The Weekly 2000 AD – Prog 2276 – The Vamp, The Spook, and Baba Yaga – Cold War Heats Up In Fiends…
by Richard Bruton
45 years and better than ever – it’s the UK’s greatest sci-fi weekly comic, 2000 AD and we’re here with The Weekly 2000 AD to give you a preview.
Another week, another five great strips… and with Kingmaker ending last week, it’s time to return to the world of supernatural noir thriller in Hope… In The Shadows by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton.
Alongside that premiere, there’s more (much more) from the latest brilliant John Wagner and Dan Cornwell Judge Dredd: The Citadel, more Intestinauts, more from the cover-featured Fiends of the Eastern Front: 1963, and more from the quite magnificent Brink.
Right then – 2000 AD Prog #2276 is out on now, so it’s time for a preview…
JUDGE DREDD: THE CITADEL – PART 7 – John Wagner, Dan Cornwell, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Annie Parkhouse
This has just been unfolding beautifully slowly, each episode following Dredd, the cadets and the few Cit-Def left as he heads to the Citadel, the place the Sovs are using as a detention and torture centre. Of course, this is all in the shadow of Winterton, one of the cadets, telling the tale 35 years in the future, a very unreliable narrator perhaps, and one who definitely hates Dredd and is promising an explosive revelation to his tale.
And well… that final page… it’s certainly an explosive revelation. No spoilers here obviously, but you’ll see for yourselves when you read the Prog and you’ll definitely get what I mean when you see the cover to next weeks’ 2000 AD. Let’s just say it opens up a hell of a lot of questions.
Of course Wagner’s writing here is spectacular, writing a brutal Dredd so well – although whether that’s just Dredd in the Apocalypse War or the result of Winterton’s retelling is something we’ve yet to work out. However, it’s Dan Cornwell who’s absolutely stealing the show here. He’s been establishing himself over the last few years as Wagner’s go to artist, after Rok of the Reds catapulted him to fame (well, comics fame, but you know what I mean.) And now, with the ‘Citadel’, he’s turning in page after page of such brilliance that he’s definitely established himself as one of the definitive Dredd artists going forward.
His Dredd is impressive, a massive presence in the strip for sure, but his composition and layouts here, as Dredd and the team blast into the Citadel, all-action, is just a perfectly choreographed thing, culminating in that image above, where Cornwell plays with perspective and arrangement to give us both sides of the conflict, Dredd and the Sovs, in one perfect panel. Superb.
And then… of course, there’s the final page. Wow. But that, sorry, you’re going to have to wait for next week.
HOPE IN THE SHADOWS – REEL ONE – PART 1 – Guy Adams, Jimmy Broxton, letters by Jim Campbell
The return of Adams and Broxton’s absolutely gorgeous looking and fascinating reading Hope strip now, and this one is promised as a longer tale, split across two ‘reels’.
For those in need of a recap, it’s a magic infused noir horror strip set in an alternate 1940s Hollywood where WWII was won through occult means. But in this world where magic is commonplace, there’s a heavy price to pay for using the dark arts. And one of those people destroyed by magic is Mallory Hope, former New York cop turned Hollywood PI who came back from a nightmarish war only to discover that the nightmare came back as well. His wife was seduced by magic while he was away, and both her and their young son vanished. He now spends his time chasing down cases whilst still believing that he can find them, somewhere, somehow.
And oh yes, there’s a demon (Cade) attached to his soul.
Okay then, now you’re all caught up, this first episode is all a bit Hope-lite, with the setup for the latest mystery taking place in the midst of all the sleaze of Hollywood where there’s a brutal murder threatening to shut down a movie.
Most likely a job for Mallory Hope then. Like I say, all five pages are set up, but damn, you can really just luxuriate in all that Jimmy Broxton artwork, perfect to set the mood and the tone of this one.
INTESTINAUTS: THE BOWEL IMPACTORS – PART 2 – Arthur Wyatt, Pye Parr
A small group of those investigators of your intestine, those valiant Intestinauts have found themselves stranded, literally, down the drain and facing a fatberg trek no-one would enjoy. So far they’ve fought off nematodes and made their way through the worst the drains have to offer. And now the Intestolabs uplink is in sight.
But there’s still the small matter of the new Bowelbot Impactors, the latest models, programmed to kill, kill, and kill, with a special hatred for all things Intestinauts.
There’s so much fun to be had with the Intestinauts and it’s obvious that Parr is absolutely putting his all into it – the double pager of the view over the fatberg is something spectacular.
FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT: 1963 – PART 4 – Ian Edginton, Tiernen Trevallion, letters by Annie Parkhouse
So, last episode Constanta rather lost his head, thanks to the servant of Baba Yaga, Major D’Hubert of Napoleon’s Grand Armee. Now, time for a bit of needlecraft to put the vampire back together again before a face off with Baba Yaga, who really does have it in for Constanta.
But Baba Yaga should know better than to take things for granted when it comes to magics, which is where Constanta’s American friend comes into things.
All in all, so far this really has been a bit fo a treat – although I still say I’d have cheerfully spent way longer with Constanta exploring the world of Berlin and magical spying. But there’s a joy in seeing Edginton and Trevallion play around with all the magical stuff here, and always a sheer joy seeing Trevallion’s superb artwork in these toned black and whites.
BRINK: MERCURY RETROGRADE – PART 7 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, leters by Simon Bowland
Seven episodes in and still just bloody magnificent. Brink’s sudden left-turn away from Bridget Kurtis’ investigation into the Sect crimes and the entire Mercury incident is a fascinating thing. Just why have Abnett and Culbard taken us down this avenue is something we’ve yet to really work out why, but I trust both gents with this one by now and know that whatever they have in mind for the latest book of Brink is going to be every bit as exceptional as what’s gone before.
Here we get investigative journo Mas finally identifying Kurtis as the other officer at the union shooting he witnessed – the one from at least six months back in Brink time, right back at the start ot the series. But more than that, there’s his wife’s investigation into a link between the Governor’s office and Gentau, the corporation currently falling foul of the unions… it all begins, slowly, perfectly, brilliantly, to come together.
And all the while, we get the sheer joy of seeing Culbard’s artwork, whether it’s in conversations, action, of that quite beautiful scene of the world of Brink, the close quarters, the roadways, and the stunning colours and lights of this world.