The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2183: It’s All-Ages All Over Again At 2000 AD With Regened!
by Richard Bruton
When 2000 AD Regened began, back in 2018 as 2000 AD‘s Free Comic Book Day offering that year, we could only have hoped that it would become so successful and popular that it got to the place it is now, with an all-ages reworking of classic characters and all-new characters getting a place in the Prog four times a year. But successful it was and here we have the second of the four Regened Progs of the year.
This time around, under a typically glorious cover from Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague, we get to see the continuing adventures of Cadet Dredd, more from Finder & Keeper, a new Future Shock, and new adventures for Psi-Judge Anderson and Johnny Alpha.
The important thing here is that you love the book, but more than that, you need to get the book into the hands of those it’s designed for – give it to your kids, your nephews, nieces, your friend’s kids. Or drop off a copy at your local school library – anything that actually gets the comic into young hands.
It’s fascinating (to me at least) that the majority of what’s inside are strips that could easily fit into a regular Prog, both in terms of topic and artwork. Gone are the more animated, Saturday-morning kids’ cartoon looks of earlier Regened and instead we get some great, 2000 AD style artwork. You know, things like this…
Now, that actually makes a certain amount of sense on one hand, with Regened looking more like a regular Prog means there’s less of a visual shift required for readers moving from Regened to the regular Prog. But on the other hand, there was a good reason for that animated style, appealing to the Ben-10 audience. So whether it’s a good thing or bad, we’ll know in the long-run I suppose. All I know is that the art in here works for me at least – not that I’m the audience they’re meant to be appealing to!
Now, with that all done with, here’s the preview of the latest Regened 2000 AD, out in digital and print on 27 May…
CADET DREDD – COMBAT READY – Matt Smith, Nicolo Assirelli, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse
The cadets are having their first Routine Combat Assessment, a way of proving they have what it takes to get out on the streets…
Rico has a 0.985 average, so of course, Joe Dredd needs to outdo his clone brother. So it’s Dredd and fellow cadet Falkirk versus training robots (because after all, in an all-ages Prog, mass killing of human targets is a no-no) and then out onto the street for the possible beginnings of a robo-revolution – something that screams setting up future Cadet Dredd adventures.
All in all, it’s a straightforward action episode, but there’s still the chance to get some characterisation in here, with Dredd’s competitive nature coming out, the pressure on the cadets to do it right first time, the constant scrutiny, all adding up to something really enjoyable.
And as for Nicolo Assirelli’s artwork, his Cadet Dredd is one that could easily fit in the pages of the regular Prog, yet still has all the all-ages ease of reading required. Lovely looking artwork.
FINDER & KEEPER – NUISANCE NEIGHBOURS – Leah Moore, John Reppion, Davide Tinto, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland
The third outing for the young paranormal investigators but, fear not, no need to go back and re-read the last adventures as we get a cleverly done two-panel recap setting up new readers with the essentials – if only more comics made it so easy!
The pair of young ghost-sleuths are actively looking for the mysteries now, giving it that wonderful sort of ‘Three Investigators’ goes ‘Ghostbusters’ vibe (and yes, I realise referencing a book series that ended in the 80s isn’t the most age-appropriate thing here).
However, it seems that they don’t really need to go looking as the mysteries are coming to them, this time with the nuisance neighbours of the title.
It’s wonderful stuff, so light and fast to read, barrelling along so well, Tinto’s art giving us a breathless chase through the flats as both kids pursue the ghostly presences.
ANDERSON, PSI-DIVISION – FIRST-CLASS CITIZEN – Cavan Scott, Paul Davidson, colours by Len O’Grady, letters by Simon Bowland.
Another strip where the art would fit right into a regular Prog, Davidson’s Anderson zipping through the streets of MC-1, projecting a regular Dredd to scare the bejeezus out of a sky surfer on the run before heading off on a super-fast adventure of school days gone wrong.
It’s initially a little strange to see it after we’ve had Cadet Dredd a few pages earlier. However, that’s the thing that’s coming through in these regular Regened Progs – there’s a sense that the younger readers are simply being trusted to work out the background, which is definitely the best way of doing it – after all, young readers are smart things and can easily cope with stuff like this.
And then, after we deal with the rogue sky surfer, things get a real horror vibe, with Anderson triggering a psi-bomb and letting those little readers see something wonderfully creepy.
Damn fine strip, the best thing in here for sure, could easily have been a regular Anderson, but written and drawn perfectly to make younger readers love it as well. And you’ve got to love any strip that has a reference to ‘Baxendale’s Academy for Young Delinquents’.
FUTURE SHOCKS – THE QUEEN OF MEAN – Laura Bailey, Andrea Mutti, colours by Barbara Nosenzo, letters by Annie Parkhouse
A Future Shock throwing a bit of politics the younger readers’ way… as a new King or Queen of the UK gets chosen at random through the AI Kingmaker system. Hmmmm, that’s never going to go wrong is it?
Yep, straight away, the AI picks Tanya Khan, notorious jewellery thief… leading to a constitutional crisis, a Prime Minister threatening the Monarchy… really impressive stuff and yes, absolutely the sort of things that kids will get – kudos to all for giving the younger readers credit for their intelligence.
STRONTIUM DOG – ACCEPTABLE LOSSES – Michael Carroll, Nick Brokenshire, colours by John Charles, letters by Jim Campbell
A 14-year-old Johnny Alpha, pre-SD days, but already used to fighting, an integral part of The Mutant Army planning a break-in at a Norm facility.
Again, Carroll isn’t talking down to his audience here, with complex issues of acceptable losses and civilian war casualties being talked about. And Brokenshire’s art is a perfect all-ages thing, something kids have already seen (and loved) on Star Wars Adventures.