Cover to ‘2000 AD’ Prog 2016. Art by Alex Ronald/Rebellion Developments

By Courtney Ryan. Dropping in on a series in its 2,016th issue might seem a bit futile, but the various writers and artists behind 2000 AD Prog 2016 do their best to convince us the water is just fine. Whether you’ve been religiously reading Judge Dredd since the 70s or don’t know what a prog is (it’s an issue of the anthology), there’s enough meat here to feed anyone willing to sit at the pulpy British sci-fi anthology’s table.

There are five quick stories in Prog 2016—“Judge Dredd: Deep in the Heart,” “Kingmaker: Part Six,” “Hope: …For the Future,” “The Order: Wyrm War,” and “Kingdom: As It Is in Heaven.” Aside from “Judge Dredd,” each story is penned and inked by its creators, adding a nice, veritable sheen to the material. All five stand on their own, with narrative arcs of “Judge Dredd,” “Kingmaker,” and “Hope” delivering the most satisfaction. Every piece is fresh and, to the anthology’s and its contributors’ credit, none feel born from recycled material.

As is often the case with 2000 AD’s brief vignettes, the art is what makes Prog 2016 especially memorable. Artist Henry Flint’s detailed rendering of Texas City’s decayed slums and colorful characters sometimes casts Dredd’s pursuit of a fugitive to the side. In “Hope,” Jimmy Broxton draws a chilling horror noir that combines occult symbolism with Hollywood glamor. The highlight, though, is John Burns, whose romantic watercolors in “The Order: Wrym War” manage to inflict a futuristic aura on a medieval setting.

The brisk style of storytelling in 2000 AD is sometimes frustrating when you’re just settling into a plot, but the abundance of content sufficiently redeems this quirk. Overall, 2000 AD Prog 2016 is a consistent addition to an anthology series that remains one of the most enjoyable ways to discover comics from across the pond.

Rebellion Developments/$3.49

Written by Michael Carroll, Ian Edginton, Guy Adams, KEK-W, and Dan Abnett.

Illustrated by Henry Flint, Leigh Gallagher, Jimmy Broxton, John Burns, and Richard Elson.

Lettered by Annie Parkhouse, Ellie DeVille, and Simon Bowland.

7 out of 10

Check out this prog in digital form over at the 2000 AD webshop.