Wednesday 29 January 2020

Incoming! 2000AD Preview Special - Best of 2000AD

The Galaxy's Greatest Comic has been in existence for over 40 years, bringing weekly Thrill Power to the masses via its eclectic and edgy mix of science fiction, fantasy, alternate reality, comedy and drama. Many of us have been reading the progs since our teen years, others drop in and out, a childhood favourite re-discovered, but what of the uninitiated? What's the best way for a completely new-to-2000AD reader to approach this comics monolith? How about a totally new Best Of monthly featuring top stories from the vast back catalogue of said monolith? Fortunately the good people at Rebellion have come up with such a book, and they have been kind enough to send us a copy! Have they struck gold, or just dug up a few old fossils? Let's dig in and have a look...

Each edition of this 12 issue run will involve a headline self-contained Judge Dredd tale (naturally) plus a selection of stand-out stories from the top strips of the past and present. Issue 1 kicks of in style with the Dredd thriller Terror, which takes up fully half of the comic! Written by Dredd creator John Wagner, with art by Colin MacNeil, this is a tale of love and terrorism in Mega City One as Judge Dredd hunts down a bombing suspect and a Total War terrorist cell. With political comment, extreme violence, and a tense detective storyline it's hard to find a better starting point for the future lawman. This story touches that dividing line between the comics world and the grittier, more realistic view of the Dredd movie for a gripping read. The lush Colin Mac artwork makes it feel like the America story (soon to be released as a graphic novel) from the JD Megazine, which can never be a bad thing!

From the classic 2000AD back catalogue we have a newly coloured version of the opening chapters to Alan Moore and Ian Gibson's all-time great The Ballad of Halo Jones. Widely recognised as one of the best 2000AD series ever, it follows a working class girl caught up in extraordinary adventures, as her dreams of escaping her boring life materialise in encounters beyond her wildest imagination. The first three parts are included in this issue, giving you an insight into Halo's home life and why she wants away from it... If this is an ongoing part of the monthly you are in for a treat!

There are two current era strips in this inaugural comic, and as far as I'm concerned the editors have picked exactly the right ones! If you have read any of these reviews previously you will know that I am a huge fan of Dan Abnett and INJ Culbard's Brink, and Gordon Rennie and Simon Coleby's Jaegir, so to get the first episode of each in one comic will get my recommendation every day! For the uninitiated, Brink is a sci-fi drama/thriller where the last vestiges of humanity live on habitat stations, and follows security detectives Kurtiss and Brinkmann as they investigate criminal gangs, corporate corruption, and potential cultist activity... Jaegir is a spin-off from the classic Rogue Trooper series, but rather than following the Southern army it delves into the details of the Norts, Rogue's enemies on Nu Earth, specifically a special forces troop led by Atalia Jaegir.

The book is rounded off with a one-shot Tharg's Alien Invasions, specifically "Mr. Meat Bingo's Zombie Umbrella"... Just know that it's art and script by Henry Flint. 'Nuff Said.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this gem of a comic is the size. 100 pages, perfect-bound, U.S. format. Obviously this is aimed primarily at our colonial cousins, but the size means that it may also be stocked in U.K. comic shops! The complaint with the regular prog is that the shelves in comic shops are designed for the U.S. format (I have tried to buy from various dedicated comic shops over the years, all to no avail...) so they don't stock them. Having also failed to find the IDW Dredd and Anderson comics in anything resembling normal availability, I am slightly sceptical... But we have to have hope that this is the step that finally starts to drag new readers in to the Galaxy's Greatest! Certainly the quality is there, this is an excellent example of what 2000AD (and indeed UK comics in general) have to offer. I heartily recommend it, go out and find a copy as soon as it is available!

If you can...

Issue #1 of Best of 2000AD is on sale from 29th April. There will also be an Issue #0 available for Free Comic Book Day on 2nd May.

By day, David Mustill is a Human Workhorse for a chemical company. Naturally, every possible moment away from this existence is spent gaming and painting miniatures.

A steady diet of rock, metal, punk, comics, gaming, miniatures and genre movies has moulded David into a renaissance geek, for whom no gaming company or genre is too obscure, and no graphic novel is unreadable.

He is currently the Chairman of Milton Hundred Wargames Club, which affords him the privilege of running the Broadside Games Show. He will not let you down. Unless you're after selfies. He is rubbish at selfies...

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