2000AD, Prog 2044

by Gavin Johnston on August 14, 2017

Writers: Michael Carroll; Dan Abnett; Gordon Rennie; Emma Beeby; Pat Mills; Guy Adams
Artists: Paul Marshall; Mark Harrison; Eoin Coveney; John Higgins; Jimmy Broxton
Colourists: Quinton Winter; Sally Hurst
Publisher: Rebellion

The latest Judge Dredd short story comes to an abrupt ending with its fourth part, as Dredd and sidekick Paradox Vega violently wipe out a gang of drug dealers in a series of set pieces. Long periods of exposition punctuate the action and explain just why this craziness is happening and who these bad guys are, but it all feels a little shallow and like a set up for some cool action moments. However, those moments are cool. The joy of Judge Dredd appearing in every prog of 2000AD is that the stories can swing between genres, taking on big issues one week and mindless action the next . Ouroboros has been fun, if forgettable.

In Grey Area, the border control agents who regulate the Exo Segregation Zone battle with the moral grey area of how best to protect the helpless. Last week gave us a great set up, as the zone was suddenly swamped by thousands of illegal immigrants and our heroes are left with a choice – help these people and risk chaos, or leave the vulnerable to an inevitable death. Where this could have been a commentary on how ordinary people are divided in how best to deal with humanitarian crises and huge numbers of desperate refugees, the whole issue is solved a little too quickly and simply, the humans divided between good guys and bad. Again, it’s a little light, but Grey Area is fun and fast moving.


Three parts into The Alienist and its becoming clear that maybe the issue of good and bad are not as clear as they should be. Paranormal investigator Madelyn Vespertine might pretend to play second fiddle to a respectable male “Professor” in order to be accepted in Edwardian England, but it’s becoming more and more clear that perhaps poor Reggie isn’t an entirely willing accomplice, and that the investigation into a mysterious death goes far deeper that than expected. The Alienist continues to slowly leak intrigue.


Super spy John Blake continues on his mission to kill bad guys in Grey Suit. Luckily for John the bad guys are easy to identify, as they helpfully speak entirely in villainous cliches. It might have been easy for the ridiculous nature of the whole enterprise to wash over the reader if the story had some sort of internal logic. However, in this episode, the hero breaks into a bad guy’s lair for no reason  other than to listen to his monologue, and the twist ending is exactly the same as last week’s twist ending.


A hard drinking, chain smoking, disillusioned private detective who uses magic and can commune with spirits might not be the most original comicbook character.  Hope...for the Future returns after a brief hiatus, with PI Mallory Hope hard on the trail of the kidnappers of a child star in an alternative 1940’s LA where magic and the occult are just another science. The evocative dialogue is full of the wit and self loathing of a Raymond Chandler novel, whilst the unique art of Jimmy Broxton makes the story feel like a 1940’s crime comic with a postmodern edge, with disjointed framing and dream imagery. Hope...for the future is like a kidnapper’s ransom note, each part cut from different source, combined into a threatening whole. Bad things are going to happen here, dark forces are at work, and the real story has only just begun.

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