2000AD #2213 REVIEW

by Gavin Johnston on January 05, 2021

Writers: Mike Carroll; Alec Worley; Pat Mills; Rob Williams
Artists: William Simpson; Ben Willsher; Leonardo Manco; Jake Lynch; Simon Fraser
Colours: Jim Boswell
Letters: Annie Parkhouse; Jim Campbell; Simon Bowland
Publisher: Rebellion



I immediately associate Will Simpson’s unique and memorable artwork with Banana City, a story published way back in Prog 623, in which Dredd goes undercover in the corrupt, future South American city of Cuidad Barranquilla on the hunt for a rogue Judge. It was a story that radiated heat and corruption, and created the template for the Columbian Judges, slouching and sneering in their multicoloured uniforms.

In Judge Dredd: Desperadlands, with art by Will Simpson, Dredd travels to the corrupt, future city of Cuidad Barranquilla on the hunt for a rogue Judge.

This is Michael Carroll’s latest “Dredd goes to...” story, a subgenre he is particularly good at. There’s a huge amount going on here, as several characters are introduced, a crime scene is investigated and a flashback explains the justification for Dredd being so far from home, even squeezing in the start of an action sequence. It’s a surprisingly complex bit of plotting for six pages, narrowly avoiding becoming as muddled as that title.

The art, however, made me go back and re-read Banana City. This is considerably less refined than the artwork from all those years ago, rough and seeming unfinished. Mr Simpson has produced a variety of excellent work for 2000AD, and in an ever changing style, but this is far from his best. If it weren’t for the very different style of each character and the narration explaining what’s going on, Desperadlands would be quite difficult to follow.




Durham Red: Served Cold is a fun, action packed distraction. The vampiric bounty hunter is trapped in a small-town jail-cell only for some bad guys, disguised as the scheduled prison transport, to turn up and start a blood bath.

It’s quite predictable so far, with Red and the local sheriffs teaming up to fight of the real villains. The story is light but it does nothing wrong, nicely setting up a bit of a firefight with the possibility of betrayal.




In Slaine: Dragontamer, a brutal action sequence is explained slowly over the course of five pages by an unreliable narrator to an uninterested audience. It’s the latest chapter in a wandering saga without end.

Slaine stories, though, are all about the art. Leonardo Manco’s depiction of the warrior Slaine going full monster-mode is immediately as good as Glenn Fabry’s, even if we have to wait for four pages whilst the image is teased. I’ve often felt that Slaine is scripted with an eye to the trade paperback market, taking up pages in the weekly prog with a story that moves very little, but will look great and read much better when published together in a glossy collected edition.


Proteus Vex: The Shadow Chancellor is unashamedly Space Opera. Weird alien characters discuss something called the Eremoloi Protonebula, and a race of Space Whales are tortured to keep a Galactic Empire’s internet running efficiently. This episode is all exposition. It’s incredibly silly, but delivered with a completely straight-face. Proteus Vex is wordy, with strange art, and set in an inscrutable universe...but actually quite fun.


Meanwhile, in Cuidad Barranquilla…

If characters are resurrected it should be for a good reason and so far Hershey: The Brutal is not that reason.

Chief Judge Hershey and undercover Judge Dirty Frank have both been killed off in recent years, giving endings to these long running characters that were touching, considered and important. Frank took his own life to save his friend, driven by shame and the ghosts of his horrific past. Hershey held Dredd’s hand at the end and said goodbye, putting behind her their past differences as Dredd quietly admitted, perhaps for the first time, that her opinion of him was actually important.

In The Brutal, Hershey has faked her own death in order to force a resentful Frank, who also didn’t really die, into a boxing career in order to bring down a mob-boss...something Hershey could apparently not do whilst running the worlds most powerful military.

Here, the two discuss dogs, the nature of humour and Frank’s suicide attempt. The Brutal looks lovely, but could be easily a story with new characters about undercover agents working in the shadows.


Our Score:


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