In February 2012, for the 35th anniversary of 2000AD, I made a pledge:
“But here’s a deal for you. If you’ll do it, so will I. 2012 will be the year I read 2000AD. 2012 will be the year YOU read 2000AD.”
Okay, a special running out the door to catch the train to Thought Bubble edition this one, writing it very quickly as Molly gets her gear sorted in the next room. The bus to York leaves in an hour, I’ve got to pack overnight gear, so of course, I’m doing this. Idiot.
However, this weekend I’m hoping to meet at least a few of the gents responsible for what has been an extremely pleasurable 9 months or thereabouts of 2000AD reading. And damn, if it isn’t getting better as the year goes on. Hell, seeing as we started with Wagner’s Chaos Day Dredd, I never thought it was going to reach the heights that one managed any time soon. But I was wrong. Purple patch right now, (almost) every strip is a bloody delight to read. Fantastic stuff week in, week out.
Right, lets crack on…
Don’t like the cover. Sorry. Maybe I just don’t get Tiernan Trevallion? Admittedly I’ve seen very little of his work, but so far… all a bit hmmm.
Don’t like the ABC Warriors by Pat Mills and Clint Langley much either. Now granted, I much, much, much prefer Langley doing a little more trad stuff, the less flashy photoshop overload the better frankly.
But the whole thing has just lurched from one dull thing to another dull thing. Same here. Ro-Jaws makes an appearance, as Hammerstein’s told he’s got a couple of years hiding out to go through after offing the Prez last time. And compared to the rest of the issue it just comes off as bad. Pat Mills can write such great stuff, just not here.
(ABC Warriors by Pat Mills and Clint Langley)
Okay, after starting with the bad, let’s ramp it up. Everything else in here is quite simply stellar. Ian Edginton and Ian Culbard’s Brass Sun may be slow, but it’s not without its own particular slow thrill, as we’re introduced to more of the strange characters of the worlds of the Orrery.
It’s spectacular, albeit in a low key fashion right now, we’re away from the mechanised wonders and into the smaller scale of warring houses, although the mechanised Dreadnaughts and predatory Scythes are always there to show us we’re far, far away from what we know. And bringing us right down to inside the house of the local feudal Lord is a great way to allow us a wow moment when Culbard directs our attentions outside once more, to a cityscape that will knock your socks off.
(Brass Sun by Ian Edginton and INJ Culbard)
But more and more, the highlight from any issue of 2000AD at the moment comes from sitting and reading Judge Dredd, Lowlife, and The Simping Detective one after the other. It’s turning into such an epic tale, pieces coming from one strip, echoing into the other, reverberating through to the third, and then back again.
Hats off to all involved, editors as well, for creating something utterly rewarding and unique to the comic form. God only knows how they’ll collect it. Any collection without the other strips would be a lesser thing.
So, across the three we have this epic tale playing out alongside the individual bits of brilliance. Perfect, perfect stuff. Whether it’s Dredd and Hershey butting heads, Dirty Frank being tortured on Luna-2, Jack Point trying to get the heck out of town, it’s all building, each strip keeping the mood going, taking their own identity and working it into the greater piece.
Dredd opens so strong, with an utterly demoralised, tired, old looking Hershey looking back on simpler days when her life didn’t run to a constant stream of compromises and corrupted ideals…. but then we get the little bit of weirdness going on, a Judge momentarily affected by … something else…. something or someone who does like a nice biscuit with their tea….
(Judge Dredd by Al Ewing and Henry Flint)
Everything’s happening so quickly now, Hershey trying to protect Dredd, trying to work out why the hell he seemed to fluff the Wally Squad NOC list recovery, how the hell he let someone as dangerous as Bachmann manipulate them all into place.
We’re building to a finale in the coming weeks with Bachmann’s plan coming to fruition.
Hint… it’s not good for any of the Wally Squad Judges… case in Point….
(The Simping Detective by Si Spurrier and Simon Coleby)
Spurrier’s Chandler clown PI has always been good, but occasionally it was kind of the little lost cousin of the bigger, wilder, better Lowlife/Dredd parts of this triple thread. Not here though. The words gel so well all of a sudden, Coleby’s art kicks on so well. Point’s in deep, deep shit. But that’s the problem with being the lead in a noir. It never ends with you getting the girl, the fame, the money. Hell, Point will be lucky to be alive at the end of this.
And then we hit Lowlife. Oh my. Best of the bunch this issue to be (ahem) frank. We get the works; Frank’s torturer coming away utterly perplexed:
“Dirty Frank isn’t lying. He’s genuinely an idiot. Honest”
“We shall see” “Psychic connection made”
“He was not lying. He is genuinely an idiot”
Funny, so funny. But Frank may be an idiot. That’s never the question. The question here is what else is he? There’s always been more to Frank than met the eye (or invaded the nostril), and here we see just a little of what made the man the man he is today… and yes, there’s tea, and biscuits here as well…..
(Lowlife by Rob Williams and D’Israeli)
oooooohhhh. The mystery. Absolutely bloody brilliant stuff. And D’Israeli and Williams save the very best till the final two panels. Words, facial expressions, my jaw dropping. Next Wednesday I’m heading to the newsagent before work just in case it’s come in early.
Right. I’m off to get a bus and a train.