I haven’t looked at an issue of 2000 AD in years and that pretty much makes me stupid. It’s a brilliant (used that particular word for my British friends) magazine with true comic book zeal and an obvious interest in telling a diverse range of unique and well-crafted stories. Yeah, it kinda gets crazy sometimes with its being so very British but at the same time, this Free Comic Book Day copy of 2000 AD has more diversity than all of the books that The Big 2 publishes on any given Wednesday.
With Dredd 3D marketing in mind, the Judge Dredd makes an appearance on the cover and is the first story to show its ugly face. I’ve never really been a Judge Dredd fan. It’s just always seemed to fall outside my aesthetic. But this story alongside having read a Button Man book by John Wagner has made me reconsider my stance as well as made me think that I might actually want to see the movie.
The next story in this seemingly oversized floppy is The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael (and the Dead left in his Wake). Ichabod Azrael, like all of the other stories in this book is beautifully rendered with attention to panel placement with a knowledge of where things have come from and an interest in finding new ways to say something. This story also has a bitter sense of the Old West that only an outside-the-US publisher can truly convey.
The third story in this copy of 2000 AD is Zombo: The Day the Zombo Died part one. While it is a zombie story as original and interesting as it’s name, it’s also a vigilante story that does more to question what a hero is than Batman has done in years.
The hits keep coming with Ro-busters from the amazingly talented Alan Moore no less. It’s a sad story about two robots that are reluctantly forced to face off against a mad, flame-generating mutant looking for a lost love. Moore’s robots have an abundance of personality and specific quarks that make them archetypes and unique all at the same time.
The last and probably most mainstream of all of the stories in this Free Comic Book Day issue of 2000 AD is Future Shocks: Whatever Happened to the Green Pedestrian Palm? A true-green poke of fun at The Justice League, more specifically The Green Lantern, it made me think about super heroes and masked vigilante stories in a way that I have not done since Watchmen – the book, not the movie.
5. Count them, 5 wonderful stories packed into this anthology make it well worth the nothing that I paid for it. Reading 2000 AD made me said for the state of mainstream American comics – yeah, I know that I talk about this all of the time – but it also made me excited about the medium again. 2000 AD reminded me that there are well-known and successful comic book/sequential art publishers that are interested in doing something interesting with the medium.