2000AD, PROG 2129 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on May 01, 2019

Writers: Michael Carroll; Ian Edginton; Guy Adams; Billy Higgins
Artists: Mark Sexton. D'Israeli; Dan Cornwell; Tony Allcock; Leigh Gallagher
Colourists: John Charles; Jim Boswell
Letterers: Annie Parkhouse; Ellie De Ville; Simon Bowland 
Publisher: Rebellion


Michael Carroll has a history of writing multi-layered, conspiracy laden Dredd stories, but there are few Dredd stories quite like Judge Dredd: The Long Game. Relegating the Big Man to a fleeting cameo, The Long Game was a complex tale of Mega City gangsters, their politics and codes of ethics.

Despite the Raymond Chandler-esque first person narrative from the protagonist, I still feel we know little about mid-level gangster protagonist Sage, other than what is splurged in exposition in this final episode. A web of relationships was formed with multiple characters, most of whom were expendable, and there is so much we still don’t know. The plot revolved around a heist from a morgue, lest a gangster’s corpse somehow reveal secrets, following a death that happened for unknown reasons.

Other than a handful of reference to mutants and sci-fi tech, this felt like a more grounded version of Dredd, assisted by the quietly efficient art of Mark Sexton.  It's clearly the first stage in a bigger tale, and feels like a building block rather than a satisfying story in its own right.



Scarlet Traces is another complex, conspiracy thriller...but you wouldn’t know that from this episode of Home Front, which is breathless action. Scarlet Traces is a sequel to HG Wells’ War of The Worlds, and after decades of slowly and surely drawing their plans against us, the Martians have again invaded the Earth.

D’Israeli’s beautifully organic tripods run at full speed through the burning wreckage of an alternative London, in an episode cast almost entirely in shades of orange and green. This is visually lovely, whilst also throwing in a nice bit of character building.


There’s a strange, dream-like quality to Max Normal: How Max Got His Stripes. It’s not just that the narrative drifts back and forth between the present, where Max gets drunk with his Chimpanzee friend, and Max’s youth, where a ten year old Max faces off against the man who made him Normal. The action takes place in an art gallery, and artist Dan Cornwell looks like he had a ball with the strangely detailed backgrounds, each telling a unique story. Even the dialogue is a weird, surreal journey, as Max and Mo tell their stories in rhyming couplets. As Young max realises his mentor isn’t quite the man he though he was, the origin story we never knew we needed is almost complete.


Pokemon, like most entertainment aimed at children, is a surprisingly terrifying premise, shielded by a shiny veneer of marketability (don’t @ me). Future Shock: They Shoot Monster’s Don’t They? takes the basic story of imprisoned monsters forced into battle for the entertainment of jaded onlookers, and turns the weird up to eleven. Trainer Liam McCarthy and his relationship with mutant-horse-thing Equus is the focus of this four pager, which finishes just as it gets going. Its a nice idea from writer Billy Higgins, but not one to stick in the memory for the right reasons.


An army of space-elves do battle with some honourable Orcs in Kingmaker: Ouroboros, just as everyone’s dad shows up. After riffing on Tolkien for a few weeks, Kingmaker pulls an unforeseeable twists from it’s pointy wizard hat. A sudden act of violence turns the story on it’s head, and things get super strange.  So much so, the last panel might completely lose readers who have only been paying a normal and healthy amount of attention.  So it goes...


Our Score:


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