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2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Annuals 1991

Over the years, due to financial difficulty, I sold my collection of 2000 AD to greedy dealers and yet, curiously, I kept my copy of the Rogue Trooper Annual. I guess I’ve always been surprised by its existence. Is Rogue Trooper at this time so popular that he deserves his own annual or is Tharg intending to use the character to jump start a big, new franchise? I don’t know but still, eighteen years later, I rub my eyes at the sight of it.

I’ve always liked that Will Simpson cover; all bright and vibrant. The artwork inside is impressive too. Chris Weston paints a story, Steve Dillon draws another in his loose style and even John Hicklenton does a coherent and colourful job on his one. The biggest surprise to me then, and again now, is how successfully in the old school style of 2000 AD and, more specifically Rogue Trooper, Michael Fleisher writes. They are all great little yarns filled with character and ideas. It’s hard to believe that this is the same guy who is currently sicking out Harlem Heroes for the weekly.

The coolest story in the annuals this year, however, is the one that occupies all of the colour pages in Judge Dredd. In Top Dogs, the late Johnny Alpha and Wulf Sternhammer travel through time to Mega City One after a bounty where, inevitably, they encounter Dredd himself. (Well, it is his annual after all). It’s a satisfying story by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil which demonstrates to all of those cross-over obsessed American comics how a proper team-up should be done. It also demonstrates so soon after the death of Alpha what a mistake killing off these characters is.

Finally, this years 2000 AD Annual; Don’t bother. It’s not very good.

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