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2000AD, PROG 2076 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on April 10, 2018

Writers: TC Eglington; Gordon Rennie; Dan Abnett; Emma Beeby; John Wagner
Artists: Staz Johnston; Simon Coleby; Steve Yeowell; David Roach; Carlos Ezquerra
Colourists: Abilgail Bulmer; Len O'Grady; John Charles; Jose Villarrubia
Letterers: Ellie De Ville; Annie Parkhouse; Simon Bowland
Publisher: Rebellion

 

 

Putting aside the occasional short, it seems that several writers are each building their own slow Judge Dredd arc. A couple of weeks ago, there were hints at Dredd’s ongoing Cold War with Judge Smiley and his black ops squads, and in this Prog we return to the populist politics of the Sons of Booth and their mission to usurp the Judges through media manipulation and social unrest.

 

An intelligent satire on the role of the media in perpetuating hate in return for viewers, and how political extremists exploit that weakness, Judge Dredd: Flaws is a slow burner. It was forty years ago that 2000AD first introduced “Bad” Bob Booth, the future American President whose hubris would lead to nuclear war, but the idea blends seamlessly with a world where war could be declared over twitter.

 

We move from the battlefield to the covert in Jaegir: In The Realm Of Pyrrhus. It;s a surprisingly quiet episode, in which the politics of warfare are discussed, and how perception of victory is often more important that the real thing. It might leave some questions unanswered, but it takes the story in an interesting direction.

 

Ramone and Finnigan set out to protect the woman who wants them dead in Sinister Dexter: The Devil Don’t Care. Billi Octavio has put a contract on the duo’s heads, but mysterious superfan The Devil is eager to protect the pair by taking out Billi...all of them unaware that Ramone and Finnigan just want to protect Billi. From what sound like a confusing set up, it’s really just an action packed comedy farce, with characters running around and shooting at each other. Steve Yeowell’s art is full of movement, wonderfully conveying a bunch of people who just can’t stand still.

 

Things get increasingly complicated in Anderson PSI Division: Undertow. A group of characters, including he long missing Judge Karyn, have been brought together investigate a mysterious psychic virus being spread amongst the city’s PSI judges. With hints of a high level conspiracy, there’s the potential for an interesting story here, but the execution is confusing. Four characters communicate psychically, which means that word balloons are replaced by stalk-less thought balloons which are difficult to assign to characters, since we don’t have much information about many of the personalities here. We get a flurry of ideas, which this Prog include the sudden unexplained appearance of a herd of flying lizards, the dramatic collapse of buildings, and the appearance of some zombies, but they come so thick and fast that the story jars from panel to panel. We also get the arrival of another blast from the past, which may well just confuse things further.

 

 

There’s a Western style shootout in Strontium Dog: The Son. Johnny Alpha sets out to track down the Glazers, but they know he’s coming. Meanwhile, Kenton Sternhammer gets to demonstrate that Alpha isn’t alone in having a helpful mutation. It's a relatively quiet episode, in which the characters are given a moment to catch up. Carlos Ezquerra’s artwork is as beautiful as ever, with chunky and emotive characters, Johnny and Kenton convey a range of realistic emotions within only a few pages, although it looks like corners have been a little cut in some panels

Our Score:

8/10

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