The idea of 2000 AD reaching the end of the 20th century was ridiculous to those of us weaned on the comic from an early age. The fact that it hits it’s 2000th Prog (never issue, Tharg would be upset using such earthly expressions) is nothing short of amazing, as several times over the decades since 1977, 2000 AD nearly breathed its last breath. But here we are celebrating Prog 2000, with a rather nice Glenn Fabry cover too I may add.
A good anniversary issue should have everything one expects, and indeed, Prog 2000 has a selection of the comics’ strongest and most popular characters from its storied history. Before the main strips commence, we are treated to wonderful one page introductions with art from 2000 AD stalwarts. This is good fun as the in-jokes (of which even an old hand like myself had to read twice to get) flow good and proper as these pages serve to introduce this Prog’s strips.
First up is John Wagner and Carlos Esquerra’s Judge Dredd in a very special one-off story which can be read outwith the regular continuity and it’s a joy. Wagner and Esquerra give us a fantastic anniversary story which feels like 1980’s 2000 AD – which is always a good thing…
Seeing Pat Mills and Kev O’Neill back on Nemesis the Warlock really does tweak the nostalgia glands in a strip that’d probably never got past the more religiously motivated censors back in the day. As for Gordon Rennie and Richard Ellison’s Rogue Trooper story, this reads more as an introduction for new readers as well as a soft reboot. It works, but compared to the triumphant nostalgia of the first two strips it doesn’t feel as strong.
Alan Grant and David Roach’s Judge Anderson strip looks beautiful thanks to Roach’s detailed fine art, which complements Grant’s script, and Sinister Dexter reminds us that all of 2000 AD’s classic characters didn’t dry up in the 1980’s. Pete Milligan and Rufus Dayglo’s Counterfeit Girl is a new strip full of Milligan’s quirky SF stylings and Dayglo’s sparky art. It is, however, still far too early to say whether this is a classic in the making.
Prog 2000 is everything you’d expect from a celebration of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic with the Judge Dredd and Nemesis strips being personal highlights and that’s the point of this Prog. It is a celebration of a comic that changed not just British comics, but also the American comic scene completely; so it’s only fitting that after 2000 Progs, 2000 AD gives itself a warm slap on it’s back as well as providing a wee bit of thrill power for old, and hopefully new readers.
UK & Digital: 28 September 2016 £3.99
North America: 28 October $7.99