The Weekly 2000 AD #Prog 2316: He Sees All
by Richard Bruton
Since 1977 2000 AD has been the UK’s greatest sci-fi weekly comic, and every week we give you a glimpse inside the new Prog… it’s The Weekly 2000 AD.
Okay then, after a few weeks of late previews thanks to a particularly nasty bit of lurgy, we’re back on track now, actually previewing 2000 AD BEFORE it’s on the shelves! Enjoy.
Prog #2316 has the ending to the 4-parter Judge Dredd: The Night Shifter, a one-off Terror Tales, plus the continuations of The Out, Proteus Vex, and Joe Pineapples.
Prog #2316 was out on 25th January. Here’s a quick run-through of the Prog…
JUDGE DREDD: THE NIGHT SHIFTER – PART 4 – FINAL PART – Ken Niemand and Nicolo Assirelli, letters by Annie Parkhouse
The finale to Niemand and Assirelli’s political four-parter sees Dredd in pursuit of the Puerto Plata hitman/torturer, whilst his former victim languishes in MC-1 protective custody, feeling terrified and vulnerable. Not helped by the attitude of the Judges who are meant to be guarding her.
And as Dredd tracks down the perp, her fear and stress overwhelms her. So she runs and hides…
And then… well, it’s a brutal, sad ending to this Dredd procedural with a political bent. All credit for Niemand for going there when the easy out would have been way simpler and obvious. Similarly, Assirelli’s art is powerfully painful at times, the expressions on Luna Aguerra’s face are heartbreaking.
What started out as a standard enough procedural Dredd really did turn into something else, where the overtones of real-world horrors are all over this one. And that makes the strength of the ending all the more horrific in its truth.
JOE PINEAPPLES: TIN MAN – PART 5 – Pat Mills and Clint Langley, story by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Joe Pineapples sits and ponders the loss of his comrades and we get a couple of pages of introspection and memory, followed by a couple of pages of Ro-Jaws being Ro-Jaws, a moment of Rocky Horror homage that just jumps out as inappropriate and stupid at the same time, and then it’s back to the Sue Bananas thing, although now that Joe’s deleted her from his memory, there’s not much to go back on, and finally we get a bit on Joe’s chrono-dysfunction and how he hesitated before making the hit on Mars.
Well, that’s Joe Pineapples so far really. I’m still not getting on with it. Sure, Clint Langley’s artwork is great to look at, but for that I’ll go to the far superior storyline in the Megazine with Langley’s artwork: ‘Storm Warning’. But after I look at Langley’s art and take it in, the actual act of reading the strip here is, well, a bit of a chore.
THE OUT: BOOK THREE – PART 5 – by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, letters by Simon Bowland
Blah, blah, blah, isn’t it just perfect? Well, yes, yes it is. I know I keep saying it, but it really is. Inventive, immersive, involving stuff from Abnett and Harrison as they continue the chronicles of Cyd, traveller in the Out.
Although right now, her travels have been somewhat curtailed. After being part of a Tankinar warbody and escaping, becoming the first sentient being to do get free, the first ever to be able to control the Tankinar, she’s being evaluated and called before the Unanima Grand Tribunal. Because not only is Cyd a potentially invaluable asset to the war effort – if they could possibly manage to work out how she did what she did – but there’s also the spectre of being accused of war crimes.
All of this takes place in a monumental grand tribunal hall in front of the assembled beings of the Unanima – a first page that’s just so huge in scale and brilliant in execution from Harrison.
Hours and hours of incomprehensible stuff pass by (and Cyd really needs a pee – another lovely little touch of the sort I speak about so often in terms of The Out) until, without any fanfare and much to Cyd’s surprise it’s all over and she’s un-guilty – again, alien court/tribunal, alien result.
But although the un-guilty verdict means no penalty, there is the small matter of the conditions attached to all this, something that’s obviously laying the ground for the next switch that Abnett and Harrison have in mind for the strip.
Again, it’s all so wonderfully done, Harrison’s pages are so full of stuff, but never come off as cramped or too busy. And there’s just so many styles being utilised, so many glorious little moments to choose. But I’m going with this…
In the midst of the shocking revelation for Cyd, Abnett and Harrison put in the delightful touch of Cyd taking off the heels that have probably been killing her after way too many hours than she expected before the tribunal.
And then we have that fabulous panel of Cyd highlighted in blue – with Harrison suddenly adopting a different look, almost something of the ’60s/’70s girls comics about it there.
Perfect, wonderful… The Out just never disappoints.
TERROR TALES: RITES – by Honor Vincent and Steve Yeowell, letters by Jim Campbell
A welcome return to Steve Yeowell’s artwork to the pages of the Prog here, as relative newcomer Honor Vincent delivers another great little done-in-one here, a Terror Tale that works so perfectly across just four pages – such a difficult thing to do but so great to read when it works as well as this.
Rites pivots from one fascinating idea – after the mass hauntings started, people such as Mara realise there’s money to be made ridding houses of ghosts for the families that can’t stomach it themselves – straight into another horrific idea, turning everything on its head in just a moment, a simple accident that transforms Mara’s young life.
It’s just a fabulously crafted Terror Tale, great idea, perfect execution. These shorts, whether Future Shocks, Terror Tales, or whatever else, have been a mainstay of 2000 AD for pretty much its entire history and seeing someone like Vincent get them so right shows you that they’re not going away any time soon.
PROTEUS VEX: CRAWLSPACE – PART 5 – Michael Carrol and Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland
More epic scale space opera to end the Prog again, as Proteus Vex continues to shine so brightly, Carroll and Lynch spinning a yarn that spans galaxies and centuries, has a truly epic scale, and is just chock full of fabulous storytelling and artwork.
Crawl Space’s structure has been switching between Vex himself, the backdrop to the Scorcher War, and the strange goings-on of Midnight Indicating Shame, Vex’s ex-comrade in arms, the rogue Citheronian who’s a damn sight more than the light relief others would have written her as.
This episode focuses on not just Midnight but her Queen, the Queen of Hive Regalis, one of the most ancient of all races in the universe. Well, ancient until compared to The Scorchers themselves.
The Scorchers have finally captured Midnight, bringing the Queen to contact them and request/demand that she’s returned to her race for punishment. This doesn’t exactly go down too well with the Scorchers’ leader Tsellest.
And in the course of their conversation, not only is Midnight’s fate seemingly sealed but there’s also a reveal at the end where the whole previous war suddenly appears in a different light.
Yes, always a fascinating strip, full of excitement and wonder, epic in scale, stunning artwork from Jake Lynch, magnificent storytelling from Mike Carroll.