2000AD Prog 1825 – Zombo’s back and he’s hilarious

2000AD-1825

He’s a monster controlled by a device in his pants! What’s not to like?

The weekly arrival of 2000AD has been something to get excited about this year. The pace has been building from Prog 2013 at the end of last year and it hasn’t let up since. Although last week’s issue was set up as a jumping-on point for new readers, the fact that we are still in the early stages of each new story (plus one story beginning this week) means newcomers still have a chance to pick up an issue and enjoy it; which is something that often does not happen in anthologies.

I’ve said before that when it comes to tight writing and decent action, Michael Carroll on Dredd is a good choice and it remains true this week. The action is fast paced, the dialogue is tight and the story as a whole runs along nicely. It’s very enjoyable, right until you reach the final page. That’s when you’ll be wondering what happened to the middle of the story.

We’ve seen this problem with Carroll on Dredd before. There always seems to be something missing from his scripts, and it’s a middle act. You simply can’t go from opening to denouement via an action sequence and expect the audience to not realise you missed some plot twists out. The final page of this story simply does not fit with the rest of what we have seen without an entire episode of plot being added in. It’s a huge problem that turns an excellent story into a disaster in my eyes.

Tharg, please, please, please give Carroll more space to run stories like this in, he really needs the extra room.

This week’s Dandridge continues the daft-yet-swashbuckling adventure theme with a drunk Dandridge attempting to fly a marble dolphin to safety while being chased by flying brass men. If that doesn’t make sense to you, that’s okay. It clearly doesn’t make sense to most people in the comic, either. Alcohol and mystical forces clearly do not mix.

I’m interested to see where this story is going but it does feel like the weakest title in the anthology right now. Visually it’s top notch but script wise, it needs a bit more meat to it. Hopefully after a silly, early Dante style opening we can get some actual story running from here on in. The later portion of the episode suggests this is going to be the case, so that’s something to look forward to.

Last time, I expressed concern over the fact that this Tharg’s 3rillers tale had only 10 pages left to wrap up what could well have been a long-running story. It seems I was premature in my assessment of where the story was going. Now it’s clear that this isn’t so much an examination of an interesting premise as it is a relatively straightforward comedy in a sci-fi setting. In this new light, the story is no less impressive.

We’ve got some excellent comedy here and the premise means we could well end up coming back to this particular joke well several times in the future – I would certainly not be adverse to seeing that happen. The jokes are partly laughing at modern nerd culture, in the same way that something like The Big Bang Theory laughs at nerd culture, but there’s definitely a knowing wink here, too. The writers aren’t just laughing at nerds, they are clearly nerds in their own right; and that’s part of the meta-joke, if you will.

It’s a fun ride and I’m eager to find out just what’s going on with that “dark lord”. As with the previous episode, the artwork is excellent and the slightly cartoon style really fits with the mood.

Stickleback: Number of The Beast continues to impress with its sharp visuals but the plot is a little slower than I would have preferred this week. There’s a lot of exposition to go through as Stickleback himself is brought up-to-date with the world as it has changed around him, but it would have been nice if this could have been incorporated into something more than a session of talking heads.

Still, what we are presented with is decent writing and some great art, so it’s not terrible, just not the set-up I had been lead to expect from last week’s episode. Let’s hope it picks up the pace from here on in.

When it comes to new characters in 2000AD, few have the same impact as Zombo. He’s one of those rare additions to an already packed roster that finds a niche right away. So it’s great to see him back on the cover, and tearing it up on the pages of the comic.

This week’s entry features the same insane humour as we’ve come to expect from Al Ewing. It’s laughs a plenty right from the start, and I mean that in the literal sense. I was laughing out loud from page one. Ewing’s amazing script is accompanied by some brilliant work from Henry Flint, who provides a wonderful sense of action to the pages, along with some delightful hideousness in many characters’ appearances.

2000AD Prog 1825 has something for everyone and continues a brilliant run of stories. Zombo on its own is worth the cover price, but when it’s backed up by some of the best writing and art working in comics right now, there really is no better time to give the self-styled “Galaxy’s Greatest Comic” a try.

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