The Weekly 2000 AD Prog 2237: Gigantic, Gigantic, Gigantic, A Big, Big Demonic Mecha-Thing

by Richard Bruton

The Weekly 2000 AD, Comicon’s weekly preview of all the thrill-power the UK’s finest sci-fi comic has to offer…

Cover by Dave Kendall)

We’re used to seeing Dave’s artwork on Deadworld, so isn’t it great seeing his painted wonders here on Mechastopheles?

Inside this week, there’s more of the John Wagner and Colin MacNeil Judge Dredd ‘Removal Man’strip, more ape adventures in space in The Talented Mr Chimpsky, and more interdimensional investigations in Department K. We say a farewell this Prog to Mechastopheles after just four episodes and welcome back a new Skip Tracer; ‘Eden’.

2000 AD Prog 2237 is out on Wednesday 23rd June. And remember, although your local comic shop might have reopened, it’s still desperate for your trade… so head on down and give them your cash. And if you can’t get in, give them a bell and grab your comics through mail order.

All right then, Prog 2237 awaits…


JUDGE DREDD: REMOVAL MAN – PART 2 – John Wagner, Colin MacNeil, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Okay, so it was your classic bait and switch, Wagner setting it all up for us to imagine the Removal Man having Dredd in his sights, only to twist it at the end to have our hitman getting his target right under the nose of Dredd and getting clean away.

Except for two things. First there’s Dredd, because Dredd just won’t let it lie. Dogged, determined, suspicious, questioning… you know he’s going to get to the bottom of things sooner or later.

And the second thing that the hitman’s worried about? That would be the Juve who saw him with the gun. That, at least, he can do something about.

Although taking care of the Juve only leads to even more trouble… a whole hover bus of murder tour thrill-seekers. Poor hitman just can’t catch a break on this one, can he?

Is this Wagner doing some Dredd version of ‘There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly,’ playing with the idea of cumulative actions?

First the Juve, next the hover bus? After that, well who knows – but it’s going to be a great bit of fun getting there.

It’s that wonderful manner that Wagner gives to Dredd, that singular tone of the voiceover, the confidence in every word you read on his pages. Damn, it’s so good to have him here, same as Colin MacNeil’s gorgeous artwork – it’s a great thing.

MECHASTOPHELES: THE HUNTING PARTY – PART 4 – Gordon Rennie, Lawrence Rennie, Boo Cook, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Inside and outside, things are moving here in Mechastopheles, as the giant mech gets in a little undersea action sorted and the humans inside get things sorted about the missing kid in their midsts. Plus, more on the demonic threats from inside and outside that we’ll no doubt be getting more of in the next (hopefully longer) series.

Because, as it is, this little four-parter is nothing more than a linking piece, giving us another glimpse into the world of the last humans and the demon bound to the mek, Apollyoneth Morga, all with the sumptuously organic artwork of Boo Cook.

DEPARTMENT K: COSMIC CHAOS – PART 4 – Rory McConville, Dan Cornwell, Colours by Len O’Grady, letters by Simon Bowland

Okay then, the MC-1 weird investigations department have their work cut out for them this time. At first it just looked like your standard thing, go to another world, help out the populous, get home. But now they’ve discovered a very dead Locust (their name for the huge dimensional gatekeeper beings they keep coming across) – things just got a lot more tricky in the world of Dept K!

So, what is it that had the power to kill a Locust? How did it happen? Is it actually dead? Well, that’s what most of Dept K are off to find out.

And now we’re into Alien territory – small band of space explorers deep in the bowels of an alien thing… possibly looking for the pilot of said alien thing – which, if you remember, didn’t go all that well for Ripley et al.

It does give us a chance to get lots of great McConville dialogue, with the lightness of the strip coming through, even in these rather perilous moments…

Cornwell’s deep into the weird tech stuff, coming up with something new and visually interesting every episode, whilst keeping the pace of the strip well up. And McConville’s matching him step for step, plunging the Dept into peril this episode with devilish glee.

Department K was a hit in the Regened Progs and this new, longer series shows no signs of the fun and thrills of the strip going away at all.

SKIP TRACER – EDEN – PART 1 – James Peaty, Paul Marshall, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Jim Campbell

Back onto the Cube now, with another adventure for Nathan Blake, the Skip Tracer, whose habit for getting himself into way too much trouble and biting off more than he can chew on what appear to be simple jobs shows no sign of letting up here in this first episode.

Again, Peaty drops us straight into things, an army Private on the run for desertion, a Consociation Droid cornering him – and Blake stepping in from the shadows. Great bit of artwork from Marshall to set all this up here, very much the cold open, cinematic almost in the way it’s done.

And from there, we’re into it all. Blake’s rescued the soldier, but Hastings has other plans – a new job, a rescue? We’re not sure yet, but it’s a fine opening for this latest Skip Tracer.


CHIMPSKY’S LAW: THE TALENTED MR CHIMPSKY – PART 4 – Ken Niemand, PJ Holden, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland

It’s a wonderfully silly strip, a great lead character, Niemand and Holden obviously enjoying themselves here with this closed room (well, closed space station) mystery – including opening with the Jepperson family’s version of Hercule Poirot doing his best Agatha Christie thing of assembling everyone in the room and examining “ze circumstances of zese murders.”

Of course, Noam’s already way ahead of the idiot humans, obviously it was the household AI with the help of one or more members of the Jepperson family that is to blame.

Unfortunately, these are stupid, bigoted people, with a fine history of abusing and killing their intelligent ape creations, so it’s not all that big a reach that they simply blame Noam and his buddy, just because they were at the scene of that last murder.

It’s great stuff, loads of fun, with all that great inner Chimpsky monologue really coming to the fore this time, with Holden really going to town on the artwork.

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