Friday 3 May 2019

Incoming! 2000AD Preview May '19

It's been a while since we delved into the farther reaches of the Galaxy's Greatest Comic and it's associated publications, (time is in such short supply these days!) but with Free Comic Book Day on the horizon, and a host of new goodies out there, it feels like the time is right to get stuck in again! So set those thrill-buffers to maximum, turn your dial up to 4 and let's get spammy with the upcoming releases in the Rebellion universe...

As usual our first stop is a round-up of the big two. 2000AD has been on a tidal wave of top form lately, with writers and artists at the top of their game! The last few weeks have seen the usual high quality of Dredd matched with Edgington and D'Isreali's Scarlet Traces (a War of the Worlds legacy story), a Max Normal origins tale featuring art by Dan Cornwell, and a high-fantasy-with-sci-fi epic called Kingmaker; This features wizards, Elves, Orcs, magic... and invading alien spaceships! I've not been the biggest fan of Leigh Gallagher's art previously, but his style really suits this story. The first story arc was striking and really caught my eye, and the current series is not disappointing! Long may it continue!

Next week's issue (prog 2130) is a little different however... A 48 page bumper special, the second of two "takeover issues" this month, aimed at an all-ages market! Following last year's rather good Free Comic Book Day comic, this is another attempt to grab the attention of younger readers and get them to pick up UK comics. The prog has generally aged with it's viewers, and is not afraid to deal with adult themes or uber-violence, even breaking that great censorship taboo: Swearing! Not sure if a one-off read-with-your-kids special will make a lot of difference if we're just going back to shooty-sweary-sexy comics the week after, but I think the sentiment is in the right area. Without the next generation coming through to take over, is there any future for comics? Make no mistake, however, this special is crammed with creative talent like any other prog! The ever-awesome Chris Weston on Cadet Dredd? Alec Worley and PJ Holden on Judge Anderson? A brand new ghost hunting story by Leah Moore and John Reppion? More please! Alex De Campi also presents an intriguing new series featuring an intergalactic jailbreak, there's a Future Shock featuring art by Brett Parson that tips a wink to the Bash Street Kids, and a positively Nickelodeon-style Rogue Trooper story bringing up the rear. Got to be worth checking out as a jumping on issue!

The other half of the headline books this month is Judge Dredd Megazine #408, where once again the top story is Lawless by Dan Abnett and Phil Winslade. Not to take anything away from the top billed Dredd story (part two of "The Crazy"), but any strip would have to play second fiddle to this epic series! No spoilers, but this series has given us a rollercoaster of emotions and shocks, with huge twists just when you're not expecting them. Lawless and Brink (in 2000AD) are almost certainly the two best comic strips in UK publications at the moment, Mr Abnett is absolutely on fire! Seriously, if you haven't read these stories seek out the graphic novels and start at the beginning, you will not be disappointed! The quality doesn't stop there, this issue also includes ongoing stories Storm Warning, again by Moore and Reppion, and Dark Judge madness in The Torture Garden by David Hine, featuring stunning art by Nick Percival. Rounding off the strips is a Tales From the Black Museum one-shot by the excellent Rory McConville with art from one of my current favourite artists Neil Googe, love those clean Manga-style lines! There are also interviews with Geoff Senior (Transformers, Deaths head, Dragons Claws) and relative newcomer (but no less talented artist) Abigail Bulmer. Bagged trade is a Starlord reprint "Mind Wars" from the pen of Alan Hebden, drawn by no lesser artists than Jesus Redondo and Ian Gibson! Another packed, high quality comic, and still ALL Dreddworld stories! Top drawer!

So back to the "takeover" comics, May 1st sees the release of the 2000AD Villains Takeover Special, with five stories featuring characters who normally take the role of adversary to the prog's heroes... Judge Death (Judge Dredd), Stix (Strontium Dog) and The Lord weird Slough Feg (Slaine) get their moment in the sun. Well the darkness. It's centre stage anyway. Also included are Brass and Bland, a pair of Nu-Earth Bodylooters (Rogue Trooper) and a Terror Tale called The Last of the Hellphibians. There's some great art and story work to be found here, and many of the creators are new names to the GGC (with the exception of Henry Flint, Rob Williams, Karl Stock, Matt Smith and Chris Weston... We are surely blessed!), my personal favourite being the Slough Feg art with it's Celtic style and a hint of Bellardinelli! Take a bow for that one Kyle Hotz!

All of this monstrous goodness comes in at a nice round-ish 99p, 99c for our colonial cousins, which is an absolute bargain! 2000AD's version of a horror comic hits the spot.

Lastly in this round-up we get to Free Comic Book Day itself, and this year's Rebellion offering is not from 2000AD but the Treasury of British Comics line, and what better way to keep up the younger readers theme than a selection from the Funny Pages? Taken from the pages of the likes of Cor! and Buster, this is a crazy blast from the past that will have the kids giggling and the adults on a nostalgia trip (I actually had some of the strips in this collection when I was a nipper!). Featuring the likes of Sweeney Toddler, Jaws parody "Gums", Frankie Stein, Disappearing Trix, Kid Kong and the classic Faceache, many of them Ken Reid and Leo Baxendale classics, this is a mini chuckle-fest which should appeal to everyone. An odd choice for FCBD, considering the 2000AD possibilties, but it's a good one nonetheless.

Get down to your local comic shop on May 4th (Star Wars day too. I know, right?!), buy yourself a slice of sequential art goodness and claim your freebies! Sounds like a win-win to me!

Still a great time to be a Dredd Head. Testify citizen!

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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