For those of you who don’t know, 2000 AD is a weekly British science-fiction comic book anthology that has spawned some of the industry’s biggest talents and most interesting characters. This week sees 2000 AD celebrating its thirty-sixth birthday with Prog 1821, and what better way to bring in the comic magazine’s thirty-sixth year of continuous publication than with an amazing cover done by the legendary Brian Bolland?
When 2000 AD is on form, the comic is hard to put down and you never want it to end. The fact that 2000 AD is an anthology almost always works in its favor. When there’s a story you don’t fully enjoy, there are four more that you might love. This prog is awesome in general, but two stories stand out more than others in this birthday issue for me. The second part to the Judge Dredd story, “Wolves,” and the tenth part to the Ampney Crucis Investigates… story, “The Entropy Tango.”
The Judge Dredd story in this prog continues the “Wolves” story arc by Michael Carrol. After the events of Day of Chaos, Mega-City One is in bad shape. There aren’t enough Judges on the streets, there was an attempt to overthrow the Chief Judge (which happened in the story arcs leading up to Trifecta in Prog 1812), and, now, there are food shortages. In typical Judge Dredd fashion, things go from bad to worse as the citizens of Mega-City One start attacking other citizens of Sov blood, blaming them for the Chaos bug, and Sovs being placed into internment camps to protect them from being attacked by other citizens, which calls back to what the US did to Japanese Americans during World War II. With food shortages occuring, Mega-City One calls to East-Meg Two for aid.East-Meg Two obliges, and, in exchange, will repatriate all the Sovs in Mega-City One. This is something that mirrors an ongoing debate in the US about deportation of illegal immigrants and the argument that immigrants take jobs from US citizens and sap our resources. If the events in this prog were to happen in real life, there would be civil unrest coming from those being affected, much like what will seemingly happen in the next strip. Aside from the social issues touched upon in this issue there is a civilian, named Luka Shirokov, who isn’t all he seems to be and you get a feel for this in the scenes at the internment camp, especially after Dredd sensed something was amiss and called on control to do a background check on the civilian in the last prog. What that character is up to remains to be seen in the coming progs, however.
The other story that stood out for me was the tenth part of “The Entropy Tango” in Ampney Crucis Investigates… The story wasn’t particularly there as the strip was mostly action featuring a group of humans pretty much getting ripped apart by robots know as Babbagists, but the twist at the end will leave you wanting more. The real draw to this strip, however, is the art handled by Simon Davis, which is incredible. The painted art style is usually hit or miss for me, but Davis knocks it out the park, giving great detail without any of the haze you see with some artists who use a similar style.
I chose just those two stories to highlight the prog, but, in all actuality, all the stories are great and so much fun to read. Pat Mills’s tenth part to “Rise Like Lions” in Savage is a great read, as is John Wagner’s newest installment of Strontium Dog. The art as a whole is phenomenal, and while I may not personally like Yeowell’s art on The Red Seas, I’ve seen worse and it’s not that bad. Overall, 2000 AD has never let me down since I started picking it up, and this prog is no different.
To dismiss 2000 AD as just another sci-fi comic magazine is doing yourself a disservice. 2000 AD is the preeminent sci-fi comic, and if you’re a fan of sci-fi you owe it to yourself to pick it up. Let’s hope to see 2000 AD providing socially relevant and entertainingly zarjaz thrills for another thirty-six years to come.
Joseph Torres, a mysterious character who aids the forces of law and order, is in reality, Lamont Cranston, wealthy young man-about-town. He is a Marvel News Reporter for Capeless Crusader and aspiring comic book writer. His favorite ‘Big 2′ comic book characters are Marvel’s Moon Knight and DC’s The Flash. If you want to reach him for something pertaining to reviews or comic news, or, heck, to argue who’d win in a fight between comic book characters you can contact him at email@example.com