It’s that contentious time of year again, where Rebellion chuck out an issue of 2000AD that for, you know, the kids. Dredd’s still a cadet, Strontium Dog’s still a pup and Devlin Waugh’s demon possessed dildo is notably absent for some reason. There’s a solid section of online naysayers who hate these issues, and their frothing is always fun to read, but personally I tend to enjoy them, only annoyed that the publishers seem unable to schedule them when every story is at a natural end or break. Steve McManus would have sorted it out…
As usual, Cadet Dredd leads off the issue, and to prove that funny block names never go out of fashion, writer Liam Johnson gives us a fight between McPartlin and Donnelly blocks (see what he did there?). The annual fistfight sees Cadets Joe and Rico Dredd getting into trouble with Justice Deoartment, and the whole thing is lifted by Jake Lynch’s usual gritty, energetic art. It’s decent tale that actually shows that Rico never really respected the law as much as his brother, but the bit with the bucket (you’ll see) really took me ages to work out what was happening. Let’s just say voice over captions are sorely needed.
Next up is a word search that someone genius decided is what 2000AD reading kids really want these days, followed by Colin Harvey’s Future Shock, the puntastically titled ‘Space Expectations’. Yes, you may groan. Expectation is the name of a robot who’s spent fifty years searching Io for, well, anything, and after fifty years the actual expectation of him finding anything have dimmed somewhat. What follows is a well worn path of why humans are awful, but it’s decently told, not dragged out and has nice art from Tom Newell.
Anderson: Psi Division follows, and we get a story where Cassandra Anderson looks pretty much like she always has, as in the regular prog she never seems to age anyway (that was Hershey’s job, apparently). Cavan Scott sticks her in space for a change (following up the story in prog 2206), as and cadet Psi Judge Hawkins fart about with nasty aliens. Paul Davidson does a nice art job on a script that works well and would have been perfectly at home in the regular mag. Definitely a highlight, it makes good use of both judges’ abilities with a satisfying conclusion.
The undisputed highlight of the last ReGened prog was Pandora Perfect, a bonkers sci fi Mary Poppins as con artist sort of thing that was full of life and humour. She’s back again, with Roger Langridge again at the helm, ably illustrated by Brett Parson. This time, Pandora and her robot sidekick Gort try to steal a valuable stuffed Guffwarbler (latin name Sutephalacalidristicexhimanitpus) from an addled old rich dude. You know, as you do. Once again, the whole things a triumph, and I genuinely laughed out loud a couple of times. More, please.
Finally, we have the return of Department K, a squad of Justice Department peeps randomly blipping through alternate dimensions, following up the well regarded debut. Thing Sliders/Survival Geeks with judge boots and you’re half way there. It’s, well… it’s okay. PJ Holden is great as ever on art duties, but the script from Rory McConville just sort of wobbles along with no real sense of peril or excitement. It wraps up the story fine, but the whole thing is maybe a bit too derivative to make me want any more.
So there you have it, another ReGened prog to annoy the purists and entertain everyone else. Despite a few niggles it’s an incredibly solid effort from al concerned, with decent vibrant art throughout. Pandora Perfect and Anderson take the grand prizes, but the competition is solid. If you’re a lapsed reader of just fancy dipping your toe into the 2000AD world this is spot on. If, like me, you’re a cynical old reader of 44 years (Jovus, I’m old!) then it’s STILL spot on, as I thoroughly enjoyed it.