Trying to encapsulate 40 years worth of 2000 AD strips into one book to reflect what is an astonishing history is an impossible task, but Rebellion have chosen to take a route with 2000 AD’s Greatest-Celebrating 40 Years of Thrill-Power to let creators choose their favourite strips of the last 40 years. This results in an eclectic mix, with the odd mix of newer and older strips – with some even dating back to the early days of 2000 AD and reminding us how they pushed comics in a way that hadn’t been done before in the UK.
From the early Kevin O’Neill strip “Tharg” and the Intruder to more recent strips like the gloriously funny “The Heart is a Lonely Klegg Hunter,” there’s a good cross section of what makes 2000 AD what it is. For me, the early strips show the energy, as well as how few fucks people like Pat Mills gave when creating 2000 AD – and it’s Mills and O’Neill’s unveiling of Nemesis story, “The Sword Sinister,” that shows how much they were willing to subvert – and even break – traditional ideas of the adventure strip.
Later stories such as the superb “Meat” dig behind the worlds 2000 AD created and in the case of “Meat,” it provides a blunt dissection of how grimly dystopian the world of Judge Dredd would be, and this volume does have a lot of Judge Dredd on display – which weighs the book heavily towards being less of a ‘best of 2000 AD’ and more of a ‘best of Judge Dredd’. With that in mind this is a creator’s choice, and if I were pushed for my favourite strip, it’d probably be a Dredd strip – but I do wish there’d been a little more diversity in showing the range of strips published over the last 40 years.
2000 AD’s Greatest-Celebrating 40 Years of Thrill-Power is a nice, if flawed, celebration of a comic many of us wouldn’t even have dreamed of still being around when we grabbed that first issue’s Space Spinner in 1977. If you’re unfamiliar with 2000 AD, this probably isn’t a good introduction. But if you’re a fan, especially a Judge Dredd one – or a fan of creators like Pat Mills, John Wagner, Carlos Esquerra and Brian Bolland – then this is a nice volume to add to the shelf.