2000AD #2203 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on October 13, 2020

Writers: Rob Williams; Arthur Wyatt; Ian Edginton; James Peaty; Alec Worley
Artists: Boo Cook; D’Israeli; Paul Marshall; Tiernen Trevallion; Leigh Gallagher
Colours: Dylan Teague
Letters: Annie Parkhouse; Jim Campbell; Simon Bowland
Publisher: Rebellion



Recently, I read a post on an internet forum insisting that Judge Dredd: Carry the Nine was too political; that a story based around the controversial idea that redirecting funds from a militarised police force into education might result in a more functional society, wasn’t in keeping with the long running ethos of the character.


It’s simply not true. Dredd is a British satire of American society and has frequently commented on political and social trends on both sides of the Atlantic. Civil rights movements, immigration, political extremism, the Cold War, Dredd has waded into all of them with his enormous green boots, satirising the politics of the day. When Carlos Equerra, who was born and raised in a fascist nation, designed Dredd, he sought to drawn parallels between American political iconography and European totalitarianism. It’s always been political. It’s purpose is political.


As a character, Dredd has been questioning the system of government he was created to defend since the earliest days of 2000AD. an early tale has Dredd angrily insisting that a severely injured child should be provided with state funded healthcare – an action that if it came today would likely also be dismissed as being “too progressive” for the strongman character.


Dredd isn’t a character given delivering to three page monologues on political issues, but the commentary has always been there. There have been are key scenes over the last forty years, where the often glacial development of the character has been writ large – from his sitting quietly in a room reading a banned newspaper whilst pondering censorship in Prog 627’s John Cassavettes is Dead, through his declaration of “Let the people decide” in response to calls for democracy back in 1990, or acknowledging the whispered final words of his father in 2007’s Origins: “"We created a monster...we're the monster!".


The quiet panels in this week’s Carry the Nine as Maitland reveals her controversial plan to a silent Dredd are just a continuation of a long running theme, which can be traced back through Dredd’s support for equal rights, his changing views on the democracy movement, and his developing respect for individuals. None of this is new or out of character.


A balance of action and politics, Carry the Nine entertains as it satrises. Jojo’s gang have raided a Justice Department bunker and have their hands on some heavy-duty weaponry. The almost comical efficiency of a heat-seeker bullet underlines the point that the Judges are are more than this equipment, as Dredd brings the whole show crashing down. There’s even a swift joke about the impact of the decent education that Maitland is lobbying for, as a perpetrator dies because he can’t read a warning sign.


Carry the Nine shows the uncreative nature of totalitarian states, where anything that challenges the status quo is considered dangerously subversive.


Even if you’re not a fan of being confronted with political satire (but still find yourself reading a comics well-known for its political satire for some reason) there’s plenty more here to entertain.


There’s Stickleback: New Jeruslaem, in whose radiant pages Sherlock/Stickleback does battle in a psychedelic folk lore wonderland. It’s all a bit strange with it’s dream logic and characters popping up from six years ago, but it’s full of fun nonetheless.


Gun for hire Nolan fights a handful of wolf men before being overcome for plot reasons in the weirdly generic Skiptracer: Hyperballad. The revelation about the bad guy that we’ve been nudged and winked in the direction of for the last three weeks finally arrives. Skiptracer is a functional action strip, if a bit forgettable, taking its time to go anywhere in the world it has slowly built.


Fiends of the Eastern Front: Constanta falls even further into folklore, as the tale of the vampires origins starts to involve talking wolves and family curses.


In Hookjaw, a video clip of the shark-thing goes viral, whilst Jack once again recovers from what he has witnessed, before the final twist delves again into magical realism.


Our Score:


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