2000AD #2225 Review

by Gavin Johnston on March 31, 2021

Writers: Kenneth Niemand; TC Eglington; Kek-W; John Tomlinson; Dan Abnett
Artist: Tom Foster; Simon Davies; Dave Kendall; Anna Readman; Richard Elson
Colours: Chris Blythe
Letters: Annie Parkhouse; Simon Bowland; Jim Campbell
Publisher: Rebellion


Once again, a 2000AD story shows up at just the right time to comment on British current events. What should society do when those responsible for ensuring the law, break the law? For example, if a British police force were to brutally attack protestors and journalists and then lie about it, or a UK government led by a well known liar were to repeatedly break their own rules whilst a milquetoast opposition stood idly by and did nothing?

In the words of Scottish comedian Limmy: “wit ye gonnie dae, phone the polis? Mate...we ur the polis.”


In the world of Judge Dredd, those people get stomped on, hard.  Fascism might be evil, but it is certainly effective. It’s long been an established part of the Dredd-verse that Judges who break the law are sentences to twenty years in the toughest prison imaginable: Titan.


In Judge Dredd: The Penitent Man, former Judge Kyle Asher has completed his twenty year Titan sentence for killing a citizen and returns to the streets of Mega City One to quietly live out the rest of his days. Dredd, however, doesn’t like Judges who break the rules.

Writer Kenneth Neiman, who is so productive I’m not entirely convinced he’s not some sort of writer's collective, regularly produces comedic tales of Mega City life. The Penitent Man might have little dashes of humour, but it’s a dark drama. It’s immediately enthralling, as Asher compares the misery of Titan to the inconvenience of his current job whilst knee deep in toxic sludge, doing a job so awful that it’s not worth building robots for. There’s huge power in Asher’s quiet but bold assertion that he just wants to serve the city, and Dredd’s cold response.

And just look at that cover from Tom Foster: Dredd as the overbearing personification of a surveillance state, pondering Asher as if he were a piece on a chess board; Asher himself, a shadowy figure despite the spotlight, hunched as he quietly moves forward, possibly concealing something, possibly just downtrodden; the skull beneath him, like a shadow of the past he can’t escape, but also the symbol of the SJS, the Judges who judge the Judges...

Is Asher all he seems? Will it matter?



The horrific alternative history of The Dark Judges returns in Visions of Deadworld: You Give Me Fever, which is...a love story?

The Dark Judges are in the process of systematically murdering the entire population of the world much faster than neo-liberalism could ever dream of, but Judge Fire finds himself distracted by a woman in uniform.

Deadworld stories are always dark. Dave Kendall’s art, painted in rust and congealed blood, delivers a world of stacked corpses and things in jars. This tale, though, ups the awfulness ante, with Fire’s love for Sister Despair an awful spiral of necrophilia, setting folks on fire and drug addiction. It’s nice to see stories which present the iconic villains as sort of people, with needs and weaknesses. And the final panel is just a kicker.



Whilst things are dark and grimy, Terror Tales: Half Life is the downbeat story of Aaron Doplo, who loses half of his mind in what appears to be a violent assault. Aaron blames his brother, Jesse...but Jesse is long since dead.

Does a great job at building a growing sense of unease, as a series of assaults and mutilations follow. The final reveal is almost unnecessary, with the darkest twist coming about half way through.



Seema is still investigating the history of the Thistlebone cult in Poisoned Roots, and interviews the former cult leader in prison.

It’s an interesting aspect of Thistlebone that it focusses so much on the detail and individual character’s points of view, all whilst concealing so much of the bigger picture. The spider and fly metaphor than runs through this episode is a bit heavy handed, but in keeping with the overall Thistlebone vibe.



Our Score:


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