2000AD #2216 Review

by Gavin Johnston on January 26, 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



Judge Dredd: Desperadlands comes to a bit of a clunky end with its fourth part. Having travelled to South America and discovering a secret floating town, Dredd was captured, promptly escapes, and has a bit of a shoot-out. It’s been an entirely decent story, with a few too many characters with a few too many motivations, all of which lead us to a final stand-off. Ultimately, the art was a little too murky and confusing to carry the layered concept.

The artwork is unique and highly reminiscent 2000AD of the 90s. Background graffiti hogs attention across each page. Characters are frequently caught in strange posed, captured from unusual angles. Dredd is, for what can only be ill-fitting comedy reasons, wearing red stripy socks. It feels too much, too unclear.



There have been whispers that the Slaine saga may be drawing to an end, given writer Pat Mill’s concerns that scripting for Rebellion isn’t worth the money, and his possibly related habit of publicly insulting his fellow creators on social media whilst promoting his work.

If Rebellion do want to continue with the character, they could do worse than doing away with the script altogether – just have an artist as talented as Leonardo Manco draw Slaine fighting things for a few pages each week. Script-wise, Slaine: Dragontamer has little by way of characters, the dialogue is largely redundant and the villains are a thinly written political satire. Art-wise, a muscle-bound barbarian fights some dragons across five glorious pages.




You either die a hero, or live long enough to become a villain and in Hershey: The Brutal, Barbara Hershey has lived too long. The Brutal has given weight to a character who was always in the background, whose motivations and fears were rarely given move then a furrowed brow or slight snarl.

This episode she’s revealed to be a monster, using her last days on Earth to take revenge on anyone who has hurt her. Hershey’s mocking of Dirty Frank, who she has pushed into underground boxing matches in a bid to get close to a crime boss, feels genuinely hurtful. Meanwhile, Frank’s broken response of “do you think mental illness is funny” is quite shocking, coming as it does from a much loved character with a “comedy” mental illness.

The Brutal has slowly brought me onside with its slow moving but powerful characterisations. The colours on Simon Fraser’s art are something special, with monochromatic pages in various colours, each creating a different mood.



Proteus Vex: Shadow Chancellor may be a story about a multi-coloured, alien, secret agent who has teamed up with a shape-sifting, worm lady to battle some unknown aliens who are killing all the space whales...but what I love about it is how down to Earth it is.

With a few amendments, the script could be a contemporary spy-thriller about a secret organisation trying to blow up communication satellites.  For all the elaborate dialogue choices and a main character who’s a super soldier with an eye on the back of his head, it doesn't relying on those things to tell the story. Proteus Vex is wonderfully different, and this episode cranks up the action, interrupting the exposition with a sudden burst of violence.



Also packed with action is Durham Red: Served Cold. The siege of the small town jail is well underway, and the local sheriff has shown how capable he is of defending what’s his.

The whole thing is basically Assault on Precinct 13, the John Carpenter film from the mid 70’s, and this week’s twist does exactly what might be expected. Where it excels, though, is in Ben Willsher’s beautifully clean artwork, and in its character design. The mercenary character of Stillwater is...unlike anything else, and even the cannon fodder are afforded a bit of originality.








Our Score:


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