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2000AD, PROG 2074 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on March 27, 2018

Writers: Rob Williams; Gordon Rennie; Dan Abnett; Emma Beeby; John Wagner Dylan Teague (c) Annie Parkhouse (l)
Artists: Chris Weston; Simon Coleby, Steve Yeowell; David Road Carlos Ezquerra
Colourists: Dylan Teague, Len O'Grady, Jose Villarrubia
Letterers: Ellie De Ville; Annie Parkhouse; Simon Bowland



Dredd steps inside the inner sanctum of the Special Judicial Squad in this week’s Judge Dredd: Fit For Purpose. Judge Gerhart is on trial by the Justice Department’s own internal affairs division, and this strangely calm episode focuses on Dredd’s reaction to watching an ally fall from grace.

 

Starting with a small burst of morbid humour that reveals exactly what happened to poor Judge Slocum after The Day the Law Died, this is a very still but powerful Prog for Dredd. Fit for Purpose doesn’t just mark the return of Judges Gerhart and Pin, but draws on a longer arc that was started more than a year ago but has remained untouched since, as Dredd loses one of the close band he has quietly pulled together to combat the risk of those who would protect the system above all else.

Dredd’s stern demeanour is coupled by a narrative that tells of the burning rage within.  Whilst Dredd might be an unmoving monolith in the hands of some writers, Rob William’s script gives us a man who struggles with his duty to uphold the law, and his desperate need to do what is right, the law be damned. It subtley hints at the politics of the Justice Department, and Dredd’s loss of faith in some of its elements. It's a perfect analysis of the character and his city.

 

Last week Jaegir: In The Realm Of Pyrrhus threw the reader into the battlefield of Nu-Earth, where man (and woman) stand against massive machines of war. This week mixes the politics of Kapiten Atalia’s return to the frontline of the conflict with action that shows exactly what the risks are here. Hastily reassembling a team of characters is a tough task when the story requires those characters to be dressed in identical haz-mat suits, but the few voices we hear are distinct. Colours by Len O’Grady makes great use of milky greens and yellows for the poisonous battlefield, and more militaristic and shadowy tones for the politics.

 

Finnigan Sinister gives a literal master-class in comedy murder in Sinister Dexter: Night Class. A classroom of would be hitmen are taught the secrets of professional assassination in this comedy short with a twist. After spending years becoming increasingly complex, piling alternative realities upon robot doppelgängers, Sinister Dexter has taken a new turn, relying on funny short stories heavy on nostalgia as the characters discuss how much the world has changed since the good old days. Night Class is a hugely enjoyable, if forgettable, little addition to the ongoing saga.

 

Its all about astral projection and secrets from the past in Anderson PSI Division: Undertow. A mysterious crashed spaceship appears to have been foreseen by psychics across the city, and is now being sealed off with even the experienced Anderson denied official entry. Emma Beeby’s script is intelligent and densely written, reliant on conversational dialogue to explain the quite complex machinations of the PSI department. A character from the past, who many long term readers might have thought permanently swept away, makes a surprise return.

 

Johnny Alpha remembers the death of his old friend in Strontium Dog: The Son, which starts with an emotional flashback to Wulf’s tragic and shocking end. Teaming up with Wulf’s secret son to undertake a mission on the planet of Protoz, The Son nicely sets out the characters and world. The comedically pacifistic people of Protoz have seen their world overrun by angry aliens, and Carlos Ezquerra’s typically iconic art provides yet another wonderful environment and alien race. With an angry Alpha determined to scare Kenton Sternhammer from the dangerous life of a bounty hunter, the interplay between the main characters might make long term readers yearn for the glory days, but it doesn’t quite hit the high notes of those golden years.  Regardless, The Son is shaping up to be an interesting tale.

Our Score:

10/10

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