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2000AD, PROG 2111 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on January 11, 2019


Writers: TC Eglington; Gordon Rennie, Kek-W, James Peaty, Pat Mills, Dan Abnett, Ian Edginton, Alec Worley
Artists: Boo Cook, Dom Reardon, Dave Kendall, Paul Marshall, Chris Weston, INJ Culbard, Teirnan Trevallion, Ben Wilsher
Colourists: Dylan Teague
Letterers: Annie Parlhouse, Simon Bowland, Ellie De Ville 
Publisher: Rebellion





‘Tis the season of giving, so alien editor Tharg the Mighty gifts us an extra large 2000AD Christmas special before he and his droids hibernate their way into 2019.  

 

Writer TC Eglington finds a new way to subject Dredd to the spirits of Christmas past, present and future in Judge Dredd: Jingle All The Way. A city block has fallen under a strange spell of Christmas cheer, requiring the Grinchy lawman to save the day. Boo Cook produces some charmingly organic art, with the illusion alongside reality and some twisted psychedelia alongside grime and gore. It might not be a hugely original premise, but it’s well delivered, and full of nice details. Cook’s black lined Ezquerra tribute of Christmas past is a nice touch, and Dredd’s vision of Christmas-yet-to-come is particularly intriguing.

 

 

 

In an interesting editorial move, Cabalistic, Inc returns for its final episode after a delay of eleven years. It won’t make a whole load of sense to anyone unfamiliar with the original, and even if you enjoyed the original it’s unlikely you’ve been waiting around to find out what Lieutenant Littlejohn was going to do next. Even writer Gordon Rennie reveals in a short interview that he wasn’t too fussed about wrapping things up.  Still, it’s a nice finale, and a timely one given that a Cabalistic, Inc collection is due out in early 2019.

 

 

We last left The Fall of Deadworld in the 2016 Christmas special, in the middle of an attempted coup. Running Scared returns to the Deadworld saga to give us the interlinked backstory of an alternative Harvey “Spikes” Rotten and Judge Fear.

Rotten was a biker criminal redeemed by his heroic sacrifice in the classic Judge Dredd: Cursed Earth. Kek-W has dipped into Dredd history to populate his dark and disturbing world with alternative versions of characters of yesteryear . For the first time, Harvey Rotten is given the history he deserves, and the motivations of the faceless Judge Fear are explored. It’s a dark and morbid and gory story, but a strangely beautiful one, focussing on the themes of fear and redemption.  

 

 

Skip Tracer is back in Louder Than Bombs. Judgement is being reserved on my part, since the last two outings from bounty hunter Nolan Blake failed to escape a sarlacc pit of sci-fi tropes. Louder Than Bombs starts by following the same formula as previous instalments: an alien bounty is pursued through the busy streets of The Cube, before an unexpected twist cuts Nolan’s victory short. So far, so standard.  

 

 

 

Celtic warrior Slaine is back in The Bogatyr. With black and white art from Chris Weston, it's a strangely youthful and...clean Slaine after the wonderfully mucky art of Simon Davis. Taking a break from the ongoing, and seemingly unending, Brutanian Chronicles, The Bogatyr is a fun little one-off, with Slaine having a bit of a chat and a bit of a awkward fight with a foreign gentleman. To the uninitiated, Slaine can give the impression of being overly serious, when in truth it’s nowhere near as pretentious as it often looks.  Chris Weston's art is of its usual high standard, but it's five pages spent on a couple of jokes and a fight.

 

 

 

The unique outlook of Brink, now on it’s third book, High Society, can be summed up in how the plot has treated the “Mercury event”. Way back at the end of book one, contact was lost with a colony on the planet Mercury, as the planet simply disappeared.

A planet just disappearing? Right there is the opportunity for high octane adventure. There should be explosions, and shouting scientists, and fleeing escape pods, and cities on fire.

But this is Brink, so it’s discussed, and the cast consider what it means. There’s no action, no daring rescue attempts; just real people, watching something incredible happening on the news, being shocked into silence, and getting on with their lives cowed by the knowledge that the universe is terrifying. This Prog, Kurtis is provided with information that suggests the Mercury event is not what it seemed. Brink is quiet, powerful, real, and so very strange.

 

 

The vampire Constanta has made it to the Great War in Fiends of the Western Front, the latest instalment in the Fiends of The Eastern Front mythos. It follows the expected pattern of an old soldier remembering when he was a young and naive, falling under the sway of Constanta’s vampire squadron. This time the soldier in question is Wilson, an officer in the British Royal Flying Corps. Cue some biting dialogue from the aristocratic officers as they battle the Bosch, and bi-planes in action against giant bats. Fiends manages to neatly tie-in an entirely separate property recently acquired by Rebellion to create an original whole in a quadruple-length episode.

 

 

Our Score:

8/10

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