2000 AD Prog 2097 Featured Columns 

Multiver-City One: 2000 AD Prog 2097 – Psychos a Go-Go!

By , , , and | September 5th, 2018
Posted in Columns | % Comments

Welcome, Earthlets, to Multiver-City One, our “2000 AD” weekly review column! Every Wednesday we examine the latest offerings from Tharg and the droids over at Rebellion/2000 AD, the galaxy’s leading producers of Thrill-Power entertainment. Let’s get right to it!

Cover by Neil Googe


Judge Dredd: The Booth Conspiracy Part 3
Credits T.C. Eglington (script), Staz Johnson (art), Abigail Bulmer (colors), Annie Parkhouse (letters)

Greg Lincoln: Part three of ‘The Booth Conspiracy’ on the surface, at least, diffuses some of the tension built up thus far. There are no more hints of moles or double agents amidst the Judges or Mega-City. Though we do get a curiously confused and largely comedic “protest” being covered by the journalist Mo Malik as this chapter opens. The upshot of the protest chaos beyond possible proof of people getting stupider is the arrest of Malik by Dredd and his partner. This is all set up for the Justice Department to use the seemingly guilty newsman to deliver their own clever misinformation to the heart of the Boothers and their leader Linus. Seeing Dredd apply suspicious CCTV footage to incriminate as leverage against the opportunist reporter had a bit of a dirty feel to it. For at least a moment you wonder if in fact the footage was cobbled together to hook him as their stooge. He’s the perfect vector to introduce the idea of that ex-President Booth is in fact alive, the exact information that Linus would live to have. Eglinton also gives us a hint of the volatile nature of The Boother leader through his reaction to science foiling his plans for the Nightmare gun and his berating this new technical wizards. We get ample hints that his obsession with making the Judges look foolish will likely the Boothers ultimate Achilles heel.

Staz Johnson and Abigail Bulmer bring the various crowd scenes tom life in this chapter. It’s no small feat to create interesting extras in crowd scenes and they obviously put effort into the bit players in part three. The protesters on the opening page may be one offs and stereotypes of liberals or conservatives or just crotchety old men but the they time invested on them shows. The Boothers that Linus addresses though less interesting still show attention to details. There is good variety to the rabble arranged there to give the meeting some visual interest. Overall the real art win this chapter is the range of emotion the faces of Linus and in Dredd and his partner communicate. Bulmer and Johnson create faces, postures and panels that show menace and intimidation very well. Malik’s interrogation clearly allude back to the protestor in the opening that was calling for Judge brutality and it’s a relief that there was in fact none delivered.

Survival Geeks: Slack and Hash, Part Two
Credits: Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby (script) Neil Googe (art), Gary Caldwell (Colors) Ellie De Ville (letters)

Rowan Grover: We follow the core characters from last week, the slacker teens Simon and Rufus as they are initially on the run from a ‘slasher’ before figuring out how to fight back. It’s a silly look at these character stereotypes, and almost appropriately it takes them a fair bit of soul searching and confidence boosting to realise that they have the weaponry and bravado to be able to fight back against these interdimensional creepers. However, I feel the most interesting role of the issue goes to Sam. Rennie and Beeby actively acknowledge the stereotypical roles played by a certain looking character in a horror movie. The people Sam is with try to fit her into one of these roles, but simply from characteristic and behaviour, she bucks against it, proving herself to be an individual and interesting character.

Googe supplies some solid, cartoony art as always, drawing teenagers that actually look like teenagers and vibrant, interesting surroundings for them to frolic and interact with. The idea of having a safety dome inside an environment already painted to look like a super-safe suburban environment is perfect irony encapsulated subtly in the art. Similarly I love that Googe renders the cabin in the woods so well, having it match with the over-the-top cartoon nature of the comic, yet still manage to look isolated and creepy. Caldwell provides bold, candy-like coloring like last time, keeping everything in tone and playing it relatively safe. I will say that I love the slightly berserk red tinge on Simon and Rufus in the very last panel. It evokes a lot of Evil Dead by showing two crazed yet somehow loveable hooligans in the midst of a monstrous setting.

Continued below

“Survival Geeks” remains to be pretty by the book in terms of content. I love that it uses characters to subvert genre expectations, though I do wish the art would take more risks and create something that feels truly unique to this story rather than replicating old tropes.

The Order ‘The New World’ Part 11
Credits Kek-W (script) John Burns (art) Annie Parkhouse (letters)

Michael Mazzacane: The eleventh entry into the latest run of “The Order” really goes for it in a way that is admirable. But in going for it and doing a lot of things, this strip reads as spread thin with its various wants never achieving the kinda greatness that makes each individual thing a solid conceit for a strip.

