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2000AD, PROG 2081 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on May 15, 2018

Writers: Rory McConville; Dan Abnett; James Peaty; Kek-W; John Wagner
Artists: Dan Cornwell; Steve Yeowell; Paul Marshall; Dave Kendall; Carlos Ezquerra
Colourists: Abigail Bulmer; John Charles; Dylan Teague
Letterers: Annie Parkhouse; Simon Bowland; Ellie De Ville
Publisher: Rebellion  




Judge Dredd: The Chosen One is a light-hearted little one-off from writer Rory McConville, which leaves its twist until the very last panel. Dredd sets out to rescue a habitual kidnapee from a satanic cult, in a story packed with smart humour. Who is this strange citizen, who seems utterly unperturbed by the Satanists who have tied him to a chair in a disused warehouse?

The Chosen One is mostly dialogue driven, with some lovely details about Dredd’s world, including the unpleasant secret ingredients in soft drinks, the important of elocution, and Justice Department administration fees. Art from Dan Cornwell has some great emotive characters, but also provides some great Lawmaster designs, which are more than is needed.

 

Sinister and Dexter’s Commando Comics themed adventure comes to a simple but satisfying ending in Sinister Dexter: The Gangbusters. Having played with warcomics and videogames tropes, everyone involved looks to be having fun, doing a something a little different. Steve Yeowell’s art is markedly different, following the simple but detailed war-comic format. Gangbusters can perhaps be added to a long list of extremely fun but a little forgettable Sinister Dexter shorts...although it’s suggested that maybe this has made a lasting impression on one character.

 

Two billion people live in the in the deep space structure known as The Cube, run by the mysterious Earth Consociation. In this high pressured world, bounty hunter Nolan Blake is on the hunt for criminals in this high action introduction to a new story. The entire opening episode is a brief action sequence, squeezing in details about the Cube and Blake’s own past an abilities. Skip Tracer: Heavy is the Head starts well and has a lot of potential. It wears its influences on its sleeve and certainly shows potential. There’s nothing hugely original so far to mark this out as something special as yet, but it's certainly one to watch.

 

We return to the decaying dominion of the Dark Judges in Damned: The Fall of Deadworld. This is the parallel dimension of Judge Death, were the obvious and permanent solution to the crime problem was discovered and is being systematically enacted.

A small band of survivors have fled to the border, desperate to escape the horror being unleashed upon this already shattered world.

Writer Kek-W and artist Dave Kendal have created something truly extraordinary in the Fall of Deadworld series. Elements of the Judge Dredd universe have been taken and distorted, using Dredd’s political satire to peer through dark glass upon our own world. Mention is made of the Judge Child, a character from the Dredd-universe who was predicted to save Mega City One but who came close to destroying it. We see desperate border control enacted by a populist President under the sway of Russian influencers. We even get a fleeting glimpse of the alternate reality version of a classic Dredd-world character.

And yet, for all the frequent, knowing references, Deadworld is strong enough, compelling enough, to stand on its own.

 

Strontium Dog: The Son reaches a satisfying conclusion this Prog, with a turning point and personal realisation for Johnny Alpha. For many years, Alpha has been a dark character, racked with self-doubt and regret over the death of his friend, and the lost mutant cause. The Son brought the son of Wulf Sternhamer into the fold as a new ally. Introducing a new best friend to avoid the slow death of a much loved series? That’s not going to end well, surely? Would Kenton be the Great Gazoo to Alpha’s Fred Flintstone? The Scrappy to his Scooby Doo? The Dawn to his Buffy?

 

After going to some dark places, The Son ends on a high, with a gleeful caper featuring Alpha and Sternhammer Junior. Its a simplistic ending, which swerves the moral questions inherit in their trade by introducing a comedy robot villain, but it captures all the fun of the Strontium Dog golden era. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Our Score:

9/10

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