Best of 2000AD Volume 3

Writer / Artist
Best of 2000AD Volume 3
Best of 2000AD Volume 3 review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: 2000AD - 978-1-78618-994-3
  • Volume No.: 3
  • Release date: 2023
  • UPC: 9781786189943
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

This third volume presenting The Best of 2000AD only includes four stories and the single page D.R. & Quinch gag strip. However, it’s still a quality package well worth the money for those who don’t have the material in any other form, not least for including the entirety of Leviathan, worth the cover price alone.

Leviathan is an unusual outing for a 2000AD series in several respects, not least for being set in the 1920s, not the future. It’s also a horror story, prioritising suspense as Ian Edginton and D’Israeli present not only a police investigation of the impossible, but also explore the British class system of the era. It’s set on board an ocean liner, in effect a floating city carrying almost 30,000 passengers. D’Israeli’s art constantly reinforces the sheer scale of the ship, and he creates the stuff of nightmare for the threat. It’s a superb suspenseful thriller, and definitely among the best non-Dredd stories published in 2000AD.

There are two Judge Dredd outings, opening with Michael Carroll and Mark Sexton’s ‘Ghosts’, as yet not available as a separate graphic novel. It begins with the effective mystery of Dredd learning several parents have been told their children have died in an accident while training to be Judges over the years. However, Justice Department records show each was rejected as unsuitable. It broadens into the realisation that someone is running a covert department and how to deal with that. It’s a decent story with superbly detailed art, but perhaps not enough Dredd and finished too rapidly, although the ending is shocking.

John Wagner and Ron Smith’s ‘Graveyard Shift’ is also available in Judge Dredd Complete Case Files 07, and the earlier album sized collection Judge Dredd 10. It’s deceptively clever, at first not seeming to be anything special, but developing episode by episode into a record of the sheer intensity and variety of incidents faced by the Judges on a single shift. Wagner writes the captions as if a TV documentary, including so many great ideas in passing, and Smith’s astonishingly detailed art really sells the pace and action.

Storming Heaven riffs on the idea of superheroes being created during the hippie era via use of mind-expanding substances – Homo Psychedelis as Gordon Rennie has it. 1960s references are supplied in abundance in setting up the conflict between the enlightened Mr Trips and the malevolent Lizard King, as Rennie applies a cynical hindsight veneer to hippie idealism. The captions make it read as if a documentary told at a rapid pace, but it lacks a connection point, with the intended sympathetic view too distanced from main events. Artist Frazer Irving shines, though, called on to vary his work considerably, and he’d been looking at Sergio Toppi for the final spread.

The brilliant Leviathan notwithstanding, this volume doesn’t quite hit the heights of previous collections, but is still an amazing bargain at the cover price.