We start things off with the final moments between Berg jr. and his mother. Page turn into the present and she, or at least the entity that now wears her skin and memories as Berg jr. son wears clothes, is doing some classic villain monologuing. The monologue is an overall effective moment, filling readers in on the differences between wyrmkind and shadowyrm, but how Burns renders it gives it extra meaning. The being inside Berg jr. Mom is absolutely estatic at having a body, “blessed physicality.” Burns really captures that with how he poses her with these arch movements and the idea that they are constantly touching themselves and reaffirming their corporeal nature – much in the same way the Harry Potter films handled the resurrection of Voldemore.

Berg jr., per usual, doesn’t really care about the lore. He is a simple wyrm man with simple goals: to kill her! Burns draws this revelatory panel with such flatness as he reveals his wyrmface, it’s as if his body melded together into one single layer. That is an effect aided by the similar colors between the blue-green background and sickly yellow-green tone his person takes on.

Things take a rather violent turn afterwards. The storytelling during these action beats isn’t bad, but doesn’t really stand out either. Their fight feels truncated as the strip runs into the 5 page cap. Which makes the mortal wounding of Danial Calhoun feel less impactful. It is a slightly repetitive plot move, but they don’t seem to have a spare robot around to put his consciousness into.

‘The New World’ Part 11 feels like it could’ve been two, maybe three, strips individually instead of this one. The pace “2000 A.D.” moves at is interesting but not always effective.

Mechastophales: True Faith, Part 6
Credits: Gordon Rennie & Lawrence Rennie (script), Karl Richardson (art), Simon Bowland (letters)

Kent Falkenberg: Threads that have been winding they’re way through the streets and dungeons of Benedictia are pulled taut into the devilish knot that is ‘True Faith, Part 6.’ And while Mechastophales is largely absent again this week, Gordon Rennie, Lawrence Rennie and Karl Richardson go a long way to re-lighting a sinister glow in his mechanical heart.

The Rennies’ scripting has continuously invoked arcane and diabolical mysticism that borders so close to the ridiculous. Enough cannot be said for Karl Richardson’s smooth and detailed line work that keeps everything grounded. There’s a clarity to the way he frames the action that lends an immediacy to what transpires. On the other hand , there’s an ornate grandeur in his character design of Mechastophales and the nefarious power-mongers of Bendicitia.

‘True Faith, Part 6′ is another chapter that tones down the bombast with which the Rennies’ and Richardson rung in the series. But in trading out the spectacle, they’ve built a more suspenseful tale with hints at an even deeper mythology.

Grey Area: Every Dirty Job
Credits: Dan Abnett (script), Mark Harrison (art), Ellie De Ville (letters)

Tom Shapira: We’re seem to be back to the political front with a short spotlight on anti-alien politician, who we haven’t seen since (I believe) the first strip in the serial. Good, this is possibly the most interesting element in “Grey Area” right now, even if it is delivered with all the subtlety of a brick to face (forwardness has always been part of the charm of 2000AD. The problem is that after that bit we are back on the old treadmill with Bulliet talking about investigating the supposed deaths of his teammates while the powers that be plot around him. The serial is just treading water at this point – we’ve been here before and it feels like we’ll be here again.

Mark Harrison’s art works a bit better on the small personal scenes between Bulliet and Birdy, though it lacks some necessary softness that would make their interaction feel truly intimate, but everything else rather falls flat. The scene in the office between Birdy and Hallard, though an interesting character development, jumps about so much that I had hard time reading it; and it’s just two characters sitting in an office and taking. I understand the need to keep a conversation scene alive by moving the angles a bit, but Harrison’s art seems to move about haphazardly, creating not tension but confusion. This strip could, and should, be better.

//TAGS | Multiver-City One

Rowan Grover

Rowan is from Sydney, Australia! Rowan writes about comics and reads the heck out of them, too. Talk to them on Twitter at @rowan_grover. You might just spur an insightful rant on what they're currently reading, but most likely, you'll just be interrupting a heated and intimate eating session.


Michael Mazzacane

Your Friendly Neighborhood Media & Cultural Studies-Man Twitter


Kent Falkenberg

By day, a mild mannered technical writer in Canada. By night, a milder-mannered husband and father of two. By later that night, asleep - because all that's exhausting - dreaming of a comic stack I should have read and the hockey game I shouldn't have watched.


Greg Lincoln


Tom Shapira

Writes for Multiversity, Sequart and Alilon. Author - "Curing the Postmodern Blues." Israel's number 1 comics critic. Number 347 globally. he / him.


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