Script and art: Various
Release Date: 28th September 2016
One more time.
PROG. TWO. THOUSAND.
If this was any other comic, just the very action of reaching its two thousandth edition would be impressive, but the fact that, on the whole, 2000AD has cranked out arguably the greatest hit rate in the history of the medium is nothing short of remarkable.
Sure there’s been some off-moments and even some off years over the course of it, but the dark days are long in the past and this special edition rightly pays tribute to the Prog’s biggest hitters, both in terms of characters and creators.
A glorious wraparound cover from Glenn Fabry contains everyone from Halo Jones to Skizz and Ace Garp to Durham Red. The man can draw anything and make it shine, but this is a thing of beauty even for him.
The prog itself is just as satisfying and nostalgic. Using the device of Tharg addressing the readers, each strip is introduced by a one-page jam from some of the greatest art-droids from the past, cramming in as many references and cameos a possible.
Brian Bolland, Mike McMahon, Dave Gibbons; they’re all back and although some of their art has changed stylistically over the years, it’s awesome to have them home again.
The strips themselves are short and sweet. Nothing earth-shaking, but you wouldn’t want that here. This is a celebration and you want to come away smiling.
Wagner and Ezquerra’s Dredd pulls in Johnny Alpha, Middenface and an old face from the past (more than one face actually) for a fun little time travel romp, while Mills and O’Neill reunite for one last final, final Nemesis story. Again, it’s slight, but it’s Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill on Nemesis! You can’t really go wrong with that.
Alan Grant’s Anderson story sees her up against Judge Death in her dreams, beautifully illustrated by David Roach, Sinister Dexter make a welcome return as does the original and best Rogue Trooper.
In Jaegir, Gordon Rennie has Rogue feeling almost like a battlefield myth and it’s this concept he draws on here, with the GI more campfire tall tale than Nu Earth hero. It’s immense stuff and really makes you hanker for a new ongoing Rennie-penned Rogue Trooper.
It’s not all a nostalgia-fest though, because that’s never been what 2000AD’s been about. The first part of a new thrill, Peter Milligan and Rufus Dayglo’s Counterfeit Girl is an intriguing futuristic identity-theft thriller that makes an immediate impact and looks like becoming a must-read in the prog.
2000AD is one of those things that it’s easy to take for granted. It’s always there, no matter what. It’s never felt like it’s going anywhere though, like it’ll always be with us. Those early years, when every single strip was loaded with Bollands and McMahons, Mills and Moores and of course Wagners and Grants, rattling out more great ideas than seemed humanly possible, it was untouchable.
Even in the dark years of the ’90s, it still felt bulletproof, even if the then-custodians were doing their best to test just how resilient it was.
Don’t worry though. If there’s ever a nuclear war and humanity is exterminated in one fell swoop, Tharg will appear from under a rock with a new jumping on point for the latest prog and a whole load of insect earthlets ready to have their minds blown.
Until then, it’s still ours and it’s *still* The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic.
You really should be a regular reader because there’s so much good stuff in there these days, but even if you haven’t picked up a prog in decades, you don’t want to miss this one.
Here’s to the next 2000.
The Writer of this piece was: Jules Boyle
Jules tweets from @Captain_Howdy