The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2310: Vamping Up The Wild(e) West With Constanta

by Richard Bruton

It’s 45 years old and it just gets better and 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.

Tom Foster with our first look at the vampire Constanta way out west for the new series

Just two weeks away from the end-of-year blowout and a whole new set of stories, so that means it’s one-offs and endings going on over the next couple of Progs.

Here, it’s the penultimate Enemy Earth, a new short multi-part Judge Dredd, new one-off Tharg’s Terror Tales, a special prelude to the new Fiends of the Western Front: Wilde West series coming in 2023, and the continuation of Hope… In The Shadows Reel Two.

Prog #2310 is out on Wednesday 30th November. Shall we take a look inside?

JUDGE DREDD: THE REMATCH – by Ken Niemand and Steven Austin, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Both Tyson Fury Block and Caitlyn Jenner Block still talk about brutal, no-holds-barred cage fight between the two block champions some 17 years ago. That 13 minutes of blood and guts cost then 10 years in the cubes each. Tyson Fury Block’s champ, Tio, kept his nose clean and got out a changed man. Caitlyn Jenner Block champ Benny went another way – proving his rep in the cubes cost him another seven years.

But now that he’s done his 17 years and is back in his Block, all anyone on both blocks want to know is whether the rematch is going to happen. Trouble is, neither of them have got the stomach for the fight any more. Trouble is, the mobsters have got scent of it… and so has Dredd.

Another Niemand short, presumably just two Progs long, where one thing’s certain – neither of these fighters is going to get out of this one ahead.

 

THARG’S TERROR TALES: THE VISION THING – by John Tomlinson and Nick Dyer, letters by Simon Bowland

Marcus Biggs is a go-getter in the advertising industry, a self-styled ‘guru, ninja, rock star, alpha pup.’ He talks of ‘high impact synergy,’ jump-starting stratagems, shifting paradigms, and serving the vertical.’ Christ, you’d hate him too if you had to work with him.

He says it’s all about the vision, but not everyone’s onboard with him, which is why he ends up jobless, wifeless, and homeless. You’d think all that would be enough to show him that it was time for a change, but no, he has to go and discover the flyer – the vision-engine flyer.

 

But does old Marcus have the vision for the vision-engine and just what does it all mean?

Another one of John Tomlinson’s twisty turny Terror Tales, getting delightfully meta at its end and all accompanied by some great Nick Dyer artwork.

 

ENEMY EARTH: BOOK 1 – PART 9 – by Cavan Scott, Luke Horsman, letters by Annie Parkhouse

After Zoe got over her understandable shock over losing an arm, Jules got his own little shock, discovering that the nice folks who took them in and are looking after them have their own dark motivations… think Hansel and Gretel meets The Walking Dead for this particular vibe.

But hey, it’s all going to be all right once they get Nanni to sort things out. Right?

Ah… maybe not this time…

 

One episode to go in what’s been a damn fine strip that’s gone from brightly coloured eco-nightmare to something grimmer and darker – in story and artistic tone. With just five pages left, you have to assume this one is coming back for a second series – and that’s just fine by me.

 

HOPE… IN THE SHADOWS REEL TWO – PART 7 – by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton, letters by Jim Campbell

We had a week off last week but it’s back with a bang for Hope… although it’s back with Mrs Hope again here, in another mysterious bit of magic that sees Alice deciding to take things into her own hands and attempt to get ahead of Norma, the magician/drunk/madwoman currently in control of the most powerful spell in the world.

 

Not entirely sure it’s going to work out all that well for Alice, but then again, Hope has always been about confounding expectations of just what the hell is going on.

And let’s face it, that’s all part of what makes Hope so bloody fascinating. It was always rather mysterious in the past series but here, having the space to play with the two Reels’ of this one, Adams has taken it to quite wonderful new levels of mystery and strangeness. It’s taking its time to get to the point for sure but it’s rather enjoyable having it take its time getting there. And of course, a hell of a lot of what makes Hope work so well has to be Jimmy Broxton’s incredibly moody and atmospheric artwork, gorgeous but so full of menace.

 

FIENDS OF THE WESTERN FRONT: WILDE WEST – PRELUDE – Ian Edginton and Warren Pleece, letters by Simon Bowland

We first met the vampire Constanta when the events of 1941 were retold in Fiends of the Eastern Front by Gerry Finlay Day and Carlos Ezquerra in the 1980 classic. Since then, Ian Edginton and artists Dave Taylor and Tiernen Trevallion have taken us 1812 and the Russian wastelands of the Napoleonic War, WWI France in 1916, a look even further back to discover Constanta’s origins, and most recently the Cold War thriller of Fiends of the Eastern Front: 1963.

This one-off, a tease for the full series taking place in 2023, features a new locale, a new look, and an unexpected guest star – as Warren Pleece joins Edginton and Constanta in 1882 Nebraska – vampire cowboys?

Oh yes. And as for the unexpected guest…

 

Yes, Oscar Wilde. Possibly the last person you’d expect to show up in a vampire story set in the Wild West.

Wilde’s here on a lecture tour and fleeing a fallen angel – but of course. What the hell Constanta is doing here we can only imagine – although no doubt we’ll get into that once the series starts properly.

But this prelude sets things up rather wonderfully. It’s the vampire Constanta and Oscar Wilde on the run from the legions commanded by that fallen angel, with Constanta about to gather up an army of his own… one that I very much look forward to seeing.

 

Edginton’s taken what was a classic and made it something all his own, creating a century-spanning mythology out of such a simple idea, so although Nebraska 1882 may not seem the ideal setting for a vampire tale, I’ll trust in Ian for this one. As for the artistic change this time round, although it’s a shame not to see Trevallion on art duties here, Warren Pleece is a damn fine replacement.

 

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