After 49 issues under its belt, this week sees the final 2000 AD for 2020 with Prog 2212. As a long-standing tradition, this prog (that’s what they call their issues) is extra-sized, with 100 pages of comic book thrills. It’s also an excellent place to jump-on, as it’s full of one-off stories and the beginnings of brand-new ones that will continue into 2021.
It doesn’t matter if you’re brand-new to 2000 AD or haven’t read it for a while, this extra-large issue is a great place to start reading. Read on to find out why as we dive into all nine stories featured in Prog 2212.
Judge Dredd: Three Kings
Written by Ken Niemand. Art by PJ Holden. Colours by Quinton Winter. Lettered by Annie Parkhouse.
As is customary with every prog of 2000 AD is a Judge Dredd story. This is one of those stories where Dredd is featured in it, but he’s not the main focus. In this context, he’s actually the villain. Instead, we have Noam Chimsky, a super-intelligent ape, who was last featured in a story back in April.
This story follows Chimpsky and his eccentric buddies executing a heist with noble intentions. It moves at a break-neck pace and the twists and turns along the way are a lot of fun. Artist PJ Holden is the glue that holds it all together with page layouts that accentuate the speed of events.
Strontium Dog: Once Upon a Time in Der Vest
Written by Rob Williams. Art by Laurence Campbell. Coloured by Dylan Teague. Lettered by Jim Campbell.
This one-off Strontium Dog story, the first since co-creator Carlos Ezquerra’s death, is a good introduction. It’s another fast-paced story full of bounty hunting action. The team of Campbell and Teague have crafted a grimy world with western vibes with rough inks and deep reds.
If you’ve never read the much-loved series before, there’s nothing you really need to know going in. If you’re a fan of The Mandalorian, jump right in. I think it’ll be right up your alley.
Survival Geeks: A Quiet Night In
Written by Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby. Art by Neil Googe. Coloured by Gary Caldwell. Lettered by Jim Campbell.
Survival Geeks is a parody of nerd culture, in which a bunch of university students are accidentally thrown into a variety of weird and wonderful dimensions. A Quiet Night In is set a few years after the previous story and is more about getting to that age where life starts to slow down and less about wild adventures. If you’re in your late 20s or early 30s then you can probably relate to this.
This story isn’t the ideal jumping-on point, feeling more like a send-off to the series. Although, if you like the tone, there’s a trade paperback with some of the earlier tales.
Visions of Deadworld: A Girl’s Gotta Eat
Written by Kek-W. Art by Dave Kendall. Lettered by Annie Parkhouse.
Visions of Deadworld is a Judge Dredd spin-off that explores the nightmarish world of the Dark Judges. In this particular story, we follow a survivor who is trying to survive the horror.
What I liked about this story is how it reminded me of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “I, Borg“. Although, this interpretation of a hivemind villain disengaged from the swarm has a much more gory bend to it.
Proteus Vex: The Shadow Chancellor Part 1
Written by Mike Carroll. Art by Jake Lynch. Colours by Jim Boswell. Lettered by Simon Bowland.
Proteus Vex is the first of the multi-part stories on offer in Prog 2212. This chapter drops you into the comic’s world. At first, this can be a bit disorientating if you are not familiar with the series. But by the end, you start to pick up on the concepts, characters, and what has happened previously.
The biggest strength is the character designs. Working from a mix of designs by Proteus Vex co-creator Henry Flint and his own, Jake Lynch gives the comic a lot of life. There’s a weirdness to it, with strange aliens that each look different from one another. It makes for a feast for the eyes.
Sláine: Dragontamer Part 1
Written by Pat Mills. Art by Leonardo Manco. Lettered by Annie Parkhouse.
2000 AD is mostly known for science fiction, but will occasionally dip its toes into fantasy as well. Slaine is the best example of the genre in the long-running anthology, with Prog 2212 offering up a solid jumping-on point for the series.
This chapter begins to set-up the conflict of the story and gives readers a good sense of the series – even if not a whole lot happens. Most of it is taken up by Slaine’s battle against Trojan forces, which is very violent and bloody. It’s gory, with heads and body parts flying around the place, so definitely not for the squeamish.
Hershey: The Brutal Part 1
Written by Rob Williams. Art by Simon Fraser. Lettered by Simon Bowland.
Hershey is a Judge Dredd spin-off, which features ex-Chief Judge Hershey and Dirty Frank. In this new story, Dirty Frank has been roped into competing in cartel boxing matches to get safe passage into Banana City.
Even if you haven’t been following this series, you can still appreciate Simon Fraser’s art. The colours are bold, using warm oranges and yellows contrasted on blues. They help to paint a picture of the character’s emotion and their environment. Fraiser’s boxing action is great too, slicing up the page with diagonal panels, which direct the reader’s eyes around with the punches.
Time Twisters: Time Hygiene
Written by T.C. Eglington. Art by Warren Pleece. Lettered by Simon Bowland.
Time Twisters are one-off stories which are based around time travel. In Time Hygiene, readers follow a pair of agents from the Time Authority who fix anomalies.
It’s a fun story, which makes fun of the time travel tropes. Because the main characters are well-versed in the subject, there’s a self-awareness to it all and allows for it to go down a path of ridiculousness.
Durham Red: Served Cold Part 1
Written by Alec Worley. Art by Ben Willsher. Lettered by Jim Campbell.
To finish off this extra-large issue is the Strontium Dog spin-off Durham Red. In this tale, the vampiric mutant has been captured by the authorities and is waiting to be transported to a much more facility. Although, everything is not what it seems when someone comes to collect her.
Don’t stress if you’re not familiar with the title character. This opening chapter does a good job at introducing Durham Red to the uninitiated. By the end of this chapter, you’ll see that she’s a dangerous number and not one you want to cross.
If you’re looking to start reading 2000 AD then this extra-sized issue is a great place to start reading. Through these nine stories, it’s a showcase of what the anthology is all about and kicks off brand-new stories to enjoy into the new year. It’s just what you need of over the holiday break.
2000 AD Prog 2212 is available in newsagents, the 2000 AD Webshop (print/digital), 2000 AD app, eBay, and comic book stores in the UK from December 16th. Comic book stores outside the UK will be able to read it from January 6th.
Have your say!