The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2318: Breath Mint?
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.
Back on track, back to giving you these 2000 AD previews before the Prog comes out – yes, radical, I know. So, welcome to Prog #2318 and the continuations of the five strips from last week – Judge Dredd follows the investigation to come face to face with alien bounty hunter Keeper Hag in ‘The Hagger They Fall‘, The Order return for one last series of historical strangeness in ‘Heart of Darkness’, and there’s two unbelievably good sci-fi epics to enjoy (and I very much am) in The Out and Proteus Vex. And yes, there’s more Joe Pineapples.
2000 AD Prog #2318 is out on 8 February. Let’s take a meander through what you can expect inside…
JUDGE DREDD: THE HAGGER THEY FALL – PART 2 – Arthur Wyatt, Rob Williams, Paul Marshall, letters by Annie Parkhouse
So, we’ve got a smart contract still out on Accounts Judge Maitland, thanks to the events that led to the end of The Red Queen. Top of the list of dangerous bounty hunters looking for Maitland is Keeper Hag, whom Dredd has tracked down to Skeev, one of those lawless little moons way, way out in space, far from Mega-City One.
But the problem with lawless moons is that they’re full of nasty, heavily-armed aliens looking for revenge on Dredd, particularly with the bounty on his head.
And then, as the cover suggests, it’s time for Dredd to come face-to-face with Keeper Hag.
It’s only a three-parter, more an epilogue to the events you’ll find in the forthcoming Judge Dredd: Requiem that collects all of the Dredd/Maitland/Red Queen saga, but still one of those good little Dredd on a mission tales.
JOE PINEAPPLES: TIN MAN – PART 7 – Pat Mills and Clint Langley, story by Pat Mills and Simon Bisley, letters by Annie Parkhouse
Joe n’ Ro, lost in space, out of gas, out of love, n’ outta luck… that’s how it’s described in the front of the Prog. Which about covers it really. although if I was going to be truthful about my reaction to this one, I’d have to add outta ideas as well.
Anyway, we’re heading back into Joe’s memories again, this time going back to a mission to kill Blackblood. And of course, it all ties into Sue Bananas, because why the hell not. Cue more soul-searching from Joe and the reader being bludgeoned by the whole ‘we’re just tin men and women’ idea.
Clint Langley’s art is the one thing here that makes me stop and take in the pages, especially as we go back in time and Langley strips back the colours to really make the art pop off the page.
THE OUT: BOOK THREE – PART 7 – by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, letters by Simon Bowland
Armed only with a kazoo, Cyd’s on Zotol to have a rummage through their classified records to get an idea of what happened when she was brought back to life and re-made.
The kazoo? Well, that’s because all that Unanima memory interrogation that went on muddled up Cyd’s memories enough to open up her head and let her remember the codes she’d subconsciously absorbed from her time on Zotol… and the kazoo is her way of playing the codes back as musical notes.
See, it all makes sense – but in a wonderfully off-the-wall way, about standard for The Out, where Abnett and Harrison find new ways of doing what they’re doing every story cycle and manage to make the simplest of things so fascinating and enjoyable.
So, Cyd’s taking a memory dive into the Zoto’s proprietary information… and you know what company’s can be like when you mess with their proprietary info. Suddenly Cyd’s in just a little bit of trouble, especially when she discovers that the Zoto artificially implanted the Tankinar tech into her on her mending.
Huge amounts of info, Cyd and bag having a conversation about things with all the comedy you’d expect, a massive moment of revelation, and an ending where Cyd’s in deep trouble from two different alien races wanting her dead. You see, THIS is how you do epic sci-fi that’s complex, readable, and forever entertaining.
THE ORDER: HEART OF DARKNESS – PART 2 – Kek-W and John Burns, letters by Jim Campbell
The Order have been defending humanity through the centuries against the reality-breaching Wurms. With time now fractured, the despotic Francis Bacon is determined to rule an Empire. Meanwhile The Order have to battle the shadow-creatures at the edge of time itself.
Last week we touched base with Anna Kohl as she started a quest to reunite with her lost love Ritterstahl. This week we’re back with some more of The Order, underwater and under attack from the Shadow-Kraken. While all that’s going on, we’re inside Ben Franklin’s body as miniature golem versions of Paul Bunyan attempt to purge his body of shadow matter.
Essentially, given this is the final The Order series from what was written in the intro to the series last week, I’m just going along with the madness of it all and not worrying too much about it all. The combination of that and having all that gorgeous John Burns artwork to look at means The Order fair zips by.
PROTEUS VEX: CRAWLSPACE – PART 7 – Michael Carrol and Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Simon Bowland
The whole Scorcher-Imperium war comes to a head here, as Carroll and Lynch give us a masterpiece of storytelling in just five pages. It’s the final stage of the war, with the Scorcher race about to devastate the Imperium homeworld. Told in retrospect, the reportage of the assault on the Imperium is cold, factual, but set against the beauty of Lynch’s visuals it has an impact that’s the epitome of just what Proteus Vex is all about.
Again and again, Carroll and Lynch have taken a simple sci-fi tale and taken it up many, many levels, until we now have something that’s massive in scale, space opera at its finest.