2000AD #2238 Review

by Gavin Johnston on June 30, 2021

Writers: John Wagner; Gordon Rennie; Rory McConville; James Peaty; Kenneth Niemand
Artists: Colin MacNeil; Patrick Goddard; Dan Cornwell; Paul Marshall; PJ Holden
Colours: Chris Blythe; Dylan Teague; Len O'Grady
Letters: Annie Parkhouse; Simon Bowland; Jim Campbell
Publisher: Rebelliom



Hitman Bick Bickford is tidying up his mess in Judge Dredd: Removal Man. After murdering a child witness in a shockingly brutal finale last week, he now has witnesses to that murder in his sights – a bus-load of old folks.

In another incredibly packed episode, Bickford is not just planning to kill some pensioners...he’s attending his wife’s life saving surgery and setting up a false lead, whilst Dredd is interviewing two separate witnesses and piecing clues together. This is five pages and throws in more plot and character that some comics manage in a month.



Roman slave-turned immortal Gladiator Aquila is back in The Rivers of Hades, which, we are warned is Book 1. Aquila and chums have entered the afterlife realm of Hades, and immediately find themselves facing off against massive foes and a large number of unhappy dead people.

I feel compelled to compare this to other 2000AD stories inspired by ancient mythology, where stories take up year spanning “Books”: Aquilla has interesting characters who speak like real people, a smattering of actual jokes, and some over the top action that is actually fun. It introduces and navigates its way around the realm of Hades without an info-dump, and despite that “Book 1” in the title, I’m not put off by the idea that this could continue for a while, happy that we are in the safe hands of Mr Gordon Renie and there will actually be a resolution at some point.



Judge Kirby goes all Jack Kirby in Departent K: Cosmic Chaos. The dimension-hopping judges are investigating the death of a Marvel-eque Planet-eater, and it involves a peek into a world of classic Kirby art. Artist Dan Cornwell and colourist Len O'Grady do a fantastic job of merging art styles and it feels like the last few weeks of set up have been for these handful of panels.



I think the main issue I’ve always had with Skip Tracer is that character motivation and logic seem to be primarily driven by the need for action sequences. This second episode of Eden is a case in point – the issue of characters proving their identityto each other could have been resolved quite easily, but is instead drawn out into a short action sequence where lives are endangered for apparent reason.

Along with that, we’ve a bit of world building which bastardizes the term “Black Lives Matter” for jokes which, given real-world reappropriation of the phrase, is not a good look.

These are all extremely talented creators, but Skip Tracer has just never appealed to me.


We finally catch up with the flash-forward beginning in Chimpsky’s Law: The Talented Mr Chimpsky. Noam is space-running for his life whilst an angry AI destroys a space-station around him. There’s so much character in this story – from Noam’s tiny hat to the jokey text-balloons and some nice flashback humour, it’s a huge amount of very clever fun which doesnlt shy away fro the darkest aspects of the character and world.

Our Score:


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