This issue sees the launch of 2000AD's Summer Assault - all stories inside start afresh, in theory it's a good jumping-on point for new readers so I'm looking at this issue from that perspective. Taken as a whole, this issue fails to do what it says on the tin, as - of the four stories here - only two are immediately accessible. The only concession to history is made in a small text piece at the start of the issue.
A very nice Clint Langley wrap-around cover kicks off proceedings, featuring all the main characters from the stories here, but particularly highlighting the ABC Warriors (who have a double-sized episode this time around).
As ever the first story is Dredd - lawman of the future, even if you haven't read this you know who he is. Big Deal At Drekk City kicks off, by Wagner and Kennedy, and it seems a straightforward training assessment mission for rookie judges, until the Judges spot various wanted gangs converging on the World Poker Challenge at Drekk City ... outside of their jurisdiction (interesting discussion on whether Judges can enforce the law in this case), but can they just let the gangs go about their business? A good start, a good introduction too.
ABC Warriors is next, by Mills and Flint, and it's the first chapter of Book Two of the current storyline. Unfortunately there's not a lot of concession to what happened in book one, it's summed up in the phrase "mercenary robots ... have been hired to destroy [the ABC Warriors]" and it's not really clear why we should care about these characters or anything they do, having knowledge of their backstory is pretty much essential. Really cute little critter in the first three panels, though.
Strontium Dog: The Headly Foot Job comes next, by Wagner and Ezquerra, and you get right into the heart of the action from the off - the story and characters are introduced well, it's very reader-friendly, and a fun story too.
The issue is finished off with Caballistics, Inc. by Rennie and Reardon, and whilst it's been my favourite 2000AD strip for some time, it's terrible for new readers to pick up what is going on. This one cries out (even more than ABC Warriors) for a one-page what has gone before; I felt the need to reread the last few series of this to get up to speed, goodness knows what new readers will make of it, mired in its own continuity. I love the series, but it so needed to be accessible.
Overall, average for new readers. Add yourself a bullet if you're a long-time reader, but it's not as accessible as it needs to be, and so fails on the relaunch front.
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