The Weekly 2000AD – Prog 2116 Previewed: Brink And Dredd Begin & End The Prog In Style

by Richard Bruton

The weekly 2000AD is’s regular look through the pages of the next Prog in the best sci-fi comic from the UK, 2000AD.

This week, it’s Prog 2116, with just four strips, thanks to the double-sized instalment of the magnificent Brink by the talents of Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard, who’s also responsible for this week’s terrifying cover.

The other three strips this week include the continuations of John Wagner and Colin MacNeil‘s Judge Dredd: Machine Law, James Peaty and Paul Marshal‘s Skip Tracer, and the middle episode of the latest of Tharg’s 3Rillers.

2000AD Prog 2116 is out in the UK and digitally on 30 January and out in the North Americas later in the month.

JUDGE DREDD: MACHINE LAW – PART 2 – John Wagner, Colin MacNeil, letters Annie Parkhouse.

Take a moment before going any further to have a look at that Colin MacNeil art above this. Spectacular Dredd, spectacular MC-1 skyscape, don’t you agree?

Anyway, this Machine Law serial, only two episodes in, is already priving to be a great Wagner Dredd, full of everything I love about Wagner’s writing, and, of course, with MacNeil on the art, it looks sublime.

The new generation of Robo-Judges out on the streets is just dressing to the story so far, the meat of it is the decision of Hershey to step down, annointing Judge Logan, currently running the Mark 8 Mech trial in his sector, as new Chief Judge.

Again, it’s Wagner doing the thing I love him doing, delivering a slow burn Dredd. There’s more enjoyment to be had from watching Logan sit in judgment or explain to Dredd how the Mechanoid trials have reduced crime, how the cits seem to trust the Mechs more than the Judges, all those little procedural things that Wagner writes so expertly. Where it’s going? No idea, but I could read this strip, done this way, for a long, long time.

SKIP TRACER – LOUDER THAN BOMBS – PART 6 – James Peaty, Paul Marshal, colours Dylan Teague, letters Ellie De Ville

The Children Of Fury terror cell are at large, and Nolan Blake’s already succeeding in shutting down one attempt. But, the body count is mounting, and he can’t help feel that the latest death is on his shoulders, after Loden wound up dead last episode.

But, there’s no time to rest, no time to mourn, as the latest intel sends Blake to fight in the combat pit, just to get in to the latest lead.

THARG’S 3RILLERS – KEEPER OF SECRETS – PART 2 – Robert Murphy, Steven Austin, colours Pippa Mather, letters Ellie De Ville

Jon Tanner’s life has taken a bizarre, terrifying twist. Messing with that Ancient Roman curse tablet has turned his life upside down, and the death of his boss is just the start of it, now something nasty and deadly is loose in his world. Tracked down by Adelphi, one of the Oracles, who fills him in on the Humen he’s released, evil desire given physical form by one of the Gods.

Well-written, with some great art from Austin, it’s a different kind of 3Riller, with a nasty streak running through it.

BRINK – HIGH SOCIETY – PART 17 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, letters Simon Bowland.

This is it, the double-sized explosive episode of Brink, definitely one of the highlights of 2000AD for the last decade of my reading. It’s something that reads like the best Scandi-noir, the best long-form TV show, but, with Culbard in charge of the visuals, it looks better, has more imagination, more realisation of the amazing ideas than anything out there right now.

In this chapter, Bridge finds herself succumbing to the perception altering R-Actol-3 in the Hab air supply, hallucinating spectres of the dead. Watching Bridge fight her way through the confusion and chaos of the chemical hallucinations is just a wonderful thing to end on, allowing Culbard to shine.

I thought this was the ending, but no, this is the action packed, explosive conclusion to what’s gone on so far, certainly, but there’s another episode to come, most likely debrief and final wrap-up. It’s been a stunning ride, and after Brink Volume 3 wraps up, I just hope there’s more to come from one of the best 2000AD strips in years.

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