Here we go again, with another one of 2000AD's quarterly launches (well, ish), so it's time to evaluate the current state of Britain's leading comic.
We kick off, as ever, with that perennial favourite, old stoney chops, Judge Dredd by John Wagner and Phil Winslade (yes, that Phil Winslade). It's part two of a two part take on Homeland Security (and the new measures going through the UK Parliament), whereby innocent cit Dudly Dudson gets picked up by the judges and incarcerated, yet they can't tell him on what charge for reasons of city security. It's a thinly veiled attack on modern day politics in the UK and the US, and whilst it's a welcome attack, you almost feel there should be a section at the end of further reading for people to try to do something about it.
Savage, Book Two by Pat Mills and Charlie Adlard is possibly the best thing Mills has written recently - the UK has been taken over by Russian-equivalent Volgans, Bill Savage is one of the leaders of the resistance, and this story opens with him taking advantage of a different terrorist cell's attack to break out of prison. The evilness of the Volgans continues to be driven home, and there's a number of threads setup for the future - a good strip.
The third comic in the issue is Leatherjack, a SF tale of a library world under siege by two opposing forces - the Spinsters are a old granny controlled world who see sex in everything, they want to destroy all the books in the library because of their lewd references. The other warring party are the Khmer Noir (based somewhat tastelessly on the Khmer Rouge), the leader of which is old and dying, and wants one particular book which promises eternal youth yadda yadda yadda. The eponymous Leatherjack is his way of breaking into the well protected library world, and whilst this John Smith/Paul Marshall tale is quite interesting, it doesn't reach the heights of the other strips in the comic.
Rob Williams and Peter Doherty's Breathing Space has its first episode next, which opens in classic style with the ending of the story - a Judge finds out an unwelcome truth and then promptly (maybe) expires - which leaves us screaming for more...of course, Williams then flashes back to the start of the story and begins to build up to that scene (which will probably happen for us in six or seven progs' time). A great, moody, opening, the best strip in the issue - and the best for some time in the mag.
The issue closes with another episode of Alan Grant's Robo-Hunter with art by the fantastic Ian Gibson - Samantha Slade has inherited the mantle of Robo-Hunter from her grandfather of prior series in 2000AD - and also inherited all the problems he used to face...including a pair of incompetent robots assistants. Which she promptly dispatches undercover to the docks to investigate the robot drug trade: they decide the best way to do this is to approach a fuck-off huge robot and ask if he will sell them some drugs. Whoops. Robo-Hunter Mark I dragged its feet a little towards the end of its run all those years ago; this reinvention recaptures all the humour and interest from the early years and couples this with a sassy lead. Good stuff.
Overall - a massive improvement on recent months for 2000AD, let's hope this is the start of the magazine's renaissance.
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