2000 AD The Ultimate Collection : Revisited


Review by Luke Williams

Al's Baby

Since we last visited the 2000 AD : The Ultimate Collection, it’s grown a bit. Not just in issues released, but in how many there are planned to be released.

According to my dictionary “Ultimate” means:

  1. Final in a series or process
  2. Highest supreme or unchallengeable
  3. Fundamental or essential
  4. Most extreme,
  5. Final or total
  6. The best example of

The series is now scheduled to run a colossal 180 issues. It’s clearly been a success for Tharg with it being extended at least twice. Reprints are a significant part of Rebellion’s business model, so their enthusiasm in extending this series is understandable. However, dig a little deeper and examine the content you begin to wonder what definition of “Ultimate” 2000 AD is relying on. Notwithstanding personal taste, the initial run was of high quality, but since then and with notable exceptions admittedly, quality has slipped a bit.


The run has now included extensive (though mercifully sticking mainly with the slow paced but high quality Gibbons/Simpson reboot) runs of the “Friday” version of “Rogue Trooper”, “Mean Arena” never a classic, “Blackhawk” and seemingly endless “Sinister Dexter” volumes add padding. More mystifying choices include the reboot misfires of “Strontium Dogs” and “Samantha Slade : Robohunter”. More recent fare like “The Returners” and “Blunt”, though not bad are not classics. That’s not to say there hasn’t been some memorable content in the Prog’ over the last ten years, and “The Out”, “Brink” (which does feature in the collection) are examples of latter day classics that have appeared and more worthy of inclusion than the final, tired, but spectacular looking “ABC Warriors” strips, reprints of the “Dredd” continuation strips of the 2012 movie, scheduled for issue 144 and “Mean Team” scheduled for issue 142.

ABC Warriors

There are notable exceptions – take volume 120/issue 133 – it’s a lovely package. Four one off series :  Edginton and D’Israeli’s classic horror murder mystery “Leviathan” (including its short series of one offs), Spurrier and Smudge’s  “Chiaroscuro”, Rennie & Irving’s “Necronauts” and Edginton and  Collins’ “American Gothic”. Collected into one package for £9.99 it represents great value for money, despite featuring none of 2000 AD’s most well known characters it is representative of the best of the Progs over the past 20 years and what it can offer.


You can also cite Volume 101 / issue 82’s “Leatherjack” / “Firekind” John Smith & Paul Marshall combo, or 121 / 133’s “Cradlegrave” / “Stone Island” / “Love Like Blood” compilation. In the future, aside from the aforementioned “Brink” which IS one of the best series in the history of 2000 AD, Wagner & Ezquerra’s “Al’s Baby” has also been scheduled. Elephants in the room include “Summer Magic / Journal of Luke Kirby”, “Zenith” (likely due to rights disputes), and notable creator owned (at least originally) work such as “Button Man” and “Scarlet Traces”.


Like the Judge Dredd : Mega Collection before it, the Ultimate Collection has gone for quantity rather than quality. That’s not to say that it doesn’t include fantastic work, the format is lovely, the back matter is always worth a read, although production control has occasionally gone awry.  But it is padded, filler abounds. It’s too late now, but it didn’t need to be as big and needed filleting. It was never meant to be a means for casual readers to get into the Prog’; the excellent and recently released Best of 2000 AD is better at serving the unenlightened, but as far as the Ultimate Collection is concerned, at most it’s name matches two of the dictionary definitions.

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