It’s 2000AD Regened time again, something that divides reader loyalties like Judge Dredd turning pacifist but written by John Wagner. Whilst there’s plenty of online grumbling about the fact these things are included with subscribers fees, they reportedly do well, and so they continue.

My only beef with them up to this point has been the timing, as anyone with half a brain would at least TRY to schedule them the week before an issue with all new stories, so any sproglets who decide to give the big brother a go aren’t stuck with stories half way through their runs. I don’t believe this has happened yet, but live in hope.

At 52 pages cover to cover, the Regened progs are bigger and pricier than the weekly, and it’s refreshing that just five stories fill out the page count, with each given time to breathe. ‘Cadet Dredd’ returns as the staple of these issues, and Arthur Wyatt crafts an entertaining time passer as usual, with nice art from Davide Tinto. ‘Action Pact’ is a great name for a strip, and Mike Carroll teamed up with Luke Horsman for this foray into sci fi time travel confusion. It actually took me a couple of read throughs to work out what was going on, to be honest. We have soldiers plucked from certain death and forced to fight for the Fate Controllers, in the hope that one day they’ll be returned to their own time. Or something. I like it, though, and there’s a lot of creativity going on which can’t be bad.

After the comic strip abortion that was The Space Girls, it worried a few people that there was a new strip from David Baillie called ‘Viva Forever’. Along with artist Anna Morozova, Baillie introduces a new player in the Mega City One world of Dredd – master thief Viva Forever (not her real name). It’s a world where everyone has a six pack, though Morozova does a nice job throughout, and the plot is really well done with a neat if inevitable twist. This is certainly a character that would benefit from more stories. Next we get a future shock, ‘Geeno Firenzo’s Big Comeback’, from Karl Stock and Silvia Califano. It’s another warning about technology that will seem so familiar even though it’s brand new. The art is really nice, though, but maybe a little too nice for the script. Finally, it’s the return of Mike Caroll for another new creation set in the Rogue Trooper universe – ‘Mayflies’. Aided by the ever superb Simon Coleby on art, it tells of a Nort squadron intercepting a Souther clone ship containing fast growing clones who are still technically children. Through various events we end up with a troop of genetic soldiers not yet fully grown who each have their own speciality. Definitely one for the future, it’s a nice twist on an old formula.

I’m one of those adults that always find something to enjoy in these specials. The last one was excellent, and aside from a lacklustre Future Shock this one follows suit. Of the three new IPs, both Viva Forever and Mayflies show the most promise, and I hope to see more of them in the future. As usual, worth a read for old and new readers.

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