In the UK we get our dose of 2000AD thrill power weekly. But, in the USA it comes to our attention that you have a harder time getting hold of the UK’s best sci-fi anthology. It’s under-ordered and difficult to find, which is why we thought we’d do you the public service of giving you an advance preview of some of the delights in store. The next 2000AD pack, containing issues 2083-2086 should be with your stores in July, maybe August. We can’t really say with any more certainty than that, as distribution is notoriously patchy and release dates never seem too forthcoming!
So, have a look at the preview, then pop in-store and ask the nice folks behind the counter at your local comic shop to order it for you. We promise you, you won’t regret it!
Inside you’ve a series of truly great strips. There’s a new Judge Dredd serial looking back on the very earliest days of the Justice Department in The Paradigm Shift, the very 2000AD old school detective tale Skip Tracer, horror from the world of the Dark Judges in The Fall of Deadworld, comedy hi-jinks at Warp-Con with the Survival Geeks, and a stunning revamp of Durham Red to wrap every issue.
As for covers, the absolute highlight has to be Prog 2083, with a stunning wrap-round cover from Survival Geeks artist Neil Googe… so many things to giggle about in a perfect spot the reference cover feature!
Judge Dredd: The Paradigm Shift – Michael Carroll and Jake Lynch (Prog 2083-2086)
Episodes 2-5 of this latest tale from Michael Carroll, with some fabulously Mike McMahon influenced artwork from Jake Lynch.
It all opened in Prog 2082 with Dredd on the trail of a very dangerous secret from 100 years back, from when the Justice Department was just being formed, and the story switched back and forth expertly through each episode.
The early Justice Department parts of Paradigm Shift are fascinating, adding to the ideas Carroll is developing in his Dredd novella ‘Avalanche’ and in the line of books he’s overseeing. And Avalanche is definitely worth a look, a fascinating exploration of a time we really don’t know all that much about, dealing with the incredibly difficult transition from our ideas of judiciary and democracy to the one familiar to us in modern Dredd.
As for the Paradigm Shift, it’s a classic Dredd tale, all investigation and magnificent Dredd moments. Take the scene in part four, where Dredd offers a perp a deal for information, teasing him with the chance of getting off the murder charge…
“Murder One. You’re looking at life, creeps.
Or…you can tell us what we’ll need to know … and we’ll put you into witness protection.
And one of ’ems daft enough to fall for it. Which means Carroll’s setting up the punchline that we all know is coming. Doesn’t make it any less of a great gag when it happens though….
“So… the murder charge?”
“Oh, absolutely. Consider it scratched. Take him in. Thirty years… charge is reckless driving.”
Yes, a classic Dredd moment, all part of what makes Carroll’s writing so great. And the Paradigm Shift is a great bit of Dredd, classic moments cleverly mixed in with those fascinating glimpses of a century back.
And the artwork in Paradigm Shift is a sheer joy as well, Jake Lynch really is channelling McMahon with his figure work, where anatomy becomes slightly, beautifully abstracted, limbs bend in magnificently wrong fashion… all quite marvelous to see.
(Judge Dredd: The Paradigm Shift – in Progs 2083-2086. Art above from Prog 2083
Michael Carroll and Jake Lynch, colors John Charles, letters Annie Parkhouse)
Skip Tracer: Heavy Is The Hero – James Peaty and Paul Marshall (Progs 2083-2086)
We’re well into this nine-part story here, and although it’s new to 2000AD, there’s definitely a cracking old school feel to it. There’s also a vibe of classic detective fiction, all voiceover and inner monologues, with a great sci-fi setting, thanks in many ways to the skills of artist Paul Marshall. All very Blade Runner-y indeed, and that’s by no means a bad thing.
As we left it, the Skip Tracer is Nolan Blake, a bounty hunter of sorts. When his last bounty was assassinated by a highly skilled sniper, just before revealing certain secrets of the higher-ups in this world, it sets Blake off on a dangerous investigation. And that’s just where we are here in the middle parts. Chasing down leads, finding out more of the mysterious ‘Crown’, a conspiracy unfolding, those strands all pulling together.
(Skip Tracer: Heavy Is The Hero – Progs 2083-2086, art above from Prog 2083
James Peaty and Paul Marshall, colors by Dylan Teague, letters by Simon Bowland)
Damned – The Fall Of Deadworld – Kek-W and Dave Kendall (Progs 2083-2086)
If you’re new to The Fall Of Deadworld, you might find yourself a little lost, as there’s quite a bit here that relies on prior knowledge. However, catching up is both easy, and well worth your while.
