2000AD, PROG 2101 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on October 03, 2018

Writers: Rob Williams; Dan Abnett; Ian Edginton; James Peaty
Artists: Henry Flint; INJ Culbard; Dave Taylor; Colin MacNeil; Richard Elson
Colourists: Chris Blythe; Dylan Teague; Abigail Bulmer
Letterers: Annie Parkhouse; Simon Bowland; Ellie De Ville
Publisher: Rebellion

It’s the first Prog after a jump on, when a whole bunch of new readers may have been added to the Squaxx ranks. It’s like a 2000AD Boxing Day: after the excitement of a bumper sized last week it’s time to settle down to a regular supply of thrills.


Dirty Frank has been arrested by the Chinese authorities and Dredd is reminded of his flaws in Judge Dredd: The Small House. It’s a quiet, well paced episode, where a conversation and a cup of tea are as captivating as any action sequence. This is a story full of tiny moments: of Dredd’s clenching fist, or Smiley handing him a loaded gun as a reminder of just how powerless Dredd is to stop him. In a single panel, Dredd’s overbearing frame is contrasted with a delicate word balloon that cuts the heart of any attempts to do the “right thing”. Without ever raising its voice or doing anything fancy, this is powerful writing. And just when it starts getting a bit too serious, an old friend returns to tip the comedy scales.


Investigator Bridget Kurtis is deep under cover in Brink: High Society. There’s a twisted conspiracy that goes to the very top of the Juno Corporation, and Kurtis has entered its strangely Victorian-era environment as a domestic servant. Life in the Brink is frequently strange, but here we’re introduced to another set of rules – one where the wealthy live in opulence and everyone else is expendable.

At first glance, INJ Culbard’s art is simplistic, with characters rendered in simple lines. But, just as in the story, there’s more beneath the surface. The otherworldly and artificial colouring is like living beneath strip lighting. The panel layout, where the shift between two very different worlds is reflected in vertical and horizontal panels, is masterful. And again, almost nothing happens...yet this manages to tell us so much about this world and the people in it.


The cold march into Russia continues in Fiends of the Eastern Front:1812. Constanta’s vampire troops have joined Napoleon’s army, and there are definite benefits to having the undead on your side...but how long will that loyalty last? Claustrophobic art in the dark forests of Eastern Europe gives way to detail packed action. Fiends is a grewat idea, transportable to just about any conflict in history. It’s building it’s characters slowly.


Skip Tracer: Legion sets out its stall in its second episode, as Nolan’s relationship with his brother is explored. Again, Skip Tracer is a nice, inoffensive science fiction tale, but doesn’t really do anything special.


Exciting cups of tea, Victoriana and the Napoleonic wars not exciting enough for you? Luckily, there’s a nice helping of Kingdom: Alpha And Omega to rounds things off. The pack's return to Earth is rudely interrupted and we’re straight into action, as a pack of wild Aux hunt down Gene, Pause and Leezee. Kingdom is clever, with interesting characters...but more often than not it’s just a big, glorious fight. Five pages of colourful action, as Gene finds himself outmatched


Our Score:


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