2000AD, PROG 2131 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on May 15, 2019

Writers: Kenneth Niemand; Ian Edginton; Guy Adams; James Peaty
Artists:  PJ Holden; D'Israeli; Dan Cornwell; Brian Corcoran; Leigh Gallagher
Colourists: John Charles; Jim Boswell; Matt Soffe
Letterers: Annie Parkhouse; Ellie De Ville;  Simon Bowland 
Publisher: Rebellion

After spending last week entertaining the kids and new readers, 2000AD is back on track with the usual line-up...and with a Prog that probably requires a bit of backstory to fully appreciate.


Judge Dredd: The World According To Chimpsky is a strange one. The mysterious writer Kenneth Niemand (a name which can be broadly translated from Dutch as “Know No-One”, and could be a play on 2000AD meta-fictional writer “Kenny Who”...or could alternatively just be a guy named Ken Niemand) appears from out of the blue with a story of a super-smart bonobo ape, trying to make sense of life in Mega City One.

Chimpsky swings through the city streets, noticing patterns and keeping the peace with the help of statistical anomalies. This feels like the first episode of a multi-part story, but is actually a one-off with an especially blunt ending. Could Niemand be taking the first steps in building a story arc?

There’s a nice altercation between Chimpsky and Dredd, where Dredd’s dialogue is paired down to bare formula, and the neon adverts look like they’ve been lifted from cult-classic movie They Live. Its a unique look at Mega City One.  Whoever this Niemand fellow is, he knows what he’s doing.


In Scarlet Traces: Home Front, the Martian tripods have returned and are laying waste to London, whilst our heroes look for a secret bunker in an Underground tube station. Scarlet Traces has been building this world since 2002, and newer readers could easily become lost as the characters reminisce and talk of secret histories. Regardless, it’s easy to appreciate D’Israeli’s visuals, from the fiery glow and long shadows of the battlefield, to the cool-light of the bunker, packed with its fun library of books that never were.


Max finally becomes Normal in this week’s Max Normal: How The Max Got His Stripes. If you were frustrated at the story taking a week off just as young Max found himself with a gun to his head, you’re not alone. This week opens with a character angrily demanding that we get on with things, and stop messing around. Things dutifully charge onward, as a twist of fate resolves the flashback to Max’s youth very nicely. Sure, it’s silly and spends too much time messing around with rhyming dialogue, but it’s a playful story that grant’s more character to Max than he’s been given in almost forty years.


The 3Riller is not my favourite format. Stories told in three parts can lack the urgency of the single-part Futureshock, without the development and world-building of an ongoing series. 3Riller’s are often a little slow to start, flabby around the middle, and rush to a conclusion. Tharg’s 3Riller: The Chimera seems to head in a few different directions at once, starting with a commentary on data farming before quickly following some employees to the scuzzier side of town, for a bit of post-work fun that doesn’t involve karaoke and a pint. It’s always difficult to judge a 3riller on it’s first part. There are a lot of ideas here, but will need to focus its attention.


Kingmaker: Ouroboros also requires some background knowledge to fully appreciate. The ork Crixus has found himself killed in battle, and suddenly in the presence of a god-like Kurt Vonnegut lookalike. If that’s not confusing enough, this looks to be the same Vonnegut who last appeared in Ian Edginton’s epic Brass Sun at some point last year.


This wouldn’t be the first time that 2000AD have thrown together stories that appeared to be unrelated, and the world hopping adventures of Brass Sun could work alongside the genre twisting Kingmaker. Regardless, if you’re looking for explanation, you’ve come to the wrong place. Even if the story has lost you, however, here’s still the charming sun-kissed world from artist Leigh Gallagher to appreciate.

In all, a decent if confusing Prog, aimed at readers with long memories and a lot of patience.  If you're one of the newer readers who started picking up 2000AD after last week's special, prepare to get very lost.

Our Score:


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