2000AD, PROG 2121 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on March 06, 2019

Writers: John Wagner; James Peaty; Andi Ewington; Dan Abnett; Gordon Rennie
Artists: Colin MacNeil; Pau Marshall; Staz Johnson; Mark Harrison; Simon Coleby
Colourists: Chris Blythe; Quinton Winter; Abigail Bulmer; Len O'Grady
Letterers: Annie Parkhouse; Ellie De Ville; Simon Bowland 
Publisher: Rebellion

Judge Dredd: Machine War sees Mega City One prepare for bloodshed.


Millions of citizens take to the streets and march on the Grand Hall of Justice, in protest against the appointment of a robot to a senior role in the Justice Department. Meanwhile, plenty of judges are unhappy too, and a coup is underway.


Machine War is an instant classic. The story has dramatically shifted the continuity of Dredd’s world, whilst also looking inwards and allowing some Wagner-esque self-reflection on Dredd’s part. It’s a wonderfull blend of satire, action and comedy, where everything has meaning and nothing is wasted. This prog squeezes in America Beeny being funny and charming as a counterweight to Dredd’s stoicism, as well showing the dissent amongst the ranks, and having a good laugh at the Human League.


Artist Colin MacNeil has worked on some of 2000AD’s most important stories, and has done some great work here. Cunningly avoiding having to draw millions of angry people, his depictions of the crowd have some hilarious details where a lesser artists might have just provided a bland mob. On a more personal note, the re-imagining of Judge Logan, a tribute to superfan Stewart Perkins who sadly passed away in 2016, is something special and quite touching.



In Skip Tracer: Louder Than Bombs, hero Nolan has finally noticed that the target for the next terror attack might be the charity concert that has frequently popped up as background detail, and is the only bit of world building not immediately relevant to the plot so far.

Can Nolan save the day, or will his seemingly unlimited psychic powers fail to save him from yet another trap?


Despite occasional bursts of beauty from artist Paul Marshall and colourists Quinton Winter, Skip Tracer remains the prog’s weakest link, a jumble of frustrating cliches with little internal logic.




Tooth & Nail demonstrates the issues with the Tharg’s 3riller format in this, its second episode. With neither the brevity of a one-parter, nor the development of a longer storyline, 3rillers can easily feel too podgy around the middle. This week, the gangster’s interrogation of the protagonist continues. Staz Johnson’s art is a lovely as ever, but whole pages feel like they’re just killing time, recapping what we were told last week.



There’s plenty of electric action in Grey Area: The Grey and the Black. The Black-ops unit track down rogue agents Kym and Bitch, massacring civilians along the way. Mark Harrison’s art can almost be felt as much as followed.  We jump around between small, overlapping panels, the violence and details spilling from one to the next like an electrical current.


However...the one issue I have with Grey Area also makes it’s return this prog, as the character of “Resting Bitch Face” again finds herself scantily clad. Perhaps its just because I’m a soy-drinking Social Justice Warrior...but in a strip focussed on the themes of bigotry and cultural tension, and in a comic that has often placed minority and female characters front and centre, the comedy of stripping a woman to her underwear for cheap laughs just feels...petty.


And on the theme of strong female characters, Jaegir: Bonegrinder sees Kapitan Jaegir make a heroic sacrifice in defence of her troops. Jaegir is a heady mix of politics and war, with a beautifully swirling, toxic palette. Writer Gordon Rennie expertly delivers some fairly wordy exposition, whilst never letting up on the action.

Our Score:


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