2000AD PROG 2193 contains multitudes! Follow Judge Dredd as he battles the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, gasp as Tee defends against the Luxine Knights, hoot and holler as Solomon Ravne takes on the demonic Red Madonna, wonder as reality collapses in The Order and venture into the far unknown in The Out! Will you survive these tumultuous adventures? Find out in your next mighty Major Spoilers review!
Writers: Rob Williams, Alex De Campi, Gordon Rennie, Kek-W, Dan Abnett
Artist: Henry Flint, Eduardo Ocana, Antonio Fuso, John Burns, Mark Harrison
Colorist: Chris Blythe
Letterer: Annie Parkhouse, Simon Bowland, Jim Campbell
Editor: Tharg the Mighty!
Release Date: August 5th, 2020
Previously in 2000AD: Dredd has defeated Famine but must venture into the frozen wastes to exterminate Pestilence. Bounty Hunter Tee has captured the Luxine Prince Ifan, but her employers won’t pay, and now the Luxine Knights are all over her, Ravne and Simmons venture into the occult underbelly of Rome to face a demonic presence, while reality bends and fractures as Francis Bacon seeks to rule eternity, and out on the extreme margins of the galaxy, Cyd Phinlea seeks to catalogue the weirdness of reality…
2000AD PROG 2193 proves that you don’t need twenty four pages to tell a story. The ability to tell a punchy tale in 5-6 pages is on excellent display throughout this issue, never more so than the opening tale, which sees Judges Dredd and Anderson seek to take down one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It’s an excellent little horror tale, full of extreme moments, sacrifices, and a horrifying conclusion that reminds you that being a Judge means you’re prepared to sacrifice whoever is needed for the greater good.
With Dredd out of it for the majority of this episode, it is up to Anderson, the telekinetically powerful Judge to overcome Pestilence. Anderson has a way of persuading people, and so she convinces Patrick, one of the other survivors of the expedition, to sacrifice herself to contain and destroy Pestilence. Henry Flint’s art, and importantly, Chris Blythe’s coloring, demonstrate that the effects of Patrick’s sacrifice are utterly horrifying. This opener is the equivalent of a short, sharp horror story. And the ending…well, you’re just going to have to read it to believe it!
Part Nine of Full Tilt Boogie proves to be a pivotal moment in the overall story. The Luxine Knights have been held up as some sort of Camelot, but underneath the tales of heroism and virtue, lies something rotten. Luxine Prince Ifan is the sort of idiot you’d happily shove out an airlock, an entitled fool who would burn it all down to prove his worth. And so it goes as Gawain betrays Nix, rips the torc from her, and causes events to spiral out of control. Eduardo Ocana’s artwork is sparse but vibrant, and his use of closeups conveys the wide variety of character emotions and reactions. Alex De Campi continues opening up the story, revealing layers to his characters and the situation not evident in the opening part. Not everything is as it seems, and he handles those revelations very capably.
2000AD PROG 2193 next features The Diaboliks. If someone had told me that a story featuring the occult, occult detectives, the Mafia and Italy was in play, I’d’ve thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Couple all these heavenly ingredients with some wondrous black and white art, and this story is the highlight of the issue. Demonic battles in a deserted cemetery, mafia Godfathers gathered around the table to eat and celebrate, the murder of thirty four people in a single night, and the unexpected pleasure of discovering that, in this story at least, the Church has gained control of the organised crime gangs of Europe, all point to a story with vast ambitions. A little truncated, the story is blessed by that beautiful artwork I mentioned earlier, by Antonio Fuso. We might see the world in color, but secretly, we want it to be in noirish black and white. The image that lingers longest are the assembled heads of European criminality, congratulating themselves at their victory, while the Red Madonna watches knowingly on. Beautifully composed, it reeks of the abattoir, without a hint of the bloodletting to come.
Reality collapses as the Order struggle to defeat Francis Bacon’s plans to rule, in The Order, Part 10. Generally, this sort of tale isn’t my cup of tea. When reality is as malleable as it is here, what exactly is there to defend? However, the almost pompous writing of Kek-W (check Bacon’s begging tones to his lover that she actually loves him) and John Burns’ vibrant art saves The Order from being an utter mess. The battle scenes, as Antoine Berg guns down a host of automata are vibrant and full of movement, as is the revelation of Bacon’s hideous cybernetic augmentations. And any story that has the line ‘ turn all time and space into a smoking ruin’ is a winner in my book.
The final story in 2000AD PROG 2193 is another chapter in The out. Working as a photo-journalist for Global Neographic, Cyd Finlea has spent ten years travelling into the farthest depths of outer space, the so-called Out. Her next adventure sees her joining an aid party venturing into a war zone. Eight weeks of boredom ensue, which isn’t good when you’re the adventurous sort. Cyd forgets that war is indeed hell, and a chance encounter demonstrates that this particular war is very hellish. Again it is the artwork that is the highlight of this issue, as Mark Harrison pulls out all the stops to visualise alien beings, structures and war machines. Even amidst the death and mayhem, there’s a vibrancy to his art that brings the static images to life. The final image, a photo that Cyd takes before fleeing, demonstrates Harrison’s skills with pen and inks, and the extent of his horrifying imagination.
BOTTOM LINE: BITEY BUT NUTRITIOUS
2000AD PROG 2193 is full of the fun we’ve come to expect from Rebellion’s flagship title. While the stories in one sense are bite sized experiences, they are packed with incident and very good writing. From the staple tales of Dredd, there is a very wide variety of stories and genres in this issue, providing something for everyone.
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2000 AD Prog 2193
The tales of 2000AD PROG 2193 are violent, painful, frightening, but always entertaining. The UK talent on display is considerable, and is wide and deep to boot. From the outside, the weekly schedule can seem like something of a treadmill, but dig deeper and you will see that there is a lot of bang for your buck. 2000AD PROG 2193 is full of fantastic stories that will leave you hungering for more.