The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2280: Bring On The All-Ages Thrill Power, It’s Regened Time!

by Richard Bruton

Four times a year, the pages of 2000 AD, the Galaxy’s Greatest get turned over to Tharg’s lil’ nephew, Jojo-Jargo, who fills the pages with five all-ages tales to appeal to the next generation of readers.

Cover by Chris Wildgoose

2000 AD Prog 2280 hits the shelves and digital on Wednesday 4th May, bringing you all the Regened action you’ve come to expect – it’s 2000 AD action meets all-ages fun.

Inside, there’s your usual visit to Cadet Dredd in ‘Red Medicine’, magic meets an inner-city comprehensive in Lowborn High, AI connectivity gone wrong in a Future Shock, a return trip to the kids of ClassOmega-Default IV in The Unteachables, and the return of future sky surf legend Marlon Shakespeare in Chopper: What Goes Up.

Five strips, all-ages, all great… shall we have a little look inside?

CADET DREDD: RED MEDICINE – James Peaty, Luke Horsman, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Back on the streets of Mega-City One with Cadet Dredd – younger, greener, but still the same attitude. He and his clone brother Rico are wearing the white helmets and out on patrol once more, this time tracking down a little bit of med-crime.

Again, as these Cadet Dredds have gone on, they’ve gone from being very simple things, brighter and bolder than regular Dredd, to where we are now, strips that could so easily just sit in the Prog itself rather than the all-ages Progs. Sure, there’s less gunfire and blood here, but the basic structure and style is pure Dredd. But that’s just how it should be really, and Peaty and Horsman turn out a fine little Dredd here.

LOWBORN HIGH – David Barnett, Anna Morozova, letters by Jim Campbell

Wychdusk Manor is where all the posh, well connected magical kids go. But what about the kids who don’t make the grade, no matter how good a wizard they might be? Well that’s where Lowborn High comes in, a rundown inner-city comprehensive. So yes, this is absolutely Hogwarts meets Grange Hill. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Grange Hill was a seminal kids TV, running 1978-2008 here in the UK, set in exactly the same sort of run-down inner city comp (just without the magic).

So, when Androgeus Frost gets booted down to Lowborn High because his grades are so good that even his family name can’t get him into Wychdusk, we get a classic fish out of water thing, complete with all the essential and well-known moments along the way – falling in with the wrong crowd, calamities in class (multiplier imps all over the place), and then realising that the uncool kids are by far the best sorts of friends. And then wrapped up neatly with a hint of mystery about Frost’s name and a threat for the future… well, it’s all exactly what you think it might be.

But the fact that it’s predictable shouldn’t distract you from the fact that Lowborn High is also something of an absolute delight, with everything working absolutely perfectly. Anna Morozova’s great, all fantasy meets street smart looks and David Barnett’s storyline is full of great moments – another one of the Regened series you can immediately see getting a longer series.

FUTURE SHOCKS: SMART HOME – Honor Vincent, V V Glass, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Smart homes are all the rage right? Shouting at your Alexa as she gets it wrong yet again, getting your Google Nest to sort the shopping… yet can you imagine what it’s going to be like when all this oh so sophisticated stuff becomes capable of independent thought? Yep, nightmare.

And that’s exactly where we’re at with Smart Home… all the lovely little home help appliances all connected to a network and all talking to each other – things go, as you’d expect, very wrong.

It’s the second Future Shock, following her debut last Prog, from Honor Vincent and, coupled with some vibrant, great looking art from VV Glass, it’s a great little tale of a future gone wrong – never ever trust the damn things lurking in your house promising you the smart home of the future!

THE UNTEACHABLES – Karl Stock, Xulia Vincente, colours by Matt Soffe, letters by Simon Bowland

We’re back to the kids of Class Omega-Default IV, last seen in a Regened Future Shock back in Prog 2130 when we met the weird kid of the class – Arthur, the robotic plant on behalf of the teachers.

Well now, with all the teachers gone awol after the chaos of The Weird Kid, its time to check in with them all again and see what they’ve been up to in their teacher-free world and what they’ll do when the new substitute teacher turns up…

The first strip was fun and this just takes the idea that little bit further, there’s still that feel of Leo Baxendale’s Bash Street Kids in there but here it’s mixed in with a lot more Walking Dead, especially through that great first couple of pages from new series artist Vincente.

CHOPPER: WHAT GOES UP? – David Barnett, Nick Roche, colours by John Charles, letters by Simon Bowland

Young Marlon Shakespeare is back, surfing his way into trouble in the big Meg, this time having to work out what’s happening with the new Boing craze and just where people keep disappearing.

All whilst under the watchful, albeit dodgy, eye of Judge Watanabe… or, as the kids call him…

Barnett and Roche create something fast and silly, keeping with the first Chopper tale they did together for Regened Prog 2246. In Roche, we get an artist who can easily show off all those weird angles of MC-1 as seen when you’re following skysurfers around and, as befits the tone of Barnett’s story, gets the comedy beats just right as well…

And it’s the comedy that marks this Chopper out as something fun and different, Barnett moving it all along, complete with plenty of Marlon gloving his namesake’s words and then, every once in a while, getting Chopper to turn to the reader and make some snarky comment – it’s a nice touch, one that makes this work really well.

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