The all-ages issues of 2000AD, the self-styled Galaxy’s Greatest Comic, have been a real highlight of the title’s schedule since the first issue back in 2019, with prog 2130 (though the first Regened material actually surfaced as a Free Comic Book Day special back in 2018.
Much like the regular title, the Regened issues lead with Dredd, though in the case of the all ages comic we’re on the streets with a much younger, more inexperienced character in the form of Cadet Dredd. The previous stories have all been really strong and a great way to lead into the strips on offer; in Prog 2220, we have a little glimpse at some competition between the street Cadet Judges and Tek Division. Though not the best or most fun of the Cadet Dredd stories so far, it’s a well written, fast-paced and complete story with a little sting in the final panel. Good stuff.
Far weaker, unfortunately, is the next story on offer – a tryout for a potential new series called ‘Action Pact’. Though the art isn’t bad per se, it feels a little busy and lacks clarity. With a script that relies a little too much on technobabble, before explaining the premise right at the end in an awkward infodump – and being too obviously a ‘pilot’ episode rather than a story that feels ‘one-and-done’ – this one feels like a bit of a misfire.
The Dreddverse is the backdrop for the next story – Viva Forever – but the setting is generally unimportant for the story of a master thief and her somewhat noble attempts to rebalance the scales in a system weighed against the poor and oppressed. It’s really good; of all the stories in this issue, it definitely has the most potential to go further – with more tales of future Robin Hood-style shenanigans – but also feels like a full story in its own right.
Future Shocks are 2000AD’s equivalent of one-off, twist-in-the-tail Twilight Zone-style sci-fi stories. This one focuses on the dangers of all pervasive social media. It’s a colourful romp, though does have a lot of heavy lifting to do, exposition-wise, before reaching a somewhat abrupt conclusion.
Finally, we have Mayflies – a tale set in the world of one of 2000AD’s oldest, greatest hits: Rogue Trooper. This one concerns young, expendable clones evading capture; though a decent story and potential set-up for a series, this suffers from one of the same issues as Action Pact: it just feels like a ‘pilot’ episode rather than a satisfying tale in its own right.
So overall, Prog 2220 is a bit of a disappointment. It’s a real shame; for the most part, the sense of fun and bright, bold style of previous Regened issues seems to be missing – with a series of stories that hew a little too closely to the more mature output of the regular 2000AD anthology and definitely all feel a little too similar in tone. The attempt to introduce more new series backfires a little in the case of Action Pact and Mayflies, but Viva Forever shows a lot of potential. Hopefully, the next Regened issue gives us a return to form – so far, this is the only one of the six all-ages issues released that’s been a disappointment overall.
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