On this day, 27 April 1985: 2000AD (Prog 415)
On this day, 27 April 1985 … Another gorgeous 2000AD cover here, this time by Ron Smith (probably the most prolific Dredd artist during my early prog-reading years) indicative of the feast of exceptional thrill-powered artwork that lies within. The quality art is one of the reasons 2000AD is so special, but the script-writing over the years has been of a similarly consistent excellence. Look at the maturity of the stories in this issue (all of them very dark, but never at the expense of strong storytelling nor sympathetic characterisation).
Alan Moore and Ian Gibson’s beautiful The Ballad of Halo Jones reaches the climax of its second series, with Halo hoping (and failing) to meet her friend Rodice in a bar on the ice-world Charlemagne. The episode has a melancholy feel not untypical of the series, which has loneliness and resilience at its heart: Halo is a fascinating character – a woman who escapes (mostly) the trappings of a war-ravaged, Default Man universe while simultaneously escaping the trappings of male stereotyping of women in the pages of what was probably still perceived by IPC as a boys-only comic.
Hell Trekkers, the Cursed Earth-set refugee convoy story also ends in this prog as the trekkers reach their destination in the New Territories, but not without further losses in their ranks. Pat Mills’ Sláine digs ever-deeper into the dark legends of Celtic, pagan and Nordic mythology as the warrior is commissioned to destroy the Norwegian warlock prince Elfric. The Judge Dredd story is a one-off in which a young Puerto Novan immigrant boy with pyrokinetic powers tragically falls to the cruel pressures of life in the Big Meg. And Rogue Trooper encounters further hopelessness in the endless Nu Earth war as a lead on discovering the antigen to bring his bio-chipped buddies back to life goes cold.