The Weekly 2000 AD – Prog 2303 – Breaking Out From The Bunker In Enemy Earth
by Richard Bruton
It’s 45 years old and it just gets better & better – 2000 AD is the UK’s greatest sci-fi weekly comic and we’re here with The Weekly 2000 AD to give you a preview.
Brand new Judge Dredd begins this Prog as Rob Williams and Henry Flint pick up from the end of their recent End of Days saga with the ex-Sov Psi-Judges Buratino and Izaaks settling into MC-1 in Buratino Must Die.
As for the other four strips, we’re keeping on with four strong ones – Hope… In The Shadows, Chimpsky’s Law: A Terrifically Disturbing Adventure, Enemy Earth, and Hershey: The Cold In The Bones.
Prog #2303 is out on 12 Oct. Shall we take a look inside?
JUDGE DREDD: BURATINO MUST DIE – PART 1 – by Rob Williams and Henry Flint, letters by Annie Parkhouse
At the finale to ‘End of Days’, Dredd brought Sov Psi-Judges Buratino and Izaaks back to MC-1 – but we all knew that the trouble wouldn’t end there – and the Sovs tend not to forget their own who’ve betrayed them.
Which is exactly what’s happening here in Buratino Must Die. In classic storytelling fashion, this one opens mid-story, with something terrible in the skies above MC-1 and Dredd pondering whether to shoot Buratino or not.
And then we cut back to this…
Yep, it’s one week after the events of ‘End of Days’, with Chief Judge Logan wondering what the hell they’re meant to do with Buratino and Isaaks, fresh back from ‘End of Days’ with Dredd after the whole stopping of the literal four horsemen of the apocalypse thing happened.
Dredd? Well, he’s not exactly convinced about the Sovs – what a surprise…
And that’s just a perfect Anderson comeback right there.
It’s not just Anderson where the tone is right though, as Williams and Flint get the tone just so right. It feels classic from the off, that sense of import, that feeling that bad things are coming, that sort of thing that both creators are so good at doing.
And bad things are coming – like Buratino says on the final page – “and then Zersetzung will come for us.” Yep, Sov Psi-Div is coming to Mega-City One.
Now, Henry Flint’s artwork. Well, first of all, it’s just superb – but it’s more than that, it’s changed recently, there’s a difference in the line and weight that just looks amazing.
CHIMPSKY’S LAW: A TERRIFICALLY DISTURBING ADVENTURE – PART 3 – by Ken Niemand, PJ Holden, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland
The terrifically exciting/disturbing adventures of the wonderful Chimpsky continue in the whole evil Enid Blyton style that this one’s going for. And it really is a joy, an absolute joy, Niemand and Holden creating something that’s got a unique fun vibe to it and a great character.
As for Chimpsky, well at the end of last episode we had this happen – Timmy & Thrupence targeting our simian super-ape to be their little pet…
But imagine just how ticked off they’re both going to be when they can’t get Chimpsky to fall under their psi-spell…
See what I mean?
The tone’s perfect and Holden’s art is just superb, all the body language and expressions just so spot on, some of his best work happening right here…
HOPE… IN THE SHADOWS REEL TWO – PART 2 – by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton, letters by Jim Campbell
Last episode had Mallory Hope’s wife Alice returning with deathly effect. Here, it’s another Hope-less episode following Alice – straight into a nuclear town and into more nightmares.
The coven’s gathered together, we’re in nuclear town, the President’s visiting and terrified, and Alice is delivering the cursed film, we know not what for quite yet, but it’s definitely not going to be good.
Aleister Crowley, Norma Desmond, Henry Truman… and Alice looking the spit of Lauren Bacall, Adams is bringing names to the book and Broxton’s art is perfect for getting them down.
It’s all mood and creeping dread right now here, something both creators are particularly good at. Hope might have switched focus to Alice Mallory but it’s unerring in keeping up the nightmarish quality of the storytelling.
ENEMY EARTH: BOOK 1 – PART 3 – by Cavan Scott, Luke Horsman, letters by Annie Parkhouse
With Zoe getting into Jules bunker she also let the nasties in, and Nanni’s got its hands full keeping them at bay.
What Scott does so well here is tell the tale from Zoe’s point of view, the frequent flashbacks to the terrifying past where she lost her brother and her gran, the guilt she’s carrying with her. All of it works seamlessly while we still have the storyline moving forwards.
The guilt is strong, but she’s a broken kid who takes the easy way out and runs out on Jules and Nanni, thinking she just can’t look after anyone, especially not another kid. Yes, it’s a cliche in the storytelling, but it still works a treat here.
And with Luke Horsman’s artwork translating Scott’s story to the page with style, an angular look, subdued colours, and a hell of a lot of nasty monsters to draw, Enemy Earth is a load of fun.
HERSHEY: THE COLD IN THE BONES: BOOK 1 – PART 3 – by Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, letters by Simon Bowland
And ending the Prog, the sheer brilliant brutality of Hershey, stunning to look at thanks to Simon Fraser’s artwork and deliberately tonal colouring.
She’s in Antarctic City tracking down more of Smiley’s experiments. One of which you can’t help but think we’re seeing the effects of with that first page that you can see below. There’s just something perfectly macabre about that underplayed claw-like thing just coming into shot, the subtlety of how Fraser plays it making it all the more horrific.
And then it bursts into brightness – or at least as bright as Fraser lets himself go here – the sudden bright green highlighting the short fight scene just so perfectly. Artistically, Hershey’s just a masterclass of how to do so much more by doing less.
This episode’s Hershey-lite, but that just pushes the story along, the monsters appearing, the Joy drug, all of it tying into Enceladus and Smiley.
Tick tock says ex-Chief Judge Barbara Hershey, tick tock.