Review by Frank Plowright
A fourth 2000 A.D. Regened proves as schizoid as previous volumes, with the only consistency between them being a third of the content featuring Cadet Dredd.
Two new features appear this time, although it’s three if David Baillie and Colin MacNeil’s Strontium Dug is counted, introducing a new companion for Middenface McNulty. With an emphasis on Scottish accents, which often prove mystifying to the UK’s other regions, and knockabout humour, it’s almost a Beano or Dandy strip. A similar tone is present in Scooter & Jinx by James Peaty and Steve Roberts, which is wacky and fast-paced, but there’s not much below the surface. Gordon Rennie and Emma Beeby’s ‘Splorers begins as a Lara Croft pastiche, but takes a cheerily inventive turn into something younger readers can readily identify with, charmingly illustrated by Neil Googe (sample art left).
Harlem Heroes was a surprise revival in 2000 A.D. Regened 3, and Ramzee and Korinna Mei Veropoulou’s fast-paced continuation is more of the same bright action, but with the addition of extra clarity. The manic energy of Sonic the Hedgehog remains as the aeroball team play out their championship match. Skysurfer Chopper continues the sporting theme, and David Barnett and Nick Roche’s strips (sample right) are highlights. They first show Chopper transitioning from scrawling to his board, then dealing with the Boing craze, and are clever, funny, nicely drawn and move Chopper forward.
It’s good to see Luke Horsman’s art improving on the third Cadet Dredd offering, James Peaty having Dredd and Rico investigating the distribution of free meds, but it’s still the most straightforward of three strips. Liam Johnson’s two earlier outings pack more in. We see Dredd going undercover among a gang of juves, then he and Rico are assigned to stop a stolen mo-pad driven by idiots. Duane Redhead and Ben Willsher respectively supply the artistic thrills.
The twist in the tale Future Shocks have long been 2000 AD’s tryout strips, but for a brief while Time Twisters were the replacement, operating on the same principle, but applying a theme of time travel. Colin Harvey’s ‘Temporal Tantrum’ features a greedy influencer and jinks along to a predictable ending, but it’s very nicely drawn by Tom Newell. It’s the art from Steve Roberts, then V. V. Glass on the Future Shocks that stands out, Karl Stock’s take on discarded waste not as resonant overall as the machinery created by a tinkerer introduced by Honor Vincent.
Younger readers should enjoy most of the content, but while constant change provides variety and new features are welcome, there seems little point in having readers latch onto the new strips only to discover they’re not in the following volume.