Overview

2000AD #1771

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2000AD #1771

Credits

  • Words: Various
  • Art: Various
  • Publisher: Rebellion
  • Price: £2.60
  • Release Date: Feb 22, 2012

The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic celebrates its latest milestone with a 56-page special issue and some rather unexpected surprises for long-time readers…

It has been 35 years this week since 2000AD first burst onto newsagents’ shelves in Britain, and three and a half decades later, with the year 2000 itself a distant memory, it’s still going. Issue (sorry, “Prog”, short for “programme”; a much more futuristic term from the P.O.V. of 1977) #1771 is the anniversary issue, and it’s marked by a choice of two variant covers, one by Chris Weston (featuring a plethora of 2000AD stars past and present) and one by veteran Mike McMahon (featuring alien editor Tharg and his Droids). But do the contents live up to the cover? Well, let’s see…

All in all, this isn’t a bad issue by any means; big name regulars Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog and Nikolai Dante are in attendance as you’d expect, as are the less well-known Grey Area and Absalom, but most of the mag’s other famous faces are conspicuous by their absence. There’s no Slaine, no Savage, no ABC Warriors or Sinister-Dexter.  The obvious thing would have been to take advantage of the hype surrounding the anniversary to make this issue a jumping-on point for new readers, but Dredd is part 7 of a continuing story, as is Absalom, and Dante is part 9 of another, as is Strontium Dog. Only Grey Area kicks off a new continuing story. There’s nothing wrong with any of these storylines in themselves; I’m just a little surprised there wasn’t some attempt made to use it as a launching point for some more new stories to draw in the curious newbie or lapsed reader.

On the other hand, there are those surprises I mentioned earlier, in the shape of a couple of Marvel-style “What If...?” stories; “What If Gunnar Survived the Quartz Zone Massacre?” by Andy Diggle and Colin Wilson, an alternative take on classic thrill Rogue Trooper which paints a bleak picture of an alternate reality in which Rogue and his Biochip buddy Gunnar change places, and “What If the Visible Man Returned to Earth?”  by 2000AD’s spiritual father Pat Mills and artist Henry Flint, effectively a sequel to a now nearly forgotten story which was originally bumped from 20000AD’s opening line-up back in 1977 and eventually saw print some months later. Both of these tales are very much in the spirit of "old school” 2000AD, though predictably, Mills and Flint’s is the better of the two in my opinion.

This issue also sees the return of another old 2000AD staple, the “Star Scan”, a pull-out poster of Judge Dredd by Jake Lynch.  Unlike in the early days, this is a centrefold poster rather than a back cover one, but in deference to years of tradition, you can’t remove it without ruining the comic. Luckily, the publishers have included a free giant fold-out poster of the Weston cover as an alternative decoration for your bedroom wall!

On the whole, something of a missed opportunity in one way, one feels, but still a solid read which demonstrates pretty well why 2000AD has lasted so long by continuing to always look forwards, and rarely back.

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Comments

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Feb 25, 2012 at 1:44pm

    Very good point Tony. That was my feeling too. Some nice surprises for older readers but it was a lost opportunity to pull in people who weren't already reading 2000AD. Still, Happy Birthday Tharg and thanks for 35 years of thrill-power!

  • Tony Ingram

    Tony Ingram Feb 26, 2012 at 8:19am

    Tharg says: Splundig Vur Thrigg, Earthlet Oliver !

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