The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2212: Goodbye 2020, Seeing The Plague Year Out In 2000 AD Style.

by Richard Bruton

The Weekly 2000 AD, week in, week out, our look at Britain’s longest-running sci-fi comic, 2000 AD. Except this week it’s the annual Christmas party of a Prog – more strips, more thrills, we all deserve a present this year, right?

Tharg gets electrified – cover by Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague

2000 AD Prog 2212 is out on 16 December, you can find it in all good newsagents, comic shops and digital stores. 100 pages of thrills – perfect for someone’s stocking!

JUDGE DREDD: THREE KINGS – Kenneth Niemand, PJ Holden, colours by Quinton Winter, letters by Annie Parkhouse

It’s Christmas in MC-1 and Judge Dredd is busy playing Santa down the local Mega-Mall. Or maybe not.

Nope, what we get here in Three Kings is the return of the latest break-out star of MC-1, Noam Chimpsky, doing his best to keep his bit of the city safe whilst keeping off Dredd’s radar.

Ammonia Tuckelberg’s baby boy, his father a Clone Judge, has been spirited away by the Justice Department to be trained as a Judge. She’s taken her case to Noam and, bless him, he’s going to break the kid out.

So, off we go, Niemand making a neat little heist thriller with an ape, an accomplice looking strangely like Adolf, and three robots with seasonal titles. All to set up the latest tale of Noam Chimpsky, give us a warm Christmassy feeling and a great read.

PJ Holden’s artwork really does get better and better, he seems to be able to refine what he does so beautifully, his line here some kind of tight yet rough looking thing, quite gorgeous to see.

STRONTIUM DOG: ONCE UPON A TIME IN DER VEST – Rob Williams, Laurence Campbell, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Jim Campbell

Because Strontium Dog was always a western.

So here we get Rob Williams and Laurence Campbell giving us a ‘Strontium Dog High Noon’, two pages of colour, the rest in moody black and white, Johnny and Wulf tracking down the bad guys, the gunfights given a tech twist, but it’s still a damn fine little western adventure.

Yes, it’s still not the Johnny Alpha of Wagner and Ezquerra, but done this way, just one-offs, special little tales, it’s good to revisit a classic.

SURVIVAL GEEKS: A QUIET NIGHT IN – Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby, Neil Googe, colours by Gary Caldwell, letters by Jim Campbell

Well, it seems the reports of the Survival Geeks coming to an end earlier in the year were wrong. Well, sort of. Here, it’s a one-off, catching up with the sci-fi obsessives, their reluctant mate Sam and pet Cthulhu Howard now that their transdimensional adventures have ended. Which means its all domestic boredom for Simon and Sam, world-dominating corporate dimensional dominion for Clive, and Rufus, well…

A little coda to what was a very funny series, giving us a surprisingly sentimental ending as we bid a fond farewell – maybe Emma Beeby just shut Gordon in the basement and turned off the electricity down there whilst she wrote this one?

Of course, the adventures of Rufus as a messy-haired, bumbling moron with no understanding of the job he’s fallen into, playing at being Prime Minister whilst the country goes downhill with breathtaking abandon could always be around the corner – or is that too far-fetched?

VISIONS OF DEADWORLD: A GIRL’S GOTTA EAT – Kek-W, Dave Kendall, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Back to those one-off Deadworld Visions, full of nightmares from Dave Kendall’s stunning imagery… except this time it’s a slightly different vision of Deadworld, with lone survivor Channing coming across one of the zombie creatures roaming this world.

You have to wonder how strong the egg nog at 2000 AD Towers is because first we had Rennie & Beeby going all sentimental in Survival Geeks and then we see a Vision of Deadworld where there’s this little glimmer of the spirit of the season?

PROTEUS VEX: THE SHADOW CHANCELLOR – PART 1 – Michael Carroll, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland

Another returning strip with this second series of weird and wonderful, this time with original artist Henry Flint replaced, rather well, by Jake Lynch. But everything else is the same, with Imperium agent Proteus Vex and companion thing MIdnight doing their weird stuff across weird worlds.

