2000AD, PROG 2066

by Gavin Johnston on January 30, 2018

Writers:  Michael Carroll; Peter Milligan; Pat Mills; Ian Edginton
Artists:  Paul Davidson; Rufus Dayglo; Patrick Goddard; INJ Culbard; Clint Langley
Colourists:  Chris Blythe; Dominic Regan
Letterers:  Annie Parkhouse; Ellie De Ville
Publisher:  Rebellion

2000AD has been disappointing lately, with the same ground being covered again and again. Whereas sister publication the Judge Dredd Megazine has been breathing new life into old ideas with a flurry of inventiveness, the pages of 2000AD have reduced their thrillpower to minimal levels.


Dredd has been taken captive and forced to fish for angry eels in Judge Dredd: The Shroud. Whilst this week’s developments, in which the seriousness of the situation is made clear through random acts of violence, is important to the plot, on its own it remains of limited interest. The lives on the line are those of recently introduced red-shirted fellow captives and whilst the action is certainly presented in a solid way, it’s forgettable.


If Adrian Veidt taught us anything, its that you don’t explain your evil plan to the hero if there is the slightest chance they will ever be able to stop you. It’s obviously not a precaution that anyone is familiar with in the world of Savage: The Thousand Year Stare, as this week we get yet another monologue in which the bad guys explain their plan to Bill.

And their plan is awful. So awful, that it’s a little insulting that we’ve been dragged along so far just so we can be told yet again that evil capitalist rule the world. A secret technology that allows the user to slow down their perceptions, thereby giving scientists an unfeasible amount of time to come up with new inventions is both not how science works (since it ignores the need for experiments or the sharing of knowledge) but also entirely counterproductive if you want to prolong a war to make money out of selling technology to both sides, which in Bill’s world everyone in a uniform or a nice suit wants to do. It makes about as much sense as leading the hero directly into your secret base before trying to stop them, or lulling the hero into a false sense of security by trying to kill them with robots.


Bill Savage is the bore down that pub who tells everyone who’ll listen that a cabal of billionaires make all of the world’s important decisions, as if he’s the only one that’s ever noticed.


And ABC Warriors: Fallout exist for the same reason. This week's pairing of robots who are fighting for no real reason are Joe Pineapples and Ro-jaws. There’s some nice, if repetitive, panels of the assassin droid Joe, coupled with a lecture on how the sheeple are programmed to obey government and social media makes people stupid.


Many years ago, Bad Company was a self contained story about an endless war being fought by a platoon of mad men on an alien planet. It was a story about how war does terrible things to the human mind. It was filled with the idea of the loss of self. About how good people can be transformed into monsters, until the war becomes an eternal part of them. It was about loosing friends to conflict, and slowly loosing yourself.


Several times since, the characters of Bad Company have returned. Each time, the world has been re-written, with the soldiers lost along the way brought back to life without real explanation. The grief that was felt in the original story became a little more pointless each time.


In Bad Company: Terrorists, the platoon are back together again, looking for the man who started the war, fighting their way through remnants of their past. In this issue, they literally fight against ghosts of dead soldiers, and the hollowness of the whole experience is hammered home even further.


Thank goodness then for Brass Sun: Engine Summer, an epic adventure in the truest sense. To steal an idea from the 2000AD forums, Brass Sun is epic in scale and purpose, rather than just because it references ideas from thirty years ago. It’s a slow burn of a story, which will probably be best enjoyed in a single sitting rather than a few pages each week. This week sees a flurry of action, beautifully conveyed by INJ Culbard’s endearingly simple art.

Our Score:


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