The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2301: Jump On Board For All New Thrills
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.
It’s all new this Prog, after the zombie madness of last Prog and The Megazine. So that means a one-off Judge Dredd, the new ‘Chimpsky’s Law‘ sees everyone’s favourite super-intelligent ape meeting the twin terrors of Timmy & Thruppence, another Regened strip makes the jump to the Prog when the post-apocalyptic eco-horror Enemy Earth begins an extended run, there’s a new Future Shock, and the return of ex-Chief Judge Hershey that finds her and Dirty Frank down in Antarctic territories in The Cold In The Bones.
So… five great new strips and all out in Prog #2301 right now. Shall we take a look inside?
JUDGE DREDD: HALF SMART – by Arthur Wyatt and Dave Taylor, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Time for one of those great one-off Dredds, the ones echoing the silly stuff of yesteryear – Wyatt and Taylor giving us the Society of Very Smart Persons, just another group of the sort of nuts Dredd comes across every day and the sort of group that makes MC-1 so vibrant and unique.
Anyway, gorgeous looking art from Taylor, as you’d expect – and makes you really impatient for the second Dreadnoughts series, and a neatly daft story from Wyatt, all starting with a challenge for the very smart and ending with a very literal sphere of public debate. Just plain old fun.
CHIMPSKY’S LAW: A TERRIFICALLY DISTURBING ADVENTURE – PART 1 – by Ken Niemand, PJ Holden, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland
And speaking of plain old fun, it’s a welcome back to good old Noam Chimpsky, protector of Ludi Wittgenstein block, with a mission to keep his fellow residents safe and sound. But as a vigilante super-intelligent ape, Chimpsky’s job has to be done in secret.
So, it’s the return of Chimpsky, along with incompetent block Judge Stan and rundown Mechanismo droid Lennie – both of whom Noam’s keen to keep around, because it’s so much easier to pull the wool over their eyes than it is with Dredd.
Thing is, there’s not that much of Chimpsky to be here in this opener. Instead, our focus is on another couple of fascinating side characters, newly created by Niemand and Holden, the wonderfully named Timmy & Thruppence (any similarities to Agatha Christie characters are purely in the name I’m sure), a pair of psi-kids thoroughly lacking in morals and headed to Chimpsky’s block after their last ‘parents’ didn’t quite make the grade.
As always with Holden, it looks just wonderful, and Niemand’s writing it with a mischievous glee.
ENEMY EARTH: BOOK 1 – PART 1 – by Cavan Scott, Luke Horsman, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Back in Prog #2256, a Regened Prog, we had a single episode of Enemy Earth, a great little slice of post-apocalyptic horror where the world’s mutated flora and fauna have rebelled against humanity.
But don’t worry if you can’t remember that intro, as we get everything we need in the first couple of pages to get you up to speed – showing us young Zoe’s tragedy and how she’s just found another young stray, Jules, and his robo-protector.
We’ve got 10 episodes of this one to look forward to, with Scott and Horsman taking the time and space to fill things in and build things up – the spores that may have caused the mutations; Jule’s dad being Prime Minister, way too far away in Scotland; his defence robot Nanni; and the horrific things that both Zoe and Jules have seen thus far.
It looked great in the Regened Prog, but here Horsman takes the solid grounding of that and changes things in the colouring, giving us a more muted, moody palette, to great effect.
FUTURE SHOCKS: ECHO – by Honor Vincent, Liana Kangas, colours by Adam Cahoon, letters by Jim Campbell
Kevin’s made the move to Memphis, although nothing like the Memphis of now, and has been tapped up for something creative, something to do with the mysterious Echo.
Problem is, Echo isn’t all she’s made out to be, not at all, and the young idealistic Kevin has to cope with his disappointment and risk losing it all.
Another neat little Future Shock here, simple twist, lovely artwork, all just fine.
HERSHEY: THE COLD IN THE BONES: BOOK 1 – PART 1 – by Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, letters by Simon Bowland
Judge Barbara Hershey used to be one of the finest Judges, latterly one of the greatest Chief Judges. Yet all that’s gone now, in the wake of Judge Smiley’s Small House Affair where we learned of a whole world of clandestine ops that went on under her nose.
As a virus ravages her body, she’s faked her own death to walk out into the world and see if she can’t undo the evil that Smiley did.
And bloody hell, that Simon Fraser sure can draw, can’t he. So far, Hershey has been a tour de force of his art, the tonal choices on his colouring just superb, a simple, stripped-back look for a strip that’s had Rob Williams going for a minimal feel to the writing, all about evoking the mood of a failed leader, looking for absolution and vindication for what went wrong on her watch.
Oh, and it’s got Dirty Frank, which is always perfect…
Anyway, this is meant to be (I think) the last Hershey tale, presumably split into two parts, and it’s all in suitably cold colours as Hershey and Frank land in Antarctic City with the next big target in Hershey’s sights. First up though, the little matter of ice pirates.