2000 AD (progs #2197 – 2199) – Various

4 out of 5

A generally great closeout of some longer strips before another bumper issue.

The “generally” bit: Rob Williams’ conclusion to his “End of Days” epic. My disappointment with this carries over even moreso to its ending, which simply cannot avoid the weirdness of putting Dredd against the horseman of Death when we already have a formidable character named Death in the Dreddverse… though does a good dance at dressing it up by putting the final fight on the moon. (However, plot points then align to make it rather Judge Death-y again…) The whole thing lands with a thud upon a very forced maneuver to tie everything together.

…But then Dan Abnett makes The Out’s first ending spectacular: emotional; funny; surprising; moving. This is the best new thrill of 2020, hands down. My words also carry over from the previous review, but what’s important is that this maintained is value through every single entry.

…And Dom Reardon is back on the next round of The Diaboliks, and it’s a bit more of the usual “getting the team together” kind of fun, as Ravne and Jenny bring another cheeky magic user into the fold, written with an incredible amount of bite by Rennie. The time between Reardon’s first arc and this one has done him wonders, though, maybe allowing him to warm up: the art is back to classic Dom, all angles and energy, giving the whole strip a nervy, edgy feel to match its script.

…Even Kek-W, a writer I normally don’t get very far with, manages to provide the readerly goods with his “Saphir” 3riller. The strip is absolutely clogged with ideas, which is kinda my problem with Kek – he generally doesn’t pace around those clogs very well – but the short format seems to have somehow compressed things down to a tolerable, and enjoyable form, with undoubted thanks to David Roach’s amazingly precise and fanciful art. The basic gist is that a Parisian inspector in the late 1800s get embroiled in cross-dimensional, alien- and magic-infested contrivances. There’s one or two storylines too many here, as mentioned, but the tone is kept rather light, so you can bounce along with it.