Forty years! Man, where did the time go? Between the various Star Wars movies, the different Batman interpretations, Knight Rider, Airwolf, a variety of Star Trek shows and more DC and Marvel reboots than I can count, lies the one constant in the comic universe; 2000 A.D.
During that time, Tharg has secured the best of British talent including, John Wagner, Alan Grant, Grant Morrison, Pat Mills, Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons and Peter Milligan to name just a few; a few that went on to build worlds across the pond. What better way to celebrate this quintessential mainstay of British comics, than to give the fans the characters and creators that made the book great to start with. As such, we have a Judge Dredd by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, Nemesis by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neil, Rogue Trooper by T.M.O and Richard Elson, Anderson, Psi-Division by Alan Grant and David Roach, Sinister Dexter by Dan Abnett and Mark Sexton and a new story called Counterfeit Girl by Peter Miligan and Rufus Dayglo.
Looking at the contents page, it is a pretty impressive roll call. I must be one of the few people who doesn’t knee-jerk love every Dredd story with Tales of the Dead Man being my personal favourite. Still there is a certain something, I am tempted to say charm, that appeals here, even though Dread is far from a charming character. Charms is certainly something that David Roach’s Anderson doesn’t lack. A perennial fan favourite, Anderson squares up once more against her arch-nemesis, Judge Death. The story is a little light in places but is still a fun read.
As with the regular book, there are stories that should appeal to a broad range of readers. I would have liked to have seen some comparison to how the book looked back in 1977 on show, just to see how far the book has come. Indeed, it could be argued that as the characters have become more mainstream, they may have lost their “frak the establishment” vibe which was such a strong cry back in the day, shown in the merry mosaic of comic books and punk music.
Whilst the cynic in me balks at the inclusion of so many fan pleasing character and tropes, if you can’t indulge yourself on your 40th birthday when can you? Just remember, it is said that life begins at 40!
The issue features the return of four classic 2000 AD strips, including Nemesis the Warlock by Pat Mills and Kevin O’Neill, and Rogue Trooper by Gordon Rennie and Richard Elson, along with a new story called Counterfeit Girl by Peter Milligan and Rufus Dayglo, plus additional contributions from luminaries like Brian Bolland and Mick McMahon.