I admit, I’m no longer a lifelong reader of 2000AD. I pick up the Megazine from time to time, reprints I like, the collections of strips that peak my interest and religiously read the jump on progs and specials. I recently loved the Villains Special and particularly enjoyed this all ages 2000AD.
Personally, I don’t think you need an ‘adult’ or ‘kids’ version of 2000AD. I’m not a big fan of seeing nudity or profanity in 2000AD and since the ’90’s when UK comics ‘grew up’ the use of violence in the title replaced imaginative ways of avoiding bloodshed through dark humour. So, as an adult, I enjoyed this anthology of stories aimed at ‘all ages’ – and didn’t think it too many!
Interestingly I think it’s because most of the stories were also self contained, so even if you didn’t like it you knew you didn’t have to suffer it in the next Prog! Early 2000AD was known for self contained stories, even for it’s central characters, although there may be an ongoing mystery underneath it all. Very much like episodic American TV shows. The Cursed Earth is a good example of that. The Apocalypse War perhaps opening the door to longer stories.
One wonders if we adults have become the thrill suckers, and it’s time for Tharg to click his fingers and wipe out all the previous 2000AD stories and move inter dimensionally to a complete reboot of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic. A true rebellion. The tone of this Prog suggests that may be the way to go, as the editorial team seem reluctant to launch a young 2000AD alongside the regular title. I’d probably buy it, die hard fans would buy it and younger readers can get on board to. We are, after all, the ‘Harry Potter’ generation of readers a nd can enjoy kids stories as adults.
So what of this Prog. Well, it kicks off with probably one of the best Dredd stories I’ve read in a long time. A good length of pages, fun story, great art and the formative years of Dredd can hold it’s own against any Dredd story in the regular Prog.
Full Tilt Boogie didn’t work for me. I lost the narrative, didn’t relate to the characters quickly enough and wasn’t sure where it was going at the end. That said, others will love it! For me, if it was the start of an all action movie script it would work well, but as a comic strip it fell short. Maybe I should re-read it…
A self contained Future Shock and Finder and Keeper have the right sense of classic situation, science fiction twist and horror for 2000AD one offs. I did feel both wouldn’t have been out of place in the Misty/Scream specials, but work here too.
I always enjoy a Judge Anderson story. With our general understanding of mental health improving in young and old and how technology is impacting on the way we live and think, Anderson stories could be an amazing avenue for fantastic stories. Like this issues Future Shock the underlying theme to this story we can relate to with a futuristic twist.
The title is rounded off with Rogue Trooper. War stories have been the comic strips in which you can legitimately show violence, for young and old, for years and years (okay, and football strips with the odd foul or two!). I can enjoy Rogue, his future war and his bickering bio chip buddies and I understand why they all remain firm reader favourites. For me his story was told and completed a long time ago. Self contained stories with an underlying mission. But great new readers can enjoy the character today and one to watch with a film not that far away.
So overall, a hit. Not as a 2000AD for younger readers but as a refreshing formula for us all. Flipping it on it’s head perhaps future specials should be for adults (and believe me, the kids will want to read those too!)