Another year, another "Regened" Prog', normal service is suspended in the Prog' for an all ages self contained special. After the previously successful outings, and now a regular event, Luke delves into the latest attempt by Tharg & Co to bring in younger readers.
2000AD Regened Prog 2220
Review by Luke Williams
Much heralded, (by Rebellion anyway) this is the first (and not the only) “Regenened “ issue of 2021.
For those not in the know, “Regened” has become 2000AD's periodical stab at appealing to an all ages readership. For one week at a time, regular strips are suspended and one offs of new strips and/ or all ages interpretations of existing characters are published to entice new, and importantly, younger readers to the regular title.
In “Cadet Dredd” Davide Tinto’s lucid but distinctive art is suitably “all ages”, – although the continuity conscious Squaxx amongst us may question why the judges uniforms from 2074 look so much like the “present” day’s, and how Judge Roland gets away with the hipster goatee. On the upside red haired judges have been sorely underrepresented in MC1. Arthur Wyatt’s scripted tale of lost children and a forgotten shopping mall trapping unwitting passersby is entertaining enough, wrapping up with a touch of satire.
Michael Carroll scripted Luke Horsman drawn with Matt Soffee on colours “Action Pact” is up next, The premise is interesting, if a bit “Blackhawk” meets Freejack (acknowledged by Carroll in this week’s Thrillcast), a mysterious race pressgangs beings from all over the galaxy from differing time periods to carry out missions. Horsman’s art is kinetic, Carroll’s a great action writer, but overall this is a big, “hmm”. The pun(chy) title does make it sound like a survivor of the latter days of IPC, belonging in Eagle, or WildCat, think “Stormforce” in Battle.
“Viva Forever” David Bailie and Anna Morozova’s Mega City cat burglar / Robin Hood strip is up next. On first impressions this has been done before the “Amazing Maze Dumoir”, “Rose O’Rion”, with shades of “Mambo” and is redolent of “Marauder” if not in subject then definitely in tone. It doesn’t feel like a 2000AD strip, but for different reasons. It’s a bit too polite and conventional. Perhaps it would be more memorable if they dialled up the anti establishment vibe that is introduced toward the end of the strip.
“Future Shock : Geena Firenzo’s Big Comeback “ by Karl Stock, artists Silvan Califano and colours by John Charles, is 5 pages of commentary on the phenonemnon of social media influencers. It’s well scripted with an intriguing story with great art by Califano, only let down by the rather anti climactic and didactic punch line.
“ Mayflies” by Michael Carroll and Simon Coleby with colours by Dylan Teague is the in the “Rogue Trooper” universe. After seemingly brushing the “Friday” debacle under the editorial the carpet Tharg and Joko Jargo seems to be keen to let more GIs loose. Conveniently each one is named after their most notable physical characteristic, personality trait or skill. At the end of the strip we have 5 adolescent GIs running around the galaxy, so, rather than a lone soldier on the run we have a team of them. Does this have the potential to be a Souther “Rat Pack”? Or just a bunch of whiny teenagers who just happen to be blue and immune to chemical attack? The “Rogue Trooper” universe has a lot of space for new characters, whether they are needed is something else. “Jaegir” and the “86’ers” worked, but not so sure about “Hunted”. If Tharg (or Joko) does look to expand it further, they need to have strict quality control. At least it makes a change from yet more characters in the “Dreddverse”.
More broadly, the “Regened “issues are disruptive. After a bit of a ropey run 2000AD was picking up again, “Fiends” was great, there’s been some great “Dredd” strips recently, “Slaine” has been reinvigorated by Leonardo Manco. Then mid way through that run, Joko Jargo takes over for an issue and presents us with an all ages version of 2000AD. “Regened” seem ideal as jumping on points, but as others have pointed out, normal grim and gritty service returns in a week, so why bother enticing readers into the Prog’ with and all ages issue which is unrepresentative of the title for the other 48 weeks of the year? They have value, but they could be scheduled more effectively.
Some “Regened” strips such as “Full Tilt Boogie” are starting to migrate / leak into the regular Prog’. “Regened” seems to be a try out for all ages material to be drip fed into the weekly Prog’, whilst maintaining the balance with the more “mature” material (for want of a better term). The last House of Tharg title that was meant to appeal to a younger audience, Judge Dredd :Lawman Of The Future crashed and burned. Perhaps this method of introducing more accessible material bit by bit is seen as more sustainable, and new readers are vital for any comic. However, it’s a fine balancing act. There is the danger of trying to satisfy everyone but appealing to no one.