After an extended break from progs, podcasts and sobriety Rich staggers back to check out 2000AD’s milestone issue and to show these young website whippersnappers how it’s done!
Cover – Went for the Cliff Robinson/Dylan Teague variant as it was my fave of the lot. The main man himself star surfing on a fucking issue one space spinner! How cool is that? Great idea with a really nice nod back to the beginnings and beautifully rendered. And in the background a bunch of classic 2000AD characters…and zenith. Cant go wrong.
Also couldnt help noticing Tharg seems to be about to snatch the logo away. Does that mean we’re in for a new one? By the time I get this review written you’ll probably all know. Its the fuuuutuuurrrre!
Judge Dredd – By Private Contract.
There’s an expression that’s been cool to throw around by certain types over the last few years. Fan-wanking. As far as I can tell this means “writing stuff the readers will love” and mainly gets used either by people whose stuff is unpopular and are bitter at other’s success or who are the types of fucktards who back in school would rave about a band until someone else mentioned they had also heard of them at which point they instantly proclaim them shit sell outs. Never quite got the “This must be good, because hardly anyone enjoys it” argument.
So, that said….this strip is pure fan wank and I’d like to thank the creators for this most welcome of happy endings. It was a shit load of fun to read, put a big old smile on my miserable face and was the type of story perfectly suited to what is essentially a special edition of the prog.
Short synopsis…Strontium Dog comes back in time due to a contract being put out on Dredd. They travel back…or forwards and we find out it’s the clones of Judge Cal who, as you’d expect, get their arses handed to them.
Did feel a little like a really good Zarjaz story but like I said, if you cant do this kind of crazy cross-over in prog 2000, when can you? A fun one and done, suitably drawn by the creators most associated with arguably 2000AD’s biggest characters.
Story-wise I did initially wonder why the Stix boys would leave Alpha and co alive but thinking about it they’re delivering Dredd to a legitimate contract that Alpha was gonna break so if anything they’re the ones playing by the Strontium Dog rules. Killing fellow bounty hunters would just cause them grief. Not as much as being shot by a load of creepy choirboy looking bastards of course but they weren’t to know that. The Day the Law Died is still my all time fave Dredd so it was good to sort of see Cal back along with Judge Fish…or a decendant of anyway.
Oh, and it has a nice one page intro drawn beautifully by Brian Bolland who I’d like to think did it out of love for the comic that gave him his start but which may have been agreed to after a “we can get Tom Foster to do it for half the price…your call” ultimatum.
Nemesis – Tubular Hells
For me Nemesis is the best thing 2000AD has ever published. It’s the perfect prog strip. When having the drunk “if you were Tharg…” pub conversation I’ll always go to bringing this back as my first royal decree.
So after however many years it’s been I was stupidly excited about this even if, to be honest, the third Nemesis phone book collection, in my opinion, isn’t a patch on the first two. I got even more jazzed after reading the excellent Nemesis fan strip published in a recent Zarjaz issue (thats two mentions I’ve given those buggers now, I should charge) which I’m pretty sure is the first they’ve allowed in. Then I read this and REALLY wanted to love it but didn’t. I cant really explain it. It’s O’Neill on art so thats a major box ticked, it’s Mills scripting which is another even if it’s the older, more heavy handed with the message, Mills… I just didnt like it. It was the Phantom Menace all over again. Hats off to the management for pulling this together, I hope other Nemesis fans enjoyed it more than I did. Hell, I hope they LOVED it. It just felt like a miss to me.
I’d hate to think this is the last we see of Nemesis. I’d just like them to give it to Henry Flint who would rock the shit out of it. Get him on art and story with his writer of choice for script polishes if he wants one. Thanks.
Rogue Trooper – Ghosts of Nu Earth
You’ll have to forgive my ignorance here. This IS basically a setup for the return of the Traitor General as a big bad and therefore a return for Rogue himself, yeah?
So…whinge first? This didnt really feel like a good PROG 2000! strip. That’s it. Any other prog I’d have had bugger all to bitch about.
Nice action, good group dynamics, characterisation and dialogue as you’d expect from the writer of the awesome Caballistics. A cool bit of future war and even gave us three campfire stories in some concise storytelling that was impressive even for old fart 2000AD readers like me who can remember the days of one page future shocks as opposed to the stuff now with its eye on the collected edition.
Art is Richard Elson so you can’t go wrong there and I’m selfishly hoping this is a preview of the next slice of Nu-Earth action we get over Yaegir as that one’s never really grabbed me.
Anderson – A Dream of Death
Holy crap this is beautiful to look at. And I’m not just on about Anderson who THANK GOD David Roach isn’t scared to draw pretty…as much as I enjoyed the last Anderson strip where she looked like how I imagine Jedward will look in their 50s.
Stunning black and white art showing both Anderson herself and a suitably evil looking Judge Death. Enjoyed these five pages more than the entirety of Dark Justice. Grant obviously feels a duty to what is basically his character and he’s given her a chance to shine here showing both her psychic abilities and subsequent arse kicking ones.
Am I overdoing this now? Fuck it. This was perfect and far and away the pick of the issue for me. A much needed return to form for the character after her last outing which I didnt enjoy at all and again a masterclass in telling a great story in five pages from one of the original 2000AD legends.
Sinister Dexter – Replica
In his intro Tharg laughingly points out some 90s characters that he claims thankfully stayed in the 90s then gives us Sinister Dexter who “stood the test of time”. ACCORDING TO WHO? Seriously, I’m waaaay out of the loop with 2000AD fandom these days but even back when I Was posting three things a day on this site I didn’t know anyone who liked Sinister Dexter. Someone is telling Tharg these characters and their rinse and repeat stories are cool…who is it? Is it you? Fucking stop it! So anyway we get another dose of these two with admittedly some beautiful artwork when I’ll be honest I’d have much preferred them to go “You know what? Everyone says Space Girls is the peak of 2000AD 90s shit….lets get Abnett and Sexton to do a new five pager that makes them cool”. No such thing as bad characters in the hands of good creators.
So yeah, sorry, as always when there’s Sinister Dexter I dont know why and keep hoping this is the one where I finally get it. Maybe thats it. It’s all for me. IT’S AWESOME! There, you can stop now.
At first I was a bit “what? This is prog 2000! It should be classics” but y’know what, that’s totally wrong. 2000AD should be about looking forward too so it’s fitting there should be a totally new story rounding off this issue.
So…pretty cool opener. Felt a bit American Reaper in tone but with much more of a sense of fun to it which is brought out by the eye achingly crazy work of Rufus Dayglo. Did a great job of setting up the universe and the main characters place in it. Making me want to find out more and didn’t finish it thinking the space in the issue could have been better used. Cant ask for more than that from a story debut really.
That said if the start of part 2 is a big, shocking “I used to be a man…so I’m transgender! Isn’t that hip and progressive of the creators” they can fuck off as it’ll be neither big nor shocking. If she turns out to have been Mean Machine or the Mad Avenger from Harlem Heroes tho I’ll let it slide.
That’s all I got. See you at prog 3000