It’s still all a bit of a mystery, but Carroll does throw us a bone in the shape of a little catch-up…

‘After the death of Chancellor Rho 7 Baryon, Imperium agent Proteus Vex and his Citheronian captive Midnight Indicating Shame approached Barriero Anchorage, located in a barren, unaligned region beyond the main kingdoms.’

And that should give you a feel, once more, for Proteus Vex, where Carroll’s determined to do some sort of hard, weird sci-fi by way of Iain M Banks or something like him.

Something about ‘genesis threads’, the need to get Midnight to Hive Regalis, the Desolation Armada, it’s all put out there, just left to us to piece together.

SLAINE: DRAGONTAMER – PART 1 – Pat Mills, Leonardo Manco, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Well, it’s taken its time getting here, with Leonardo Manco’s art reportedly taking a little longer than expected to get done, but here we have what may well be one of the very last of Pat Mills’ contributions to the comic he helped create.

Anyway, if it is the finale, it’s Slaine back to the way we remember it, with huge panels, massive action, and absolutely gorgeous painted artwork from Manco. It’s not like previous artist Simon Davis wasn’t doing beautiful things, but this has that sort of greatest hits, comeback tour before we all retire feel, which is why episode one really gets into all the blood and gore as quickly as possible.

The story so far… Slaine has battled the Drune Lords and is now in the city of New Troy, intending to fight for Albion’s freedom with the tyrannical Emperor Brutus.

Or, to put it another way, one Slaine, many Trojans, and the return of the axe-swinging, shouting all the time, killing everyone in his way Slaine.

If you’re finishing a series, it’s not the worst way to go.

HERSHEY: THE BRUTAL – PART 1 – Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, letters by Simon Bowland

The return of the return of one Barbara Hershey, ex-Chief Judge of Mega-City One. After faking her own death she set out to right the wrongs of Judge Smiley that happened on her watch.

Along with the also not really dead Dirty Frank, she’s working her way around the world, losing body parts as she goes, and thanks to Simon Fraser’s spot colour work, it’s looking pretty as hell.

Anyway, Hershey and Frank are still down in Ciudad Barranquilla, Hershey’s still slowly dying and Frank’s wondering what the hell they’re doing this for…

Oh, cruel, cruel Hershey, that’s a low blow even for you.

So, while Hershey and Frank try to get inside the Banana City cartel by making as big a noise as possible (which does seem slightly strange I’ll grant you), I’ll settle back and enjoy seeing things unfold, loving the colourwork Fraser’s putting over his already impressive artwork.

TIME TWISTERS: TIME HYGIENE – TC Eglington and Warren Pleece, letters by Simon Bowland

The Time Hygiene Authority, cleaning up the timeline, stopping everyone and anyone involved before they manage to do all the usual nonsense to do with time travel.

That is until the Time Hygiene Authority’s Ruling Governor steps in.

It’s silly and it’s fun, playing around with time travel, even messing with some familiar-looking time characters from 2000 AD past. And of course, it’s Warren Pleece so it all looks very nice indeed.

DURHAM RED: SERVED COLD – PART 1 – Alec Worley, Ben Willsher, letters by Jim Campbell

Well, the most famous (and the only) vamp Search/Destroy agent is now not just a wanted felon but has managed to get captured and locked up.

It seems the Doghouse is back in operation, albeit a little more organised and orderly than it was in the old days, explaining why the S/D agent who’s bringing her in is such a choirboy. So it’s time for a hot chocolate with the local law before the Galactic Crime Commission swing by to pick up their quarry.

But when things involving Durham Red all go so smoothly, you just know that somethings going to be going wrong very soon, right?

Nice to see Willsher back in the Prog with his smooth and sharp artwork once more.

And, if all that wasn’t enough, there’s another stunning double-page poster from Stewart Moore and plenty of teasers for strips to look forward to in the next year…

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