2000AD, PROG 2122 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on March 13, 2019

Writers: John Wagner; James Peaty; Andi Ewington; Dan Abnett; Gordon Rennie
Artists: Colin MacNeil; Paul Marshall; Staz Johnson; Mark Harison; 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 reaches its explosive finale this prog. With the anti-robot march interupted by a suicide bomber, Judge Harvey attempts to regain control of the situation and save the humans who hate him. Elsewhere, the former Council of Five have plotted a coup, and Dredd isn’t a fan of plotters.

The showdown outside The Grand Hall is reminiscent of Dredd facing off against pro-democracy protesters back in the ‘90s. Could Chief Judge Logan be manipulating things behind the scenes, just as Silver did before him?

Machine War is a fantastic example of how Dredd, famous for unresponsive stoicism, can be gifted a real depth of character, even when doing very little.

Given John Wagner’s famously terse style of script writing, it’s likely the artist Colin MacNeil is responsible for much of the madcap look of MC1, and the small details that really build this world, giving humour to the idea of social unrest. Machine War has reopened the Mechanismo box for a new era where we, the audience, are acclimatised to accepting AI into our lives and trusting machines with our wellbeing. It’s an insightful political satire, wrapped up in the current obsession with “taking back control”. Machine War stands with the great Dredd stories, and keeps an otherwise lacklustre prog afloat.



Skip Tracer: Louder Than Bombs reaches a much less explosive finale with its twelfth episode.  There’s a scene in Naked Gun 2 ½, where Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Neilson), running out of bullets during a gun fight, resorts to throwing his pistol at a bad guy. Skip Tracer’s final showdown does the same thing, but without the humour. Not only that, but the gun hits a bomb, immediately disarming it.  It's not a comedy.  

Suspension of disbelief is fine, but Skip Tracer has been infuriatingly illogical. Its setting has been nondescript, its lead character uninteresting, and its plotting predictable.



Tharg’s 3riller: Tooth & Nail messes with the idea of an unreliable narrator...but maybe goes a little too far.  Following a gangland massacre, an innocent witness is tortured for information. But is he telling his captors all he knows? Tooth & Nail spent the second episode repeating what we were told in the first. Now, however, it spends its final episode explaining that all of that was wrong.

Tooth & Nail feels like an introduction to character, but after three parts we still know nothing about him. The action is well choreographed, although takes its time and feels like it’s trying to fill pages.



A few months ago, Sinister & Dexter had an episode where its two leads had a discussion in a restaurant. Sharp dialogue kept things afloat, as near identical panels were repeated for five pages, the duo simply sitting and chatting.

Writer Dan Abnett repeats the formula in Grey Area: Shoot to Kill, but without the same panache. Bulliet discusses the events of the past few weeks with Lyra, going over the events that exposed the Black-ops unit and lead to a massacre of civilians. Whereas Sinister & Dexter’s felt like an organic conversation between two mates, this feels less enjoyable, although it’s a nice round-up of events so far and adequately sets up the next arc.


The action leaves the frontline in Jaegir: Bonegrinder. Jaegir’s support characters move to the forefront, as they put together a plan to save their Kapiten from Souther forces. After all the gunfire, it’s a nice change of pace, building their universe even further.  Suitably dark, with a decent mix of intrigue and action, Jaegir introduces a new villain and heads off in an unexpected direction...

Our Score:


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