The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2197: Diabolikal Devilry Returns

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 Dom Reardon

Right them folks, we’re back from our quarterly Regened Prog for all-ages with continuations of Judge Dredd End of Days and The Out. The Diaboliks returns with cover artist Dom Reardon back on the artistic duties. And rounding things out we have a new Tharg’s 3Riller 3-parter – Saphir and a Future Shock. Yes, we are a mere three Progs to Prog 2200, so it’s filler time – but this time it’s good, good filler!
Anyway, Prog 2197 is out in the UK on 2 September on digital and from newsagents and comic shops. So get on those masks, spray hands liberally with sanitiser and go get yerself a copy.
Oh, and a cool Boo Cook star-scan as well…

JUDGE DREDD: END OF DAYS – PART 13 – Rob Williams, Henry Flint, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Okay then – three episodes to go. Four Horsemen down and Dredd et al are, to nick a phrase from Herge, Destination Moon.
Trouble is, Dredd et al are knackered. Ideal position to be in when you’re looking to kill Death.
Page two sort of gives the game away here though-

‘The Horsemen become someone who has already put themselves in a position to end the world,’
‘The Horseman choose the appropriate host.’

Okay… want to guess who?
But before that – the Moon’s on the move and Anderson gets to have one great line…

Anyway, hands up who won the ‘Who’s going to be the host for Death and why the hell is Absalom here anyway sweepstakes?’
Okay, okay, so it was obvious where the hell this was going. Right now though my biggest question is wondering whether this is going to be one that runs into a bigger epic, along the lines of The Apocalypse War.

THE OUT – PART 10 – Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Well, The Out’s first series is coming to its conclusion and let’s face it, it’s been the best thing in the Prog for so long, something old and new readers seem to be agreed upon, one of those strips that really unites people.
And I’m a huge fan of Abnett and Harrison’s outer-space epic with its very down-to-Earth lead, Cyd Finlea. She started out as a photojournalist a long, long, long way from home. Yes, in the words of Moore and Halo Jones – ‘Where did she go? Out. What did she do? Everything.
And yes, of course, the similarities to Moore and Gibson’s Halo are there. But there’s also enough to make it very much its own series.

So Cyd, years on from losing her body, dying, getting her copied template, is now getting used to things again. Or at least trying to – the therapist sort of helps. Although Gunhunwud’s method of asking ‘So why’re you so farked up, hnmh?’ isn’t the opening line you’d expect from any therapist – but she does get to the bottom of things, just like we do, the scar was always going to be more than what we thought it was, wasn’t it?
So we discover just why Cyd went Out. It’s a moment full of sadness and loss and it’s presented in exactly the way everything in The Out has been done thus far – quite brilliantly.
The bad news – two more episodes. The good news – there’s a second series in the planning.

FUTURE SHOCKS – STREAM M FOR MURDER – Liam Johnson, Steve Yeowell, letters by Simon Bowland
As much as I’ve grown to love Yeowell’s work in colour on the likes of Sinister Dexter, it’s b&w where he seems to come alive for me – even in the few pages of your average Future Shock.
Anyway, Liam Johnson’s the 2019 writer talent winner from Thought Bubble 2019 and in Stream M For Murder – there hasn’t been a murder in 30 years – until now. That’s the tagline.
And the victim? That would be Ilan, creator of an AI entertainment system that revolutionised the world, a robot workforce to carry out all humanity’s work, all leading to becoming six-time Earth President. And now he’s dead – but why? Well, that’s the twist of course. Take your bets kids.
And you know what, it’s a really decent little FS, just 4-pages of it, but neatly, entertainingly done.

THARG’S 3RILLERS PRESENTS – SAPHIR – PART 1 – Kek-W, David Roach, colours by Peter Doherty, letters by Simon Bowland
It’s 1899, Paris, and Inspector Alphonse Mucha is on a tip-off – Lady Sofia Corundum has been murdered … perhaps…
But what of Saphir, the hair colour, the Cobalt Horde? That does throw a spanner into it all and sets up what is, primarily, at least for me, a chance to see David Roach’s gorgeous work back in the pages of 2000 AD – all made even more lush by Doherty’s colours.
But then it all turns on its head, with the opening of that bottle of Saphir. And Inspector Mucha aint in Paris anymore.

THE DIABOLIKS – A CROOKED BEAT – Gordon Rennie, Dom Reardon, letters by Jim Campbell
The return of Solomon Ravne & Jennifer Simmons, working for the Malleus, bad, bad Christian types to destroy the Maleus’ demonic enemies, all so the Maleus will get off their backs – for the completely understandable reason that Jenny happens to be possessed by a demon.
But perhaps better still, the return of Dom Reardon to the pages. As good as Fuso was, Reardon’s stuff has that perfectly scratchy style that makes this strip grubbier and dirtier and nastier when he’s on the art – And yes, that’s all a compliment.

Anyhow, A Crooked Beat starts with Ravne and Jenny and the mention of “The Scarred Minstrel”. Which is going to be the thing that they’re up against this time, no doubt, all via a dark-haired John Constantine-a-like…
Y’know, The Diaboliks is one of those strips that does its thing, potters along and makes things enjoyable while it does so. Yes, it’s cribbed from here and there, of course, but that’s at least some of what makes it that sort of rip-roaring adventure thing. Rennie not taking it too seriously, Reardon doing such great, grubby, scratchy things.

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