The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2225: Oh Yes I Am, A Penitent Man

by Richard Bruton

The Weekly 2000 AD, Comicon’s weekly preview of the thrill-power emanating from the pages of the UK’s finest sci-fi comic – 2000 AD…

Cover by Tom Foster

Back to the regular five thrills again after last week’s double-length opener to Feral & Foe II. Joining Feral & Foe II and Thistlebone: Poisoned Roots, we have a brand new Judge Dredd thriller dealing with what happens where a ex-Judge who’s served his time on Titan comes back to MC-1. There’s also the return of the single-Prog tales giving us Visions of Deadworld, plus a new done-in-one Terror Tale, Half Life.

2000 AD Prog 2224 is out on 31 March. If you can, get out there and support your local comic shop. If you can’t get out, go mail order and you can STILL support your local comic shop.

JUDGE DREDD: A PENITENT MAN – PART 1 – Ken Niemand, Tom Foster, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Another Niemand Dredd, rather cementing his position as Head Dredd writer, or at least one of a few, including Rob Williams and MIchael Carroll.

This time, after the lighthearted Noam Chimpsky four-parter, we’re into more serious stuff, as Dredd meets Asher, a former Judge who’s done his 20 years on Titan and has returned to MC-1 to serve the city once more, however he can.

Dredd… not convinced.

But having an ex-Judge on his beat means he checks it out with SJS anyway who, in typical fashion, warn Dredd off as they’re looking into it.

Well, you’ll colour me surprised when Dredd sticks his nose well into SJS business next Prog, won’t you?

Okay, simple and easy and good start to this one, and I’m sure Tom Foster gets a little tired of being told how his art has a very Bolland-esque feel to it. But it really does… and that’s absolutely no bad thing, with Foster’s super-clean line telling the story really well.

THISTLEBONE: POISONED ROOTS – PART 5 – TC Eglington, Simon Davis, letters by Simon Bowland.

Seema’s going deeper and deeper into the Thistlebone cult – and it’s taken her to Jasper Hillman, leader of the occult group, in jail with all the rest of them after Avril’s escape.

She’s asking after Malcolm Kinniburgh, increasingly convinced that he’s the guiding hand, or at least a nudging hand, pushing Hillman in the wrong direction…

So, is Hillman insane, a manipulator, a truth-teller, a madman, or all of the previous? As with so much to do with Thistlebone, we’ll be slowly finding out over the next seven episodes. But there’s definitely menace and threat for Seema with Hillman’s words telling her she’ll be trapped with two choices: ‘commit the sacrifice, or become the sacrifice.’

Well, I reckon we all had an idea that it wasn’t going to be all sweetness and light for Seema by the end of Poisoned Roots, we’re just going to have to wait to see how bad it gets for her.

And yes, as usual, Simon Davis’ artwork is just superb, his manipulation of your thoughts through his art as you pan around Seema and Hillman talking at the prison table just draws you into it all, putting that familiar Thistlebone chill down your spine.

(Oh, and that’s not even mentioning the robin and the badger on the final page. Go see that yourself.)

VISIONS OF DEADWORLD: YOU GIVE ME FEVER – Kek-W, Dave Kendall, letters by Simon Bowland

These Visions of Deadworld things have been damn good, a break of sorts from the longer Deadworld storyline, allowing us to jump around the worst place in any world and get to share a little weirdness and carnage with the Dark Judges.

This time around, it’s a tale of Judge Fire and Sister Despair… and about as twisted a romance as you’d expect for Deadworld.

Yep, weird, creepy, little slices of the world of Deadworld, all with all that Dave Kendall artwork… they’re a wonderful palette cleanser of a strip before we jump all the way into the next Deadworld saga where we get to watch a world very, very, very slowly going to hell.

TERROR TALES: HALF LIFE – John Tomlinson, Anna Readman, letters by Annie Parkhouse

John Tomlinson (Armoured Gideon, Mercy Heights) back in 2000 AD with a Terror Tale – new material or one sitting in the archive pile somewhere? As for Anna Readman, her last work here was in Regened 2206 with the reappearance of Abelard Snazz.

Aaron Diplo, the man with half a brain, swears he was assaulted by his twin brother, a twin brother who’s recorded as being stillborn. And following that, a series of seemingly random assaults, yet all connected to Aaron… who maintains his brother is to blame.

Enjoyable stuff, with Readman’s artwork suitably grotesque.

FERAL & FOE II – PART 2 – Dan Abnett, Richard Elson, letters by Jim Campbell

So, with the opener last week we got to find out just how Wraith and Bode got out of the magical conflagration that had threatened to kill them at the end of the first series.

Although typically, Abnett’s body swap gets played wonderfully for laughs… here’s that bit from Prog 2224 that I held off showing you last week…

So now we know, in the chaos going round when Bode unleashed alchemical chaos and that transmutation was the result of it.

Problem is, Bode in Wraith’s body is eating, eating, eating (‘Oh shut up! It’s a comfort thing!’) and Wraith in Bode’s body can’t conjure up a single bit of necromancy if his/her life depended on it. Unfortunately, seeing as they’re both still under the Feral & Foe rules and need to earn coin, that might well be the case as they’re off to sort out the necromancer Golgone… although Krod has a plan.

So, off we go, this fantasy comedy of errors giving you at least a few laughs every episode, alongside damn fine art from that Elson fella.

Yep, Feral & Foe II has all the fun of that first series and Abnett appears to really be enjoying playing it all for laughs for now.

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