The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2305: It’s Hammer And Psi-ckle Time For Dredd
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.
We have the same quintet of thrill-powered tales that just keep on keeping on this week. That means we’re in Mega-City One for Judge Dredd in ‘Buratino Must Die‘ and with Chimpsky for more of his ‘Terrifically Disturbing Adventure‘. We’re back in 1940s for magical noir in Hope… In The Future, in a future post-apocalyptic Earth where the flora and fauna are revolting in Enemy Earth, and we’re down in the icy cold of Antarctic City for more of Hershey in ‘The Cold In The Bones‘.
Everything takes a break next week as we get another of the all-ages Regened Progs.
Prog #2305 is out on Wednesday 26th October. Shall we take a look inside?
JUDGE DREDD: BURATINO MUST DIE – PART 3 – by Rob Williams and Henry Flint, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Halfway into this one and it’s really, really good stuff. We get the introduction of a new Psi-Judge – Huang, young, inexperienced, powerful, and about to walk into a completely psi-storm of trouble that drops her straight into Dredd’s memories of the Apocalypse War in a couple of pages that just sees Flint excel with the artwork. Although, with the new style he’s using here, it’s all just sublime artwork, amazing stuff on every single page.
After the quick revisit to the Apocalypse War, it’s a couple of pages of slow build around MC-1 – again that Flint artwork is just amazing, the rain, Anderson, the street scenes. This is top-notch stuff.
And then there’s the ending. Oh boy, the ending. Buratino already told us the Sov Psi-Div, Zersetzung, were coming. Well, now they’re here, in MC-1, with Huang on the receiving end.
Three parts down, three to go. This one’s a belter.
CHIMPSKY’S LAW: A TERRIFICALLY DISTURBING ADVENTURE – PART 5 – by Ken Niemand, PJ Holden, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland
There was a thing on Twitter recently from PJ Holden when he had this to say about Henry Flint’s artwork on ‘Buratino Must Die’ –
I look at Henry Flint’s art and then I look at mine and back at Henry’s and think my art is just the crude cave paintings of cromagnon man. Sure it has a certain charm, but really, he’s off there pulling apple tech level sh*t while I’m drawing with a wooden stump in an unlit cave.
Well yes, Flint’s doing incredible things, but I have to say that I think PJ Holden’s doing equally brilliant things – very different for sure, but incredible as well – on Chimpsky here.
I’ve long enjoyed Holden’s artwork in 2000 AD and elsewhere but he’s hit a purple patch on this current Chimpsky adventure, giving us artwork that’s absolutely perfect for both character and story, a version of Mega-City 1 and Dreddworld that’s very different from Henry Flint’s Dredd but no less wonderful in its way.
Anyway, in this week’s Chimpsky, we join everyone’s favourite MC-1 simian protector taking a little plunge to his death… which means there’s another chance to see just how special Holden’s artwork here really is. Of course, it’s all combined with Niemand’s storytelling tone and the little quirks of this great strip, making it an opener that works so well.
All of that falling to his death thing just means Chimpsky’s got a little time to work out just why Chet threw him off the Block and who’s behind the recent upheaval. Yep, it’s all Timmy and Thrupence’s fault, he knows that now – but by the end of this episode, that knowledge may just have come a little too late.
It’s perfect fun, script and art and character just synergising so well here.
HOPE… IN THE SHADOWS REEL TWO – PART 4 – by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton, letters by Jim Campbell
And from thrilling drama in Dredd and perfect comedy action capers in Chimpsky, we come to Hope and dive into the darkness once again. This really is a perfect example of the depth of the storytelling and art styles that 2000 AD can offer when it’s at its height – and right now it really is getting it all so right.
In the first three parts of Hope, we’ve focused on the nightmarish world of Alice, Hope’s wife.
Finally, with part 4, we catch up with Mallory Hope. And things don’t exactly look that well for Mallory and the horror show of cinematic nightmares and magicians he finds himself with. He’s got one chance to break free, something known as ‘the running stitch’ that binds him and the other magicians together. But at this stage of things, he’s not exactly in the position to be choosy.
Again, dark things are swirling around in Hope. We’ve seen all of Alice’s magical circle and the nuclear town coven that thinks nothing of executing the visiting President of the United States. What the hell is Mallory going to be able to pull out of the bag this time? Well, that’s something that’s going to play out in two weeks’ time. Although no prizes for imagining it’s going to get darker and bloodier.
Adams and Broxton do make a rather splendid team on Hope, diving deep into their nightmare world where it’s all about the slow burn and the gorgeous b&w art.
ENEMY EARTH: BOOK 1 – PART 5 – by Cavan Scott, Luke Horsman, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Another strip, another switch in styles, with Scott and Horsman building so well on the series they first introduced in an all-ages Regened Prog. And despite things getting a little bit bloodier in this first series proper, the tone and the art style is still very much hitting that perfect for older kids and adults vibe.
With Zoe and Jules picking up Nanni, Jule’s robo-protector, they’re making a getaway from the bunker – right into Trafalgar Square. And you know what that means in a world where the flora and fauna have mutated and seem to have a sole ambition of killing off the few remaining humans…
Oh yes, giant mutant pigeon attack. Seriously, this should be ridiculous, right? Yet in the context of Enemy Earth, it makes wonderfully ridiculous sense. Next stop for the gang would be heading North, to Scotland, to the source of the government signal, maybe to wherever Jule’s dad, the former Prime Minister, could be.
HERSHEY: THE COLD IN THE BONES: BOOK 1 – PART 5 – by Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, letters by Simon Bowland
Dirty Frank’s found the in for the Joy drug gangs down here in Antarctic City, although that did mean that Dirty Frank ended the last episode like this…
Drugs and Dirty Frank? Never a good idea.
It’s another stunning five pages of watching Simon Fraser jump through all the wonderful hoops of the artwork here – the tonal shifts on the first couple of pages exploding into this third page – stark, beautiful whites everywhere, Hershey’s nightmares of Smiley and the cold…
Damn, that’s just so good.
Nightmares, Hershey putting a plan into place to deal with the drug gangs, and then a sudden switch to turn things on their head… and an explosive finale that we’ll have to wait two weeks to see the results of.