2000AD, Prog 19192000AD, Prog 1919; Writers: Various; Artists: Various (cover by John Higgins); Rebellion, 2015

Writers: Various, Artists: Various

Happy 38th birthday, 2000AD!

That’s right: the galaxy’s greatest source of thrill-power has now entered its 38th year. At 52 weeks per year, plus biweekly Megazines from 1990 onwards…that’s a lot of comics. You may need to sit down for a moment to process it–I know I do.

While we’re doing that, I’m going to state at the outset that I still don’t know what’s going on in “Savage: Grinders” (writer: Pat Mills; artist: Patrick Goddard). Sorry, Pat Mills!

Now that we’re all rested, let’s jump right into the action with Part 9 of “Judge Dredd: Dark Justice” (writer: John Wagner; artist: Greg Staples). The best part of this is easily the print-worthy full page splash of Dredd battling Judge Fire, who I always feel has been sidelined in Dark Judges stories in favor of the flashier powers of Judge Death and Judge Mortis, who can decay any living being just by touching it. Judge Fire…well, he sets things on fire. This week, it’s finally his turn in the spotlight, and he does not waste it.

Next, we have Part Two of “Survival Geeks: Steampunk’d” (writers: Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby; artist: Neil Googe), which started last week. The art is surprisingly bright for a 2000AD joint: there’s a great deal of brown, but that’s perked up by vivid reds and blues and occasional white backgrounds. I’m not 100% sure about how the characters are supposed to be related to each other–e.g. Character A seems to know Character B, but Character B treats Character A like a total stranger, perhaps because of some kind of amnesia or because Character B only looks like someone known to Character A. Maybe this will become clearer as time goes on, or maybe it was already explained in a previous Survival Geeks run. The art and the dialogue are persistently fun, though, so I’ll be sticking with “Steampunk’d” for a little while.

Then it’s on to Part Two of “Tharg’s 3illers: Station to Station” (writer: Eddie Robson; artist; Darren Douglas), about a young Syrian immigrant woman who makes contact with an annihilating alien presence in the London Underground. While this isn’t exactly social critique as such, the story does provide some interesting commentary on the link between the ‘alienated, disconnected’ nature of contemporary British society and the proliferation of Islamophobia/racism/xenophobia and violence in that society.

Part Nine of “The Order” follows (writer: Kek-W; artist: John Burns), which takes a rather disturbing turn. It’s revealed that Ritterstahl–the robot knight–desires Anna sexually, giving John Burns the opportunity to portray her in a couple of tastefully nude poses. This seems pretty unnecessary, given that Ritterstahl has displayed no romantic or sexual intent towards Anna up to this point. What makes it worse is that Anna is the only woman in the group; everyone else is either an elderly man or a medieval robot, so their bodies don’t fall into the “socially permissible exposure” category. We do see Ritterstahl’s vision of what his human body could look like, but since it’s not really his body, it doesn’t count. At least the quality of the art is still great.

As ever, Annie Parkhouse and Ellie DeVille do a stellar job on lettering. Every bit of dialogue fits visually with its speaker and its story, and nothing looks out of place.

Barring a few missteps, Prog 1919 is a strong start to 2000AD‘s 38th year. May there be many more!