 12 – by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, letters by Simon Bowland

Cyd’s on the run from the Unanima, who want her back in planet arrest for the Tankinar crimes committed while she was a host. She’s also on the run from the Zoto, who don’t want the secret getting out that they planted the dormant Tankinar tech inside her.

So, all great for Cyd then.

Luckily, she’s got Bag and new companion Cheerio along with her. Although given that Bag’s just all sarcasm and judgemental comments and Cheerio has so far been well-meaning but frankly pretty useless, perhaps her particular companions are hindering way more than helping.

Now, we get a return visit from Cyd’s daughter Joey and it’s back to the tricky subject of the UP and what it all means in the world…


Turns out Joey’s breaking a few rules to meet up with Mum again, all to tell a few secrets and point Cyd in the right way… the Zoto conspiracy, someone using Cyd to get to Joey, oh it’s all magnificently, wonderfully weird again here. And I love it so much.

Perfectly brilliant, Mark Harrison’s artwork just so dynamic, so much detail yet uncluttered and flowing, and inventive, imaginative storytelling from Harrison and Dan Abnett – best thing in the Prog for decades.


FUTURE SHOCKS: VOLITION – by Liam Johnson and Steve Yeowell, letters by Annie Parkhouse

A five-page Future Shock might be hard enough, getting the beginning, middle, and twist in the end all right and then adding in those tricky things like introducing new characters and all that storytelling stuff, but now try doing it, and doing it this damn well, with just four pages.

But that’s just what Liam Johnson does here. It starts in familiar territory, with the very last days of the Earth and humanity praying that the probes they’ve sent out in a desperate attempt to discover Earth 2.0.

But the Rover they’ve sent out to do the job is all about the preservation of life. Humanity had the idea that that meant the preservation of human life in finding a new home. But what happens if the rover, named Volition, decides its mission encompasses all life? Just how does that translate when it actually discovers a planet that would serve as Earth 2.0 perfectly well, but there’s the tricky issue of the alien life that humanity would have to supplant.

Well, there’s your Future Shock right there. It’s four pages of Steve Yeowell artwork looking so simple, so perfectly spare and precise and great, all in service to a good little Liam Johnson Future Shock.


THE ORDER: HEART OF DARKNESS – PART 6 – Kek-W and John Burns, letters by Jim Campbell

It’s rushing towards its ending now and getting faster and more frenetic. So, with little to lose, it’s pretty much time to just settle back and let this one wash over you – enjoy the madness of The Order, wrap yourself in the glorious John Burns artwork, and just let it work for you.

Just to give you the slightest idea of all that’s going on… The Order are marching across time in a fight-back against the shadow-creatures. We’ve got a part-shadow Ben Franklin working for The Order but infiltrating the shadow White House, while an Order ship wrapped in shadow tech flies in to bring a massive temporal shift in society and then, all of a sudden, there’s a chance for change, with a decapitated George Washington making a new world order is possible, bringing America together as one nation.


But a dimension away, there’s a man with other plans… Francis Bacon was expecting one future that he saw in Ritterstahl’s memory and he’s determined to change history… again.

Round and round and round the Order goes, where it’s going, where it stops no-one except Kek-W knows – and that’s frankly some of the fun of it by this stage. Strap in, recognise you aren’t going to know all that’s going on and just enjoy the chaos.


PROTEUS VEX: CRAWLSPACE – PART 12 – Michael Carrol and Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland

The penultimate part, as the war between the Imperium and the Scorchers moves to its finale and we get to see it all play out in front of us, huge sci-fi done right from the imaginations of both Carroll and Lynch.


With the Scorchers’ world-splitter onboard, Vex’s ship is aiming for the Scorcher homeworld, surrounded by Obdurate craft (war does make some strange bedfellows after all). Obviously the Scorchers are determined this won’t happen. So, it’s Vex et al racing to the Scorcher homeworld with destruction in mind and the Scorchers throwing absolutely everything at them to stop them.

Meanwhile, the Scorchers are expecting their new pact with the Citheronians to pay off… but there’s that one real wild card to be played – just what is the deal with Midnight Indicating Shame?

All in all, Proteus Vex delivers on the epic nature of its premise, delivering huge-scale sci-fi, massive, cinematic in its way – but way better, with Carroll and Lynch taking the limitless imagination of comics and applying it so well here.

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