The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2178: A Simian Saviour For MC-1?

by Richard Bruton

The Weekly 2000 AD… Week in and week out, giving you the preview of the new 2000 AD Prog. The UK’s best sci-fi weekly since 1977. four decades and still going strong.

(Cover by PJ Holden)

Prog 2178 is out in the UK and on digital on 22 April from newsagents and comic shops. Well, from those that are still open at least. But please, please, if your LCS offers a standing order service, kerb-side pickup, mail order, make use of them. It’s a tough time for all of us right now, and the comic shops, the backbone of the industry, needs all of us to do our bit to help.

JUDGE DREDD: CHIMPSKY’S LAW – PART 1Kenneth Niemand, PJ Holden, colours by Quinton Winter, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Yay, the return of Noam Chimpsky, simian protector of MC-1! His simple plan, keep monthly block crime stats down, but make sure they’re not too low that the Justice Department get interested in the why and remove Noam’s Judge pal, the wonderfully round Judge Stan from the scene.
Everything’s going so well, Noam’s mission as secret block vigilante making things better for everyone in Ludi Wittgenstein block, Judge Stan ignorant and grateful for the help Noam gives him.
What can possibly go wrong?
Well, there is the fitness assessment for Judge Stan coming up…

Yep, the return of Chimpsky and the return of PJ Holden (on a double Dredd right now, as he’s on art duties in the latest Meg as well) – this is a wonderful thing. Chimpsky’s a fun thing of course, but it’s also that classic Dredd thing of getting the outsider’s view on what’s goign on, how Dredd deals with things, that big green jackboot stamping down on anything outside the law, even when it’s doing a good thing.
As for Holden, I love his artwork, particularly on Dredd, where his line is just perfect for Dredd, yet another of the great Dredd artists we have at the moment.

SURVIVAL GEEKS: CRISIS OF INFINITE NERDS – PART 4Emma Beeby, Gordon Rennie, Neil Googe, colours by Gary Caldwell, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Clive has taken himself off to his memory palace to try to work out what the hell this whole ‘Celestial Synchronicity Conundrum’ is, and of course, being the huge geek that he is, it’s all there in the ‘Chasm of Failed Projects’ section.
Cue Hawk the Slayer versus Krull face-off as Clive(s) determine just which early 80s British sword and sorcery film shall win the day. Meanwhile, the Geeks are going to have to face the Knightmare challenge (oh, it’s obscure fantasy TV kids’ game shows now in Survival Geeks!)
Loads of fun, great Googe art, a definite touch of mickey-taking lightness in the Prog.

SKIP TRACER: NIMROD – PART 8James Peatty, Paul Marshall, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Simon Bowland.
More Nimrod nightmares, as Nolan and Hastings face off against Nimrod as The Cube jets off to explosion time.
As the series goes on, there’s still that sense of things plodding a little, but it’s one of those strips that happen in the Prog every so often, a simple, straightforward thing, where tab A goes into slot B. Is it spectacular? No. But it’s decent, well put together stuff, and Marshall’s artwork is still the delight to look at.

AQUILA: THE BURNING FIELDS – PART 5Gordon Rennie, Patrick Goddard, colours by Pippa Bowland, letters by Jim Campbell
Our blind Aquila and his gang are now in Naples, with the prospect of hell on Earth being unleashed as something nasty and bloody stalks them through the streets.
There’s a gate to Hades somewhere, but a blind Aquila can’t be much use in finding it. Now, where could he get a pair of eyes from?
Again, enjoyable stuff here. But there’s honestly not that much difference between it and Skip Tracer, both are strips doing everything in satisfying fashion, this bit going into this bit, one thing after another. It’s just that Aquila dresses it up in more unusual fantasy trappings.
However, it’s still a decent strip, where it all motors along nicely, accompanied once more by some of Goddard’s great artwork.

HERSHEY: DISEASE – PART 4Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, letters by Simon Bowland
Hershey’s mission to clean up Smiley’s influence across the globe finds her in Comuna 13, where she’s short on friends and the remnants of the Judges down here are pawns of the Cartel, a Cartel powered by Enceladus Energy.
Which means it’s a big ask for Hershey to clean things up. One against the many, the lone cowboy tale with Hershey in the Clint Eastwood role.

Trouble is, the bad guys here control everything, including the Enceladus Energy, and having a spy in the camp might prove to be Hershey’s undoing.
Again, it’s a slow build, action, plot, action, plot, all beautifully delivered in subtle colour hues from Fraser’s glorious artwork.

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