2000AD, PROG 2068

by Gavin Johnston on February 13, 2018

Writers: Michael Carroll; Pat Mills; Ian Edginton; Peter Milligan
Artists: Paul Davidson; Patrick Goddard; INJ Culbard; Rufus Dayglo; Clint Langley
Colourists: Chris Blythe; Dom Regan
Letterers: Annie Parkhouse; Ellie De Ville; Simon Bowland
Publisher: Rebellion


Dredd has had a rough time of it on his Russian vacation, but it looks like it's time to get back to work in Judge Dredd: The Shroud. After spending a couple of weeks looking weak, Dredd jumps into action in a fight against the indestructible Maul, with a fight sequence which takes up most of this week’s pages. It’s well handled, but again the Shroud feels a little forgettable. Its villain has barely appeared and has little by way of character, and the environment feels sterile.


These reviews have been highly critical of both Savage and ABC Warriors in recent weeks. Both stories are 2000AD icons of yesteryear, soaked in anti-establishment satire, adapting and evolving as the world changed around them.


Savage arose from Invasion, where Bill Savage fought to protect Britain from foreign invaders who killed his family. It has become over time a story of a deranged man systematically killing people for wearing the wrong uniform, raging against the secret force behind all conflict.


ABC Warriors was borne of Ro-Busters, a Thunderbirds rip-off which replaced puppets with a varied cast of robots, and became a tale of unageing soldiers, fighting to escape their programming and look for purpose as the world went mad around them.


Both stories have so much to offer in the modern era. As Britain desperately tries to reassert itself on the world stage whilst suffering from an identity crisis, Bill’s twisted patriotism is more relevant than ever. As social media is used to distort our perceptions, and high tech conflicts are waged for increasing impenetrable reasons, the lonely soldiers of ABC warrior should speak to us more than ever.


This week's Savage: The Thousand Year Stare sees Bill team up with Volodina, who was responsible for leading him into this trap in the first place, and Wolfie’s gang - despite their last appearance being all about why people like them should never trust people like Savage. Again, the whole episode is combat, as both sides fire a huge number of bullets at the exploding furniture. The villainous Howard Quartz continues to explain exactly how villainous he is. In terms of action, Savage is clear and expressive, but the underlying logic behind any of the character’s actions have long since been abandoned in favour of an extended and simplistic lesson in how awful it is that wealthy people profit from war.


Quartz still hasn’t learned his lesson in ABC Warriors: Fallout, where his inability to follow through on a plan is again evident. After spending weeks in which the robot cast fought each other for dubious reasons, we were provided with a brief and unsatisfactory explanation last Prog, and this week the whole plan falls to pieces with little prompting, so we can have a big fight next week as the gand gets back together. The robot cast have some great dialogue as they bicker and argue, but again, there is little logic to the plot and the story is no more than a diatribe, lifting slogans and ideas from now and shoehorning them into a lecture and a Trump-like bad guy.


Bad Company: Terrorists has also been a disappointment, but begins to suggest a new path in this Prog. Most of these characters died long ago in a story about loss, grief and the horrors of combat. Bringing them back felt a little cheap, reducing the power of what came before. The lurid artwork captures the madness of the original tales, but the wide cast of characters were little more than cameos. In this Prog, we finally get what could be a couple of big reveals as the truth behind the mission for revenge comes a little closer. Its been slow, but Bad Company: Terrorists could be worthwhile yet.


Brass Sun: Engine Summer looks and feels like it shouldn’t be in this Prog. With every other story packed with brash combat, the patient and simple storytelling of Brass Sun feels out of place. This episode in particular, with its clear lines and some of the most beautiful colouring you will ever see, feels so unusual that it's a little jarring. After the devastation of last week, which saw whole planets torn from the sky in soundless scenes, Wren appears to have found herself on another wonderful and unique world. Brass Sun is strange and slow and considered. This is going to be well worth picking up as a collected edition.

Our Score:


A Look Inside