2000AD, PROG 2045

by Gavin Johnston on August 22, 2017

Writers: John Wagner; Gordon Rennie; Emma Beeby; Pat Mills; Guy Adams; Lawrence Rennie
Artists: Dan Cornwell; Eoin Coveney; John Higgins; Jimmy Broxton; Karl Richardson; Cliff Robinson
Colourists: Abigail Bulmer; Sally Hurst; Dylan Teague
Publisher: Rebellion

It’s worth noting that Judge Dredd stories have appeared in almost every weekly issue of 2000AD since 1977, as well as in several other publications. In all that time, Dredd has never been hard retconned or rebooted, and time passes and characters age in real time. Those are a lot of scars and broken bones, and the most compelling aspect of Dredd stories of the last decade is how an ageing lead character who lacks emotional articulacy comes to terms with his mortality and the mistakes of his past.


Way back in 1982, during the epic Apocalypse War storyline, Dredd led a crack unit of eight judges to infiltrate a Sov-City bunker and launch a devastating attack on East Meg One, killing half a billion people and ending a brutal war. Dredd’s feelings on this genocide were examined during the Chaos Day storyline a few years back.


Judge Dredd: War Buds catches up with some of the other members of the squad. Several ex-judges are shown to have retired to civilian life, which is not an aspect of the universe which has been greatly explored. It’s certainly interesting and I’m intrigued to see where this will go, as the old friends decide to intercede in the life of one of their number who has been driven insane with guilt.


Judge Dredd: War Buds is bound to ruffle a few feathers with long term fans, but might require a bit too much knowledge of Dredd-lore to make much sense to newer readers. 


Alienist is reminiscent of old-school British comic Misty, which was aimed as girls but just as popular with boys, and presented horror and ghost stories with strong female characters. Paranormal investigator Madelyn Vespertine appears to have allied herself with the mysterious Society, whose dark intentions are gradually becoming clear.  Meanwhile, drunkard “Professor” Wetherall has escape his previous role as Vespertine’s unwilling sidekick and finds himself in the hands of another determined young woman.  The well crafted Alienist continues to be fascinating.


Old school in a less positive way is GreySuit, where John Blake continues to work his way through a hit-list of two dimensional villains. Last week required him to kill three security guards to break into the bad guy’s lair, but this week all it takes is a surgical mask to slip past security. He then has a really manly fight with another really manly man, who is actually on the same side as him, because this is how blokes express their feelings. There’s a simplicity to GreySuit that should be charming, but the clunky dialogue and lack of originality make it difficult to care about.


It’s the morning after the night before in Hope...for the future, which also pulls from the past to shape something new. Private Investigator Mallory Hope has his latest case fall to pieces beneath him as all of his leads turn up nothing and a surprise shooting only confuses things further. Like the best noir detective stories, Hope… has a flawed but determined investigator, a long list of credible suspects, and a slow burning plot that draws the reader into this haunted city.


Tharg’s 3hrillers: Mechastopheles throws us into a post-apocalyptic flooded world haunted by demons that snatch away innocents, and vast steampunk robots. 2000AD regularly runs single part tales, squeezing an adventure or mystery into four or five pages. The 3hrilers stories expand this to three parts, allowing for more world building and development, but ensuring that a welcome isn’t outstayed. Mechastopheles begins well, but has only just started warming up.

Our Score:


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