2000 AD presents a solid package allowing readers to get to know some established characters. An anthology with sci-fi elements as a whole, its three stories contrast each other in different styles. If you like Prog 1900’s all-star talents (Wagner, Ezquerra, Edginton, D’Israeli, Abnett, etc.) then you might stick around.
Where other publishers fear big issue numbers and reboot/retcon/finagle their comics into oblivion, 2000 AD has stuck around for over 35 years and 1900 Programs (Progs). Rebellion are on the hype train asking readers to get this jumping on point. Social media! Reddit AMA! Yay!?!
Prog 1900 has an atypical presentation: the Dredd stories is the usual six pages long, but the other stories are 10 pages. Along with the text piece, this 2000 AD ish feels like a quasi-Megazine. Here are the examinations of the contents:
Judge Dredd: Block Judge
“Judge Dredd: Block Judge, Part One” has the lawman in action overseeing the infamous Gramercy Heights with the help of Judge Beeny and the tentative Judge Corrigan. Writer and Dredd co-creator John Wagner goes to some length describe how decrepit Gramercy is and artist/co-creator Carlos Ezquerra delivers a helping of Dredd, extra-gritty. However, I didn’t find Gramercy very distinctive.
Aside from shady characters and Judges battling gangs, it’s possible that at least one party involved in the Gramercy Heights mess may either turn on Dredd or just flake out. “Block Judge” may get more interesting in future weeks.
Stickleback: The Thru’Penny Opera
I’m not super-familiar with Stickleback, but this bizarre, alt-historical mythology of gods and rogues in late 19th century London draws me in. D’Israeli’s use of negative space, shades, and tones a fine use of black-and-white. “Opera” doesn’t demand reading up on the overall saga, but doing so likely wouldn’t hurt.
Scripted by Ian Edginton, this Stickleback episode contains three separate plot threads: antagonists preparing for a changing London, Stickleback throwing verbal jabs while evading physical ones from a Mr. Punch, and a horrific end scene. “Opera” is poised to be the more complex horror adventure compared to “Block Judge’s” police procedural.
Kingdom: Aux Drift
“Drift” has the least demanding plot, but is high on action. Gene the Hackman, a dog-soldier created by humans to serve as humankind’s protector from “Them,” is in some vaguely Outbacky Auxtrailia encountering some saucy Auxies. Previously in his search for his masters, Gene joins the ragtag Wild Bunch.
Who are “Them?” Mutant insects. The idea of a dog-man duking it out against freaky bugs will either put a smile on your face or have you going straight to the back cover. Thank or disregard writer Dan Abnett — he helped reboot Guardians of the Galaxy, y’know — artist Richard Elson and colourist Abilgal Ryder. For now, I choose to thank them.
Also, the middle section is a retrospective of the extras included in every hundredth Prog. I also noticed that print copies cost roughly 4 U.S. dollars. Now that 2000 AD costs 2.45, do British comic book fans debate/whinge about the rising cost of comics like their American counterparts? I’m amused to think that comic fanboys bristle at buying comics at the not-so-magical 2.50 price point.
That thought out of the way, thanks to Rebellion for the review copy. (With U.S. publishers recently adopting DRM-free downloadable comics, when will Tharg, or his terran minion Matt Smith, get his due?)
Preview 2000 AD Prog 1900
Click on each page for larger size. Please don’t hotlink.