2000AD, PROG 2047

by Gavin Johnston on September 05, 2017

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

The Apocalypse squad recover from a botched heist in Judge Dredd: War Buds. Back in 1982, Judge Dredd led a squad of judges in a suicide mission to end the Apocalypse War. That story came to a conclusion with Dredd launching a nuclear attack on a foreign city. War Buds has shown how traumatic these events were for the other judges involved, and how grieving men have been damaged by that guilt. Characters slowly develop as the ex-judges try to save mentally ill Med-Judge Costa from being euthanized.  With Dredd on their tail, cracks emerging in old relations, and difficult question of whether Costa actually wants to be saved, the gang desperately attempt to flee.

Dredd himself has barely appeared in War Buds. Like a handful of important and interesting Judge Dredd stories, Dredd himself is an event rather than a character. It’s a skilful piece of writing. It takes great confidence to rely on unknown characters to carry as multi-part story whilst the title character is reduced to a supporting role, whilst at the same time seamlessly blending past and present, but War Bud pulls it off.


Masks slip and true motivations are revealed in The Alienist. Occult investigator Madelyn Vespertine and an agent of the dark-hearted organisation known only as the Society pursue Vespertine’s former assistant and a mysterious young woman through alternative realities. We’ve been on the run for several issues now, with plenty of world building along the way.  In this prog, we finally receive an explanation. The cruel purpose of the Society comes to light and the line between good and evil blur even further. It’s become clear that there will be no simple resolution to this story.  Eoin Coveney’s artwork has given us some beautifully emotive characters, with some lovely use of negative space in this week’s flashback sequence.


There’s a story that when adapting Raymond Chandler’s novel The Big Sleep into a film in 1945, the screenwriters were unsure which character had committed the murder which kicks off the convoluted web of a plot. At a loss, they contacted Chandler himself, who admitted that he didn’t know either. The detective/noir genre is often less about the events, rather the building of an atmospheric world and compelling, conflicted characters. In Hope...for the future, what began as an investigation into a missing child has fallen away, as the facade falls away and the dark heart of LA is revealed. Private Investigator Mallory Hope reacts in the way an angry man with a gun might be expected to. The violence here is, as violence usually is in the real world, brief and shocking. Hope...for the future might be set in a version of the 1940’s where magic is real, but it has never relied on that conceit. With minimal changes, this story could simply be a hard-boiled detective thriller.


There are more uncovered disguises in Greysuit, as superpowered superspy John Blake executes his cunning plan kill those responsible for turning him into a superpowered superspy, whilst destroying the establishment with his twitter account. If taken seriously, Greysuit is a cliché ridden mess. Its characters speak clunky nonsense. Its world is a bizarre mix of the real and the absurd. It lacks internal logic (this episode is set largely in a high security military fort which has at least two pubs and no military). Perhaps Greysuit was intended to parody a more simplistic comic era. If this is the case, then it’s simply uninteresting.


Three parter Mechastopheles ends with a last moment reveal which...might not make much sense, and feels like it has been added to give some sense of an ending. A demon trapped in a giant robot, transporting a gang of misfits across a flooded and demon infested wasteland, Mechastopheles has some lovely kaiju battle art and has built an interesting steampunk world. However, there’s been little in the way of plot, with nothing resolved. It’s characters motivations are only now beginning to surface. Rather than a three part story, this feels like a pitch for something larger. This is not necessarily a bad thing.



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