I appreciate there is a debate about the 2000AD Regened series being included within the numbering run of weekly Progs but you can’t argue if the title introduces new readers to the Galaxy’s Greatest comic (as seems to be happening) and then gives a lift to the weekly itself.
I am partial to a Regened Prog. I find them palatable, albeit without enough dark humour and wit that early 2000AD excelled at. Then of course there is the other extreme with Prog 2184 causing it’s own controversy with a cover (produced months in advance) depicting extreme law and order surrounded by a burning US flag as protests escalated across America. Ironically if that had been a satirical cartoon in a national newspaper it would have not been out of place.
Revolution and Judge brutality is in the air in the Regened Prog as we return to the Mega City of Cadet Dredd which sets up a story arc for future issues. Finder & Keeper still seems like it should be in a Scream and Misty special with a young modern take on Ghostbusters meets Sapphire and Steel. Cavan Scott and Paul Davidson bring us an enjoyable Anderson tale with images that should haunt kids for a couple of nights. The Queen of Mean Future Shock by Laura Bailey and Andrea Mutti fits the tempo of a 2000AD story with a touch of David Walliams kids novel. The Regened special ends with a bumper Strontium Dog story by Michael Carroll and Nick Brokenshire. Whereas Cadet Dredd works I think you have to take a leap of faith to accept young Johnny Alpha stories. However it all adds to a satisfying and accessible package that anyone would be happy to share with their kids.
Then there is 2000AD Prog 2184. Now full disclosure I no longer religiously read 2000AD but have found myself reading the Megazine package more, particularly when they include retro strips from the Treasury of British Comics that I have never seen before. I have mentioned this before and I do always dip in to a Jump On Prog, This one didn’t seem to have the fanfare of previous Jump On issues but it makes sense to follow a Regened Prog if the youth title is encouraging new readers. The question is will there be enough content to make you stay. I always hope so.
Now because I don’t read the Prog religiously the revelation at the end of the Dredd story (I won’t spoil it) means absolutely nothing to me. There’s enough in there to make me consider the collection when it comes and as I get older I’m patient enough to wait for that. Not reading 2000AD also means you may miss nuances in all the storylines that hark back to previous episodes. 2000AD did this all the time when I read it week to week so having no knowledge of what has gone previously can take away the enjoyment. It’s the nature of the beast with over 43 years of history behind it.
I do enjoy Steve Yeowell art on Sinister Dexter (and generally, on the whole) but was never really into the characters from the start so no affinity there. That’s okay – people will have their favourites. The Order by Kek-W and art by John Burns speaks out to me as a story and perhaps would be the stand out strip to pull me back in to the 2000AD fold. It’s not quite enough alongside an average future shock and the stark (but strangely appealing) art style of Dom Reardon and Gordon Rennie story The Diaboliks. So 2000AD (above average) business as usual, a mixed bag but not a classic jump on Prog for me. I’m sure the day will come when it will really impress me again, as the recent Smash comic did. Indeed the Good Times A-Coming I’m sure!