The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2311: Get Ready To Rumble!

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.

Steven Austin on the cover… Judge-tastic!

Welcome to the final regular Prog of the year – next week it’s the 100-page end of year blowout, full of new thrills.

This Prog, just four strips but that means there’s a double-helping of Dredd to finish off ‘The Rematch storyline, a complete Terror Tale, the continuing noir saga of Hope… In The Shadows, and the conclusion of the first book of Enemy Earth.

Prog 2311 is out on Wednesday 7th December. Shall we take a look inside?

 

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

A three parter done in two Progs here, as there’s double-sized Dredd this Prog. Last time, we met the fight champs of Tyson Fury Block and Caitlyn Jenner Block, Tio and Benny, both of whom had been sent away to the iso-cubes last time the blocks had a fight night. Now, after they’re both out, the blocks want to know when the next fight’s going to be.

Trouble is, neither of the two champs are too keen to have another scrap, something that’s annoying the crap out of the mob. So they’ve arranged things so that the fight happens… because the poor bastards fighting just don’t have a choice any more.

 

And that’s just what this Dredd is, a simple no one ever wins in MC-1 except the law, no one at all – and a damn fine one as well.

It’s also a great chance for Steven Austin to show off some of his artwork – you get an idea right from page 1 of what to expect, with one of the finest, most kinetically brutal punches a sparring robot has ever had to face. And it just keeps going from there, page after page of brutality, first with the fight and then with the Judges busting in and shutting it down. Neither of the fighters had a chance – but of course we knew that from the very beginning. No one wins except the Law.

THARG’S TERROR TALES: IN THE WOOD – by John Tomlinson and Lee Milmore, letters by Simon Bowland

John Tomlinson does write a damn fine Terror Tale, always entertaining, always intriguing, and sometimes, just like here, genuinely creepy.

For young Kian the nightmares begin as a baby, a night terror of a tree scratching against the window, and just gets worse after he gets way too close to the woods. After that, it’s just a nightmarish inevitability that he ends up going back to nature – but not in a nice way.

 

And then Tomlinson twists it right at the end, the final page that shifts the narrative, changes the timescale. Oh yes, very neatly done. Shiver down the spine stuff with some very suitably creepy artwork from last year’s Thought Bubble and 2000 AD art talent winner Lee Milmore.

 

ENEMY EARTH: BOOK 1 – PART 10 – FINAL PART – by Cavan Scott, Luke Horsman, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Things just go from bad to worse for Jules and Zoe in Enemy Earth, particularly for Zoe, who’s still stuggling with the loss of her family and feeling complicit in their deaths, she’s now got to come to terms with losing her arm, and she’s still struggling to cope with practically everything in her world is trying to kill her – whether that’s the flora and fauna or her few remaining humans…

 

Yes, things really aren’t all that great in Zoe’s world. Although at least she’s still got Jules, still got Nanni, and still (after the firefight of this episode) the hope of better things up north. Enemy Earth Book 1 really has been rather good – very simple in plot terms, but plenty of great art from Horsman and Scott giving just enough characterisation to make me invested in a second series.

HOPE… IN THE SHADOWS REEL TWO – PART 8 – by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton, letters by Jim Campbell

Back with Mallory again and his increasingly difficult times trapped in the place with all those Hollywood C-listers involved in the running stitch spell.

It’s increasingly obvious that there’ no way they’re all getting out of this one either alive or in one piece… but that’s where the capacity for true nastiness comes in, both the Hollywood types and, more by inaction than anything else, Hope himself.

The first few pages are a perfect little twist from Adams that ends up with a bit of the brutal stuff comes in…

 

Yet again, Hope really does operate on the slow slow build, the sort of simmering tension that’s so great to read, where you can just feel the bad things about to happen. And all along, as Adams writes the darkness so well, Broxton’s art is the absolute perfect accompaniment.

 

And next week… itttttt’sssss Christmassssss…..

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