The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2285 – History Unfolding Into The Darkness In ‘Fiends: 1963’

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.

This week, cover featured Fiends of the Eastern Front:1963 reaches its stunning finale from Ian Edginton and Tiernan Trevallion, but a finale that sets up so much more to come. Alongside it, there’s more from Judge Dredd: An Honest Man, Hope… In The Shadows, and Brink: Mercury Retrograde. The final slot in the Prog is taken up by a one-off Tharg Terror Tale, Wunza, something clever and funny in the world of TV.

Tiernan Trevallion gets all historical on us with his latest – excellent as always – Fiends of the Eastern Front cover

Right then – 2000 AD Prog 2285 is out on Wednesday 8th June, so it’s time for a preview…

JUDGE DREDD: AN HONEST MAN – PART 5 – Ken Niemand, Tom Foster, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Asher’s fate was sealed last episode with the decision to sell the crypto-key. Now it’s just a race to the finish between Asher, the rookie Judge Purcell, and Dredd. You can’t really see how Asher’s going to get out of this one unscathed, not with so much heat on him now, first Purcell and the crime gang here and, next Prog, a showdown to bring it all to a conclusion.

Not that Dredd’s been too active in An Honest Man, but that’s something that’s actually added to the story, that sense that Dredd’s always there somewhere, always on top of things, watching, investigating, knowing.


And thanks to Niemand’s excellent writing here, with a tone that’s ripped from the Wagner playbook, plus Tom Foster’s detailed, stylish artwork, evoking Bolland obviously but also pushing off into distinctly Foster original directions, An Honest Man really has turned into one of those classic-feeling Dredds, whether the old man’s in it all that much or not.


THARG’S TERROR TALES: WUNZA – John Tomlinson, Eoin Coveney, Alessandro Vitti, letters by Simon Bowland

Blintz Finnegan is the king of the ‘Wunza’ TV shows, but he’s had to be ruthless to get to the top – including cutting out his ex-writing partner, TT Pelling, out of his life and career ever since he went down for murdering a rival showrunner.

Now, what do you reckon would happen when Pelling gets out of the asylum and tries to get together with Blintz and bring back their creative buzz?

Yep, Blintz & Pelling, TV producer and escaped lunatic.. well, that almost sounds like one of their old TV shows.

It’s a hell of a tale, dense, detailed, and way more of a read than its few short pages. But the highlight of it all comes from Tomlinson using Pelling to throw out his latest insane ideas for new buddy shows… the ‘Wunza’ of the title, you know the ones, where ‘one’s a something and the other’s something else,’ that sort of thing. It gets sillier and sillier, Tomlinson dialling it up to 11 in fine fashion.

My personal favourite: “Eff & Blind – potty mouth maverick cop Jack Shit cusses out crime with his partially sighted Venetian partner.” But that’s just one of many – and there’s plenty more to enjoy.


HOPE IN THE SHADOWS – REEL ONE – PART 9 – Guy Adams, Jimmy Broxton, letters by Jim Campbell

Freshly returned to the land of the living, Mallory Hope knows he’s in need of powerful magic and the only place he knows where to get it is the Low Mojave State Correctional Facility, complete with the doom-laden Abandon Hope graffiti that doesn’t bode well for Mallory.


He’s off to collect a hanged man’s hand, desperation beginning to creep into Mallory’s actions now. God knows what will happen when he realises his wife is caught up in all of this somehow.

As always, the pace of Hope is perfect, dark, slow, deliberate, Adams’ captions carrying the weight here, evoking vintage Chandler and Hamnett, playing it up and a perfect accompaniment to Jimmy Broxton’s artwork, gorgeously dark and moody, a tonal masterpiece.


BRINK: MERCURY RETROGRADE – PART 15 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, leters by Simon Bowland

In the long game that is another incredible Brink storyline, it may take time to see things through, but something seemingly throwaway in the early episodes can come storming in with later episodes. So it is here, as the contact Maslow’s wife Lauren had in the Gentau Corp is willing to go on the record now. Problem is that Lauren’s been called away and Mas is handling it all… two twitchy, nervous people with secrets to tell.

The Gentau Corp leaker is Jessica and as the Deputy Comms Officer with the Ludmilla Hab-Gov, she’s been in on all of the meetings about the new developments, the extension to the Gentau Plant in the Boilerhouse region.

Except Jessica knows that the extensions not a new factory, there aren’t going to be new jobs, it’s all hush-hush, the secret plan of Gentau’s head for an extra-solar vehicle…


And the drive system to power it? Well, there we get another one of those delicious callbacks that have been happening all the way through this book of Brink. It’s the Kali drive, developed by Anish Anoor. The same Anish Anoor we met back in Brink Book 1, the same one who first talked about Weird Life.

Back to Brink Book 1 and the first mention of Kali and humanity leaving the Brink

Yes, it’s all tying together, slowly but surely, and it’s a tour de force in developing a long-form series, planting those seeds early, looping back, referencing the past to build the current storyline.

In isolation, every series of Brink is spectacular, but it’s one of those stories that benefits so much from a re-read, not just because it’s one of the greatest 2000 AD stories of the last couple of decades, one that I’m convinced will go down as one of THE greatest 2000 AD stories, but because reminding yourself of everything that’s gone before just makes the next series so much richer for the references you’ll find.

Brink is simply magnificent sci-fi, something that evolved from a police procedural into something completely more, in every wonderful way possible.


FIENDS OF THE EASTERN FRONT: 1963 – PART 12 – FINAL PART – Ian Edginton, Tiernen Trevallion, letters by Annie Parkhouse

The finale to the latest Constanta serial, Edginton and Trevallion’s incredible reworking of what was, originally, a very simple (simple but damn good) and short thing way back in 2000 AD history created by Gerry Finley-Day and Carlos Ezquerra.

They’ve expanded it, gloriously so, to include so much ancient mythology, threading Constanta’s story in with so much else. 1963 is a perfect case in point, initially, I was thinking it was all going to be Cold-War vampire stuff, but it’s gone to so much more, ancient evils, centuries-old plans coming to fruition, and the absolutely delicious idea of the British Intelligence Service running its very own spook show, Constanta included.

But here, we open on a perfect little moment – the Universal Exports office a great little nod to Bond of course, as Constanta discovers just that little more about the not as dead as was thought Major Doleman of the Uncivil Service – and another great little moment from Edginton evoking the original House of Cards…


In the end, Fiends: 1963 built on everything that went before and just went for it, Edginton throwing everything into it all, Trevallion’s art just perfect for this, lush, stark, gorgeous in the details.


And this is an ending that gives us so much, Edginton and Trevallion setting up for the future, Constanta making an enemy of the Uncivil Service, a tantalising little offhand mention of Constanta’s past in WWII, and the prospect of future threats coming from so many different sides.

As the saga builds, Edginton and Trevallion really are doing wonders with the concepts, fleshing everything out, expanding the mythology, and doing it wonderfully well.


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