The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2223: Getting To The Roots Of Thistlebone

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…

Cover by Simon Davis

More thrills coming your way in Prog 2223, with more Chimpsky in Judge Dredd, the second part of the new Tharg’s 3Riller, Nakka of the S.T.A.R.S, and more Thistlebone: Poisoned Roots. And this Prog, we have the finales to both Proteus Vex and Durham Red.

2000 AD Prog 2223 is out on Wednesday 17th March. Get out and support your local comic shops where you can. If you’re still in lockdown remember that your comic shops still need you, so hit them up for mail ordering your regular comics right now.

JUDGE DREDD: WHO KILLED CAPTAIN COOKIES – PART 3 – Ken Niemand, PJ Holden, colours by Quinton Winter, letters by Annie Parkhouse

More Chimpsky misadventures here from Niemand and Holden, with Noam on the case to solve the murder of Captain Cookies.

A little Thomas Paine quote to start us all off: “We have it in our power to begin the world over again”, something the Judges have erased from their society.

And then off with Chimpsky doing all the hard lifting for the Justice Department, giving them the info to bring down the bad guy. Dredd, meanwhile, is off dealing with an infestation of killer mannequins. Not to worry though, he’ll be on Chimpsky’s case soon enough.

Chimpsky’s a great character, brought to fabulous life by Holden’s artwork here.

THARG’S 3RILLERS: NAKKA OF THE S.T.A.R.S – PART 2 – Story and art by Brendan McCarthy, Script by Roger Langridge, colours by Len O’Grady & Brendan McCarthy, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Inspector Nakrosky (Nakka) and his assistant Penny Z8E/4891 are on the case in a bizarre mix of futuristic mechs and Midsomer Murders, letting Brendan McCarthy unload his latest bit of quite wonderful weirdness onto the pages here.

Killer Vicar robots, Warrior Nun settings, all just a regular day’s policing for Inspector Nakka.

THISTLEBONE: POISONED ROOTS – PART 3 – TC Eglington, Simon Davis, letters by Simon Bowland.

After the gruesome discovery of those skeletons in the roots of a downed tree in Harrowvale, Seema is back in the midst of the Thistlebone cult’s fallout for the village, having a chat with the head archaeologist.

The 1984 report of six hospitalised after a scouting trip gets a brief mention, followed by a page of Davis playing around with his art, giving us a strange interlude in a wonderfully strange storyline.

Again, the slow build of Thistlebone is a delicious thing, something that really came good recently for me with the collection of Book One, where the whole storyline just works to give you a cumulative horror that just gets into your head.

And so much of that is thanks to Eglington and Davis just working so well together, with Davis’ artwork looking better than ever.


PROTEUS VEX: THE SHADOW CHANCELLOR – PART 11 – FINAL PART – Michael Carroll, Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland

Amidst all the action of the last few episodes, we also had the reveal of the genocide perpetrated by the Alliance on the Silent. Now, with this final episode, it’s the fallout from that revelation.

Proteus Vex and the Citheronian Government seal a bargain, showing us that Vex absolutely refuses to let alliances get in the way of the truth, no matter how close that alliance may have been. It’s a somewhat shocking moment, realising just what Vex will do when pushed to action. But it’s also something that emphasises just how unpredictable and alien the world of this strip exists in.

As for the future? Well, I damn well hope there more Vex in 2000 AD’s future, as that plot threads left deliberately dangling at the finale is too good not to return to in the future.

DURHAM RED: SERVED COLD – PART 11 – FINAL PART – Alec Worley, Ben Willsher, letters by Jim Campbell

And with that, we’re done. Durham Red, Warren, the Sheriff, all of them in one final showdown.

And then it’s time to mop up, collect the dead, and see justice done… although not the Justice the Sheriff thought was required.

It’s been a blast, a good old-fashioned outer space western for this series of Durham Red. Of course, the ending does set us up neatly for the trial of Red – maybe soon?


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