The Weekly 2000AD Prog 2164: How’s Your Imaginary Friend Dredd?

by Richard Bruton

Time for the Weekly 2000AD, taking a good look through the Galaxy’s greatest comic, packed with enough action to make even Dredd scream!
And scream he does, thanks to the welcome return of Will Simpson on cover duties…

(Cover by Will Simpson)

Inside Prog 2164, it’s all as last Prog, with more Dredd dealing with imaginary friends and not so imaginary assassins in Kill Bloopy. After that, there’s third parts for Proteus Vex, Zaucer of Zilk, and Feral & Foe, and more in the wonderfully long-running saga on Brink: Hate Box.
Prog 2164 is out in the UK and on digital from 15 January, with international copies coming out later – ask for it by name at your local comic shop. All clear? Ok then, shall we dive inside?

JUDGE DREDD: KILL BLOOPY – PART 2 – Kenneth Niemand, Dan Cornwell, colors by Jim Boswell, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Where we’re at – there’s a growing problem in MC-1 of IFF, Imaginary Friend Syndrome. And right now Dredd’s babysitting a VIP involved in designing the new defence network. And also babysitting Mr Bloopy, the imaginary friend. He’s not too impressed by it all.
Niemand’s leaning into the silliness here. First three pages have three great moments; Robo-Judge Patsy’s interrogation technique, Dredd’s very grudging.. ‘And to Mister Bloopy’ comment. And best of all, the weird idea of Dredd having his own imaginary friend, according to Mr Bloopy, called Walter.

And then there’s the very real imaginary friend on a mission to kill Bloopy, an imaginary friend capable of taking down an H-Wagon. Yep, Kill Bloopy is a damn fine Dredd, fun of ridiculousness and intrigue. And in Cornwell, we have yet another new-ish artist whose Dredd looks really great

BRINK BOOK 4 – HATE BOX – PART 15 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, letters Simon Bowland
After her chat with the Albino last time, Bridge has just that little more of an idea of what the hell is going on. It’s something that links a lot of cases together and that might well make it Major Crimes, might make it all come under Bridge’s purview. But there’s still the small matter of a vid-clip capable of driving the viewer absolutely nuts.

Procedural brilliance going on as usual, with Bridge pulling things together, making connections, maybe even bringing in widespread corruption In the HSD.
Next up, trying to prove it all. It’s not going to be easy. But dammit, it’s going to be good.

PROTEUS VEX: ANOTHER DAWN – PART 3 – Michael Carroll, Henry Flint, letters by Simon Bowland
Proteus Vex on a mission, searching for RHO 7 Baryon, Alliance Chancellor. Fugitive from justice with one of the Alliance’s finest on the case, tracking down the Chancelor’s implant. And now working with the Scorcher race to track the Chancellor down.
It’s a strip that hasn’t yet settled down, although maybe that’s the idea behind it, throwing us in at the deep end of things and then assuming we’re all smart enough to put the connections together. Three parts in and it’s fascinating and involving, where things read as clues more than linear simple storytelling, but with so much going on we might need a few weeks of storylines for things to fall into place. But, in the meantime, I’m enjoying the chaos as the worldbuilding continues.

And the art from Flint is just a joy to behold, he’s putting so much into this, really going strong on the alien imagery. It’s a great, great looking strip. The switching from Flint’s colors to flashback b&w works incredibly well and it’s something we’re likely to be seeing a lot here.

THE ZAUCER OF ZILK: A ZAUCERFUL OF SECRETS – PART 3 – Script by Peter Hogan, art and story by Brendan McCarthy, colors by Len O’Grady and McCarthy,and letters by Jim Campbell
The eye-popping visuals of Zaucer of Zilk keep coming, page after page of McCarthy and O’Grady piling on the colors and unusual shapes, ridiculous ideas from McCarthy and Hogan coming thick and fast.
Which is why, by page 2, there’s an invasion of trouser beings into a storyteller’s boudoir…

Yes, T’Tooth in league with Smarty Pants, all looking to get the Zaucer’s attention. But the Zaucer’s elsewhere, wanting to find his old wand. Trouble is, it’s already been sold.
As usual, Zaucer of Zilk just blasts through the plot with a visual blast of delight, weirdness, psychedelics, and very strange characters. It’s fun, fun, fun stuff.

FERAL & FOE – PART 3 – Dan Abnett, Richard Elson, colors by Richard & Joe Elson, letters by Annie Parkhouse
More fantasy, more worldbuilding coming your way with Feral & Foe, two ex-evil minions now forced into tracking down their old comrades, switching sides to hunt their own down.
But this being tricky work, they’re looking for a bit more firepower, a tank. Except this being a fantasy world, this is the tank…

Yep, big, nasty, violent. That’s a tank. But this isn’t the first tank the pair have worked with, all of which leads to a few pages riffing off the gaga gag of ‘What happened to the last tank you worked with?’ Well, this happened…

Yes, as we’ve seen, Feral & Foe is Abnett doing a good fantasy adventure with a fine smattering of the funny. And three parts in, alongside Elson’s great looking artwork, it’s all shaping up to being a damn good series.

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