Simply put, Deadworld is the home to the Dark Judges, nightmarish creatures who, having destroyed their world, find their way over to pester Judge Dredd and Mega-City One. The Fall Of Deadworld is the tale of how they came into being and how they turned their world into a devastated wasteland. We’ve seen the tribal nature of the world form, as society breaks down, including the farming family that includes the resourceful and independent Jess Childs, referred to by now as the Judge Child. That’s most of what you need. But go with it, as it’s a fantastically dark horror tale.
Here in Progs 2083 to 2086 we split the narrative, following Judge Child firstly and then heading to catch up with the Dark Judges. There’s a distinct Mad Max vibe in the Judge Child moments, all giving us more insight into the character of this child growing up into horror, yet might be a key player in what develops. And over with Judge Death and his lot, there’s increasing dissent in the ranks, Sisters Nausea and Phobia plotting, Sister Psiren increasingly shut out and contemplating rebellion, and techy Casey wondering just why the death fluids don’t seem to be changing people, just killing them.
Yes, we know just where its all going… because, make no bones about it, Deadworld will fall. But, the enjoyment is in the journey with this one, not the destination.
(Damned – The Fall Of Deadworld – Progs 2083-2086, art above from Prog 2083
Kek-W and Dave Kendall, Ellie De Ville)
Survival Geeks: Geek Con – Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby, Neil Googe (Prog 2083-2086)
Three very cliched male geeks have a transdimensional hopping house and a reluctant fourth not too geeky housemate, Sam. And with this, Rennie, Beeby and Googe get to lambast every possible sci-fi and comics annoyance they’ve ever wanted to. It is, quite simply, the funniest thing in 2000AD since Zombo.
The gang have appeared at Warp-Con, where, much to their surprise, they’re part of the celebrity guests. Alongside many other C thru Z list stars of sci-fi and pop culture. Hell, there’s even a comics zone, although it’s not the best signposted of things. So much to talk the mickey out of, and Rennie and Beeby don’t hold back…
Or this, a brilliant bit of panel to panel gag setup, beautifully done by Googe…
And amongst the selling of intergalactic tat and the special guests uncomfortably signing autographs whilst not touching the fans, there’s Inspector Qui… who is absolutely nothing at all to do with a certain time-traveling Doctor of note. Nope, not at all.
And this definitely not the Doctor, who gets through companions at an alarming rate, has his sights set on poor Simon. But, seeing as Simon is still brooding about Sam, he’s not too bothered what happens. He’s not even phased by ending up looking like bloody Adric.
Very, very funny stuff.
(Survival Geeks: Geek Con – Progs 2083-2086, art above from Prog 2083
Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby, Neil Googe, colors Gary Caldwell, letters Annie Parkhouse)
Durham Red: Born Bad – Alec Worley and Ben Willsher, with art by Lee Carter on Prog 2086 (Prog 2083- 2086)
Durham Red is a classic 2000AD character, spinning out of the mutated wastelands of the Strontium Dog series. She’s been out of the comic for the longest time, but here, with a complete revamp by writer Worley and artist Willsher, she’s made a spectacular return. The vamp is most definitely back.
Now the Strontium Dog Search & Destroy agency is no more, she’s forced to take what workl she can, which is why she’s been hired by a dying monkey mob-boss looking to make his peace with his dear old mother.
Watching Worley put Red through her paces is a joy, he’s absolutely nailed the tone for this. But the star of the show has to be Ben Willsher, whose art has never been better than the four episodes to date. There’s a computer edge to the work, but it still has the flow of his previous work, and his color palette is sublime. Bright desert colors give way to deep blues of desert night, all lighting Willsher’s spectacular silhouetted figure work.
Prog 2085 is, sadly, Willsher’s finale on the revamped Durham Red. And not through choice. Seems the artist had a nasty accident with a boiling water tap that put him out of the game for a while. He’s all fixed now, but his injury meant he couldn’t complete the work on Durham Red. Stepping in as a fine replacement we have Lee Carter, whose work, although looking great, just isn’t the same as having Willsher’s art on the strip that he had such a hand in bringing back.
(Durham Red: Born Bad – Prog 2083-2086, art above from Prog 2083
– Alec Worley and Ben Willsher, letters Ellie De Ville.)
That’s it for this month, join us next month for more from the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic!
And now, in beautiful full size… the four covers, including the wraparound from Neil Googe for Prog 2083.
Prog 2083 Neil Googe, Prog 2084 Michael Dowling, Prog 2085 Cliff Robinson, Prog 2086 Rachael Stott: