This is 2000AD's fourth Free Comic Book Day issue and they approach it in their usual anarchic style. So we get a lovely parody cover by Henry Flint and then a nice mix of old and new stories which hopefully will attract a few new readers to the weekly joys of the Galaxy's greatest comic.
Flint's homage to the classic Spider-Man No More issue really does the business as ever. If I was a Marvel reader then this cover would make me curious about 2000AD. I hope it grabbed some new readers but I suspect it was mostly snapped up by all the existing fans. Hopefully they all bought some other stuff in their comic store at the same time.
Judge Dredd: The Badge by Matt Smith, Chris Burnham, Nathan Fairbairn and Pye Parr.
Now having Dredd talk a rookie Judge through a tough situation is a neat idea and one that I wish I'd thought of for the forums short story contest. There's also plenty of nods to the past with the Blobs and the out of control Mek-Quake like machine that Dredd is tackling.
Chris Burnham's art is lovely, I haven't seen any of his Batman stuff so don't know if this is his usual style but it is great fun and Fairbairn's colours are lovely. I also like having a Judge named Hartnell, especially in a story written by Matt Smith (no, not that one).
Slaine: Lord of the Beasts by Pat Mills, Rafael Garres and Ellie De Ville
Another artist that I am unfamiliar with and my first impressions were rather confused, it looked a bit dark and messy. But closer examination reveals some lovely images and a neat little prelude from Uncle Pat. I'm sure it would make more sense if I followed this on to the Lord of the Beasts trade but I'm buying too many 2000AD books at the moment and Slaine will have to wait. But the FCBD sampler has done its job and tempted me.
Rogue Trooper: Glass Zone by Gerry Finley-Day, Dave Gibbons and Bill Nuttall.
A classic moment from the early days of Rogue as he tries to get some rest and then has to improvise weapons when he is surprised by a Nort patrol. Having read Seth's reviews recently I am curious as to how much Dave Gibbons still believed in the strip at this stage but his artwork is always rewarding. Looks lovely in black and white as well.
Anderson PSI Division: Golem by Alan Grant, Romero and Steve Potter
Another old story and another unfamiliar artist who does that flicked up hair thing I associate with newspaper strips like Modesty Blaise, and of course, when I look him up I find that he is one of the definitive Modesty Blaise artists. Must have been lodged in the back of my brain somewhere. The Golem storyline is fairly familiar and Anderson solves it in her usual style. Very pretty though isn't she?
Absalom: Noblesse Oblige part 1 by Gordon Rennie, Tiernen Trevaillion and Simon Bowland
I was really hoping we might get some new Absalom in here. There's nothing wrong with this short intro but I've read it a few times already. Roll on the new stuff.
Durham Red: Running out of Patients by Leah Moore, John Reppion, Jan Duursema, Dylan Teague and Ellie De Ville
Brian Blessed and his mutant pirates hi-jack a blood wagon and it's up to Durham Red and her sidekick Scampi to save the day. Things go from bad worse and just when it looks like Scampi may end up as a basket case (yes, I did) the voluptuous vampire vigilante does her thing and it's type O all round.
Apart from her obvious charms I've not really got into Durham Red yet and this effort by the Alan Moore younglings left me unmoved.
Then there is that full page advert for the Mike McMahon statue. Must try and resist, I have so much stuff already.
Future Shocks. It's a Dog eat Dog Universe by Barry Hammersmith (AKA Robo-Keef), Henry Flint and Pye Parr
Gluetanic channels Galactus, Flint does Jack Kirby, and Robo-Keef gives us his Al Ewing. It's a bit of a throwaway gag that's been done once or twice already but it's still funny and awfully pretty.
Two pages of Ron Smith Daily Star strips and then we're into a last page gag by Henry Flint that rounds out a tremendous issue. I hope you all had as much fun as I did on Free Comic Book Day.