The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2216: For A Fistful Of Credits, It’s High Noon For Dredd!
by Richard Bruton
The Weekly 2000 AD, giving you a weekly glimpse inside the thrill-powered pages of the UK’s finest sci-fi comic. No matter how bad it might be out in the real world, 2000 AD keeps delivering the thrills…
Another good Prog of tales, deep into four stories and with the final part of the Dredd four-parter ‘Desperadlands’. So we get to enjoy Durham Red’s continued fight to get out of jail alive, see Sláine do his Sláine thing and go ooooh at Leonardo Manco’s artwork, get deeper into the workings of a strange war in Proteus Vex, and watch Hershey get more and more brutal as the weeks go by.
2000 AD Prog 2215 is out on Wednesday 27th January, you can find it in all good newsagents, comic shops and digital stores. Support your comic shops, they’re still there, you can still give them your cash and right now they really need it.
JUDGE DREDD: DESPERADLANDS – PART 4 – FINAL PART – Mike Carroll, William Simpson, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Just like any good Western (and make no mistake, this one is a good Western), we get to the finale for a showdown. Dredd on one side with Meekins, and Syan Hegedos on the other in a good, old-fashioned stand-off.
It’s also about family, those you’re born into and the Justice Department that becomes your family at age five, whether you want it or not. Dredd, Meekins, Hegedos, and Cadet Odessa somewhere caught in the middle, needing to make a choice.
Carroll’s confidence in doing these short pieces is wonderful to see, revisiting an old storyline five years on and using that to set up a simple Wild-West bit of Dredd fun yet also taking the time to establish that the Meekins-Sygados-Odessa storyline is one that he could well be setting up for more in the future. And getting Will Simpson’s artwork back in the Prog was a sheer delight, an artist whose style has shifted and shifted over the years to this looser, raw-looking version of his fully painted work, something that I can’t wait to see detailing the streets of MC-1 sometime soon.
Still not sure why the red and white stripey socks though, that’s just weird.
DURHAM RED: SERVED COLD – PART 5 – Alec Worley, Ben Willsher, letters by Jim Campbell
Yep, this one’s just a neatly done Vamp caught in jail in the middle of nowhere under siege from some big bad guy who wants Durham Red for something no doubt dangerous.
Take it as that and it’s been five episodes of Four episodes in and this one really is just going to be one of those strips that just does a simple thing and gets it done very well, Worley telling an economical tale and Willsher doing that crisp, tight art of his that works very well. He even manages to get his favourite bit of orange in along the way.
PROTEUS VEX: THE SHADOW CHANCELLOR – PART 5 – Michael Carroll, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland
With one of their impossible to pin down enemies, one of The Silent, recovered from Midnight Indicating Shame – and by recovered we mean she threw him up – the Imperium agents are having a bit of a debrief, a bit of a chat, with Vex going off on one of his little vague memory moments again.
Thing is, when you have an enemy that’s proved near impossible to capture thus far, is it really such a smart idea to wake the captive Silent up before securing it?
At least Midnight Indicating Shame is thinking things through – what if the Silent here is part of the group wanting something from the outpost they’re all standing in.
More mysteries to be deciphered, more strangeness going on, all of which will slowly be teased out over the second half of this one. Personally, I’ll easily give Carroll enough rope for this, trusting that he can deliver something worthy of the epic sense running through this one. And as far as Jake Lynch is concerned, he’s really proving a worthy replacement for Henry Flint, all those willowy, angular Imperium agents and beautifully strange shapes look real good here.
SLÁINE: DRAGONTAMER – PART 5 – Pat Mills, Leonardo Manco, letters by Annie Parkhouse
More hitting dragons, this time with the dragon eggs that ‘befoul the tress of Albion.’ Big, gorgeous dragons, small little Slaine… they don’t stand a chance do they?
So, lots of dragons, lots of Slaine hitting dragons. And in the background, another Lord Weird controlling the actions of the Trojan King. Then something with his sons, particularly the one who I reckon we saw down in the dungeons being all mad. And finally, the King’s good lady wife…
Mills arranges the pieces, brings in the greatest hits and has Leonardo Manco throw Sláine around doing Sláine things.
Damn though, Manco really has rather outdone himself every episode, all leading up to the unveiling of Lord Weird Slough Gorm on the final full-page. But I’m not showing you that… go buy the comic to salivate over this artwork.
HERSHEY: THE BRUTAL – PART 5 – Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, letters by Simon Bowland
It’s rather wonderful what Simon Fraser is doing with the art all the way through Hershey, black and white art with tonal colours looking stunning, plus the suitably shifting styles we see him use for the different points of Hershey’s life.
So here we get a page letting us see just how she brought Frank back from the dead in the past (it was a lot simpler than you’d think), followed by dropping right back into the manoeuvering of Hershey getting Frank into the dangerous boxing bouts of the crime cartel boss, the one Hershey’s wanting to blow away.
She’s brutal in so many different ways – to her enemies obviously, but also to her allies, who’s she’s used and abused to get them exactly where she wants and needs them to be, political and tactical planning with no consideration of what it will cost them at all.
And poor Dirty Frank is the worst victim of them all, never an innocent, there’s few who spent time as Judges, especially one with Frank’s history of Wally Squad and rubbing shoulders with Dredd, Smiley, and Hershey. But Hershey’s pushing of him, a means to an end, nothing but a blunt weapon to get her to where she needs to be to deliver the executioner’s blow.
Hershey is a series that’s certainly taking its time. Two seasons into it now and she’s not managed more than getting herself in place to dispatch just the first of many targets. This really is a slow, slow burn of a thing, full of mood and tone in Williams’ relatively hands-off approach to this one, letting Fraser, quite brilliantly, do a lot of the heavy lifting through character and body language all through. It’s just getting better and better.