The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2287: Life’s A Grind In Mega-City One!

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.

Andy Clarke with Dredd taking out the trash on the cover

This week, we get three continuing strips; Hope… In The Shadows, Skip Tracer, and Brink, all of which will be taking a break next week for the latest 2000 AD Regened all-ages Prog. Alongside the three continuing strips, we get two done in one tales; Judge Dredd: Grinder by Ken Niemand and Nick Dyer with one of the Big Meg’s smart wastebins going just that little bit rogue and Terror Tales: Music of the Spheres by Kek-W and Warren Pleece.

2000 AD Prog #2287 is out now, so it’s time for a preview…

JUDGE DREDD: GRINDER – Ken Niemand, Nick Dyer, colours by Gary Caldwell, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Something alien and powerful blasts into this reality and seeks out some suitable new physical form to begin its hunt… well, that’s the plan anyway. Funny how things don’t always work out that way…

Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Anyway, that’s pretty much all you need to know about Grinder, a done in one daft Dredd, as the Grinder gets more and more pissed off with sentient life, its own and all those around it.

Classic ridiculous Dredd, all about the everyday nonsense that goes on in MC-1, all of it having to be dealt with, totally straight-laced, by Dredd.

 

HOPE IN THE SHADOWS – REEL ONE – PART 11 – Guy Adams, Jimmy Broxton, letters by Jim Campbell

One of those classic plot turnarounds here, with all the nutty actors thinking they’ve got Hope where they want him… well, you all know how that works, don’t you?

The switch is suitably simple, very neatly done, and of course Broxton’s artwork is a great thing, complete with all those famous faces he’s deliberately been using as reference all the way through all this.

 

And then there’s the ending, well the ending of this episode, with the prospect of Mallory having that other classic plot twist, getting what he’s been thinking he wanted all that time and finding out it’s very much a poisoned chalice.

 

SKIP TRACER: VALHALLA – PART 2 – James Peaty, Paul Marshall, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Simon Bowland

With Valhalla, we had the prospect of Nolan Blake very much being a former Skip Tracer, desperately trying to keep Eden, his new-found daughter safe and out of trouble.

But trouble and Nolan Blake tend to go together, as is the case right here…

 

But as for who’s after him… well, that’s the surprise of the last panel here in part two. We’ll find out more next episode over just who’s trying to bring him in out of the shadows. And no doubt we’ll find out just which direction Peaty and Marshall are taking this final Skip Tracer series in as well. Right now, it feels like it’s going to be a tying up of loose ends and putting Nolan and Eden in trouble once again.

 

THARG’S TERROR TALES: MUSIC OF THE SPHERES – Kek-W, Warren Pleece, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Another done-in-one Terror Tales here, with some fabulous artwork from Warren Pleece, another artist who seems completely at home in black and white or colour.

There’s a call from social services that takes two coppers in for a clearance order and a resident, Arnold Dawn, who won’t answer the door. Big star in the 60s, too much acid, had a breakdown, all about trying to record the music that he heard in his head, the notes that underpin the universe, that sort of thing.

But, as the cops are about to find out, perhaps Arnold wasn’t too deluded in what he was looking for after all, as reality shifts, harmonics scream out, and things get weird in a house of arcane music.

Always fascinating to see 2000 AD do real-life set pieces like this, the sort of everyday now moments and then watching them twist and turn into strange places. And Kek-W and PLeece are perfect for this sort of thing, there’s always that grounded, gorgeous normality to Pleece’s work that makes it so suited to this one.

We’ve had a quite brilliant set of one-off strips over the past few weeks, proof that the naysayers about Future Shocks and Terror Tales and the like (and I used to count me amongst that number quite often) are absolutely wrong – the skill and work required to make these 5-pagers original and flowing really is quite something

 

BRINK: MERCURY RETROGRADE – PART 17 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, letters by Simon Bowland

Okay then, so things really are getting serious here in Brink now. We’re up to the aftermath of the Mercury event, where Mercury and the colonies there went dark, tying into the very first book of Brink and what sent HabSec officer Bridget Kurtis off on her weird life mission that we’ve seen unfold so wonderfully over these past few years.

But here, after that fleeting glimpse of Bridge last episode, we’re with Mas, the journo investigating the Union/HabSec/Cult links, dealing with the fallout from talking to his wife’s source in Gentau Corp. He’s just back from his detention at HabSec and just learning about the Mercury event.

His boss knows that Mercury’s going to dominate the news cycle but there’s precious little anyone actually knows, so being a newsman, he gets Mas to work up the Gentau link between the Boilerhouse killings, the unions, the HSD, and what Mas is saying might be Big Corp and HabGov collusion. And as tangential to Mercury as it might all seem to them right now, with the talk of the “belief system in Union membership that seems to be involving,” we know that it’s all tying into the things Bridge has learned over the course of her investigations.

So things are panning out, the investigations seemingly disconnected but absolutely looking into the same thing. Again, it’s all that wonderful Brink sense of the bigger picture being so incredibly tightly controlled by Abnett and Culbard, giving us one of the best new strips that’s come out of 2000 AD this decade.

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