Judge Dredd: The Hard Way: Rob Williams, Arthur Wyatt, Jake Lynch
Scarlet Traces: Storm Front: Ian Edginton, D’Israeli
The Out Book II: Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison
The Diaboliks: Arrivederci Roma: Gordon Rennie, Antonio Fuso
Pandora Perfect: Mystery Moon: Roger Langridge, Brett Parson
Anderson, Psi-Div: Be Psi-ing You: Maura McHugh, Lee Carter
Future Shocks: The Guardian & The Godchild: Chris Weston
Release Date: 22nd September 2021
So here we are at another “ jumping on point” for the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic. This is something that I think becomes trickier and trickier to pull off in a publication that has been going as long as 2000 AD, and which has such a large number of ongoing titles.
Before we start, this isn’t a review of the issue in the traditional sense, but more a review of the viability of the Prog as a jumping on point for new/lapsed readers.
I started reading 2000 AD in the early ’80s and was an avid reader, ironically, up until the early 2000’s. Since then, I’ve picked the book up a few times but have never managed to get back into it the way I used to. I think at this is in no small part due to the jumping on points still being contingent on you having read previous arcs.
The latest arc of Judge Dredd brings us a thrilling tale of a plot to assassinate Judge Maitland. I actually really enjoyed this story, and there were a couple of really dark moments that I wasn’t expecting. I do think that this is a story that you can jump into without having read earlier storylines containing Judge Maitland, although if you haven’t read them you’re going to struggle with the concept of accountant judges and the rather odd decision to put a percentage sign on their shoulders…
Next up is The Diaboliks, which is a spin-off series from Caballistics Inc. In theory this should be right up my alley, with demons, an anti-Vatican, and the fact that I enjoyed the original series. This however, didn’t particularly thrill me. It has the feel of the old 2000 AD horror stories which is great, but this chapter really doesn’t give you enough information to understand what’s going on. Overall, this is a story that I would definitely pick up as a collected graphic novel, but not one that I’m too excited about reading in 5 page chunks.
Scarlet Traces has been an ongoing series for a long time now, and I will typically read anything that Ian Edginton and D’Israeli create. If you haven’t already read any of Scarlet Traces then you should know that the story starts with an adaptation of War of the Worlds and evolves from there, seeing mankind take to the stars to combat the Martian threat and to explore our solar system with new extraterrestrial allies. This latest chapter introduces us to a pioneering expedition to seek the inhabitants of Jupiter. It’s also one I’m definitely going to say requires knowledge of the previous arcs. At the very least, it should just inspire you to read the original series – an endeavour I’d highly recommend.
With Anderson Psi division you are most definitely going to want to have read the previous arc/chapters. By the end of this chapter I had a basic grasp of what was going on, but again there is a lot of this story that is completely contingent on you having read the previous arc.
Pandora Perfect is a story that you absolutely can jump straight into. Think Mary Poppins meets Tank Girl and you won’t go far wrong. This is a fun over the top heist story and one that again, if it were in a longer format I’d have this on my pull list without hesitation.
Another story that needs no prior knowledge is of course this issue’s Future Shock. I really enjoyed this short tale, which is a fun twist on a story I am already familiar with and culminates in a pun that is three pages in the telling.
The Out is an ongoing series that I haven’t had the pleasure of reading before, and hand on heart despite how much I enjoyed it, not having the first arc under my belt made it a bit confusing. Of all the titles within this Prog, this is the one that I will definitely try and catch up on. It’s a psychedelic intergalactic road trip that just has so much going on both narratively and visually that I found myself enjoying so much that I stopped caring about the fact that I had no idea what was going on.
Honestly, the major issue that I have with 2000 AD is how long it takes to complete a story. By and large, unless it’s something really good, I tend to have lost interest by the time we get to the end, and the list of unfinished stories dues to differences with the original creators is quite extensive. Having given up on the Prog format some time ago, waiting for collected editions has become an almost masochistic exercise in patience.
Personally I don’t think that I’ll ever return to the traditional 2000 AD format until we get a true jumping on point and a more reasonable and realistic timescale for actually completing stories.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK-CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek