2000AD Summer Special 2016
Review by Seth
Is it so wrong to be in your mid forties and still getting really excited about the 2000ad specials? So much so, that rather than find my way to a WHSmith’s or wait a week until I visit my trustworthy comic shop (sorry Simon, Comix Shoppe in Swansea – now celebrating 30years in the business dontcha know ). I pay the extra 2 quid postage to have it delivered directly from Rebellion.For me, patience is an alien concept.
Cover star JD stands in part silhouette over suitably holiday / seaside themed robotic (?) victims, witty and old s(k)chool . Ryan Brown is becoming quite the cover star – any chance of some strip work?
Dredd kicks things off, and it’s written by Wagner – woo hoo! Drawn by Brendan McCarthy! Wow, double woo hoo!
A passenger on the a late night Zoom reaches out to a cuckoled husband with a plan to solve both their marital problems, but this being MC1, it’s not as simple as that, lets just say some cit’s are complete bastards.Wagner revisits an old theme, Dredd barely makes an appearance, and McCarthy reigns it in, proving he can do subtle as well as outlandish. Nice and vibrant. Not a classic,but and old fashioned Dredd with the city and it’s denizens front and centre.
Speaking of old chool, “Ace Trucking Co” is up next. Ace and crew are on a lugging sportswear and snack food, but their route takes them past the Space Olympics. Speedo Ghost’s cargo is not made up of official brands of the event, so attracts the attention of the Brand Police. Ace being Ace, decides to run for it, which goes as well as you’d expect.
Nigel Dobbyn takes over art from Nick Dyer. Like Dyer, Dobbyn is a good choice. Cartoony, nice and slick, Dobbyn is an underrrated artist who in the past has been linked to some bobbins strips (“Trash” anyone?). These are working well and must be popular.Always had a soft spot for Ace. Perhaps a complete series is on the cards. It’s a birruva laugh you know? Could be worse – it could be “The Order”.
“Sinister Dexter” : the unwelcome relatives that visit and just won’t leave. Extending their stay, day by day, by day by day by day…..
It’s definitely run its course now, actually, I think it was spent around the time of “Downlode Tales”. Abnett is on fire elsehwere – “Lawless”, “Brink” , “Grey Area” (most of the time anyway) and I’d recommend Wild’s End. But I think even he is bored of the regular strip. Thankfully we aren’t talking about the regular strip ( which I am completely lost with now, the last vestiges of my meagre reserves of interest, and yes patience, are exhausted.)
As it is turns out, despite my tirade, this one off is fun and makes no reference to what is happening in the regular strip. Finny and Ray are hired to punch the ticket of a pair of air conditioning repair men. Seems a bit extreme, but being hitmen with scruples (or something – I have never quite understood that) there is a bit more to it than that.
Finny and Ramone’s annoying verbal ticks are still all present and correct, Tom Foster rocks the Cliff Robinson / Andy Clarke look, well. Camera angles, characters and figure work are all excellent. An entertaining one off, which reminds you that once, whilst never a classic strip was diverting enough.
As a bonus, an awesome Chris Weston Dredd centre spread breaks up “Sindex”.
“Robo Hunter” covers labour rights, workforce abuse, bureaucry and crap customer service. Sam does the double agent thing, with a view to getting into his clients knickers and fails miserably. Alec Worley wracks up the cringey jokes (Federation Against Robot Trauma?). Doesn’t have the lunacy factor of the early strips, but much better than Mark Millar’s 90’s run.
Mark Simmons style has evolved since the last strip. Now his work looks like a mix of Mike Dowling and Rian Hughes. Worley gets the gist of Sam, Simmons is a good replacement for Gibson – who has big shoes to fill.But has it had its time?
Talking of having its time, heeeeeeeeeeeere’s Rogue!
In all fairness , Guy Adams’s last two specials strips were brilliant, it’s just a pity that Rogue doesn’t go anywhere now.The original Rogue’s story (not Friday) is told. This is all ancient history, and Rogue is a bit of a mess, but as flashback stories these work fine. Adam’s gets him. Broxton’s art reminds me of Dougie Braithwaite with a touch of the Mike Dorey’s. Theme for today : fat warty guys gettting massages from girls in gas masks at Nort recreation facilities :Fort Neuro this isn’t.
Rogue sneaks in to interrogate the aforementioned chubs terfor the location of a Nort scietific facility, and takes a bloody, but imaginative, escape route. As a story it starts well but ends with a bit of an anti climax. If they resurrected him on a more permanent basis, I’d vote Adams and Broxton.But it sounds like Rennie has that gig.
Any good then?
Aye, tidy (as we say around these parts). The whole package reminds me of the mid eighties progs. Everything other than “Sinister Dexter” is from that era, no bad thing though, that was a classic period. Still no crosswords and articles on cities of the future. When did these stop being Sci Fi Specials anyway?