The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2207: Simp-ly The Best

by Richard Bruton

The Weekly 2000 AD gives you a regular look inside the Galaxy’s Greatest, all the thrills are here… come join us… it’s time for the Weekly 2000 AD.

Cover by Cliff Robinson, colours by Dylan Teague

So, after the Regened Prog of last week, we’re back with the regular programming. Which means it’s more Hook Jaw, more Skip Tracer, more Stickleback, and more Fiends of the Eastern Front. But leading things off this week we have the beginning of a new Dredd, ‘Simply Norma’l, where those simply silly Simps are under threat.

2000 AD Prog 2207 – out in the UK on 11 November on digital and from newsagents and comic shops.

JUDGE DREDD: SIMPLY NORMAL – PART 1 – Kenneth Niemand, Steven Austin, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Simp conversion therapy? Yep, that’s now a thing in MC-1, with those wonderful weird types being normalised – and you know that’s going to have the rest of the Simps up in arms… but they’re a harmless group and don’t tend to cause much trouble – even though they annoy the hell out of Dredd. So, when your wife has been forced to turn Normal, what do you do?

Well, if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team. Oh, hold on, no, not the bloody A-Team… something that looks a lot more weirdly wonderful instead.

It’s a good old start here to what feels like one of those nuts and bolts Dredds at first, yet quickly develops into something deeper – after all, conversion therapy still exists in this bloody world of ours and Niemand and Austin do a damn fine job of hammering the crappiness of it all home here, along with a good, nasty, no empathy, just the law sort of Dredd.

STICKLEBACK – NEW JERUSALEM – PART 7 – Ian Edginton, D’Israeli, letters by Jim Campbell

Giant monsters in giant egg sacs giving old Stickleback Holmes a bloody great headache. That’s where we’re at right now with a little bit of a pause in the war over London.

Well, we would have been, if Stickle-Holmes hadn’t decided that the best thing you can do with a giant egg sac extra-dimensional monster that’s acclimatising to our world is have one of your mates (Valentine Bey) go all Mecha on it. In theory that was going to go one of two ways – it could have exposed the monster to a hostile atmosphere too early, which would be good. Or, on the other hand, a particularly bad hand, it could have just given the monster an excuse to wake up and wake up pissed at things.

Go on, take a wild guess.

It’s rattling along is this new Stickleback, Edginton busy to get everyone involved, up to and including a giant Mecha mosh through London next week. And as for D’Israeli, it’s beautiful and wonderful and stunning on near enough every page, with moments that just stop me in my reading tracks. It’s all that until it’s not, until the effects go a little overboard and the computerised blurs get that little too blurry to really make out what’s happening. BUT, BUT, BUT, it’s still spectacular, it’s pushing things so far, and I’m more than willing to let D’Israeli off for the occasional moments the experimentation just goes a little too far.

SKIP TRACER – HYPERBALLAD – PART 7 – James Peaty, Paul Marshall, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Simon Bowland

So, in a surprise move that probably surprised nobody, it’s the pop-star’s manager who wants her dead, even getting her in on the idea with the promise that a little threat isn’t going to harm her sales any – although he probably missed off the bit about actually killing her rather than just making the world think it was a risk.

Anyhow, we get Skip Tracer and his Manga-faced protectee off on the run through the nastier bits of the Cube, pursued by the manager’s goons, with time for a little more twist and turn for the remaining five episodes.

FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT – CONSTANTA – PART 6 – Ian Edginton, Tiernen Trevallion, letters by Annie Parkhouse

We got the gentler stuff, the lil’ Constanta adventures out the way so now it’s time to get the hack, slash, maim, kill portion of this saga of how the Fiend became a fiend…

Falling in with a new pack and almost settling down, we’re deep into things now, all we really need is something terrible to happen and not so lil’ Constanta to do the dumb thing and damn himself for eternity.

Well, we’re not quite there yet, but the seeds have been sown in this latest, quite beautifully done bit of filling in of a legend’s past.

HOOK JAW – PART 7 – Alec Worley, Leigh Gallagher, letters by Simon Bowland

The Hookjaw village is overrun by the morons looking to chase down the latest media thingy, no matter what it is. Of course, they have no idea that it’s actually a damn sight more serious than any of them could imagine. And the only ones with any hope of stopping things are the witch who inadvertently brought the shark back and her descendant, Jack, with his whole dumbfounded, mouth-open in disbelief default expression that he’s had since the very start.

Now, as we get to the end, things are being laid out that much more for us, with Worley going deep into the whole God of the deep, belief as strength, followers make you real thing. And right now, Hookjaw’s about as real as you get, as you can see…

That’s been one of the real highlights of this strip, Gallagher’s beautifully done over the top art – over the top in terms of what’s going on rather than the superb way he’s delivering it.

But that whole belief makes Gods strong, the idea that this Hookjaw is your shapeshifting elemental … well, that’s a LONG way off where this particular strip began and it’s something that some will really not like, not one bit. But, take it as a clever way to add an extra layer to a very 1-dimensional tale, and you can settle back and enjoy this one.

However, one thing that does really wind me up, my own littlest hill I would die upon… did we really need the Cornish witch to appear and start giving in the old ‘Moi Love’? No, no we did not.

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