COMIC REVIEW: 2000 AD Prog 2027

The beloved British anthology comic 2000 AD has been published weekly since February 1977. Prog 2027 (19 April 2017) of “the galaxy’s greatest comic” features Judge Dredd, Defoe, Brink, Scarlet Traces, and Cursed: The Fall of Deadworld, with cover artwork by Matt Ferguson.

Scripted by Judge Dredd maestro John Wagner and brought to life by the dynamic lines and vibrant colours of John McCrea and Mike Spicer, Part Four of ‘Harvey’ showcases Mega-City One in all its violent, polychromatic glory: simultaneously grim and garish, all muzzle-flash and flesh-burst and ever-present death as the dehumanised and the desperate stab and blast and inevitably go down – some swinging, some in a state of shattered surrender. As part of his assessment amidst this unforgiving urban nightmare, the rookie Mechanismo Mark 8 RV robot Judge Harvey conducts a zziz bust solo and – authorised as he is to “blow your bones away” – delivers a textbook display of unbridled violence, followed by some finely executed discretional policing. Although Dredd is unable to cite any flaw in Harvey save his “tendency for excessive leniency,” the result of his assessment is not well received.

With its righteously gun-toting, grimacing lone wolf protagonist, Defoe transposes the ‘spirit’ of Judge Dredd and Mega-City One to an alternative 17th century London plagued by zombies: think Old Stoney Face in a wide-brimmed hat, blowing away ‘reeks’ in lieu of perps, in unrelenting monochrome – that’s the world of Titus Defoe. In Part Two of ‘Diehards’, Defoe’s musketry sees off two pesky ‘reeks of renown’ – namely Tom Cox and Auld Reekie – set upon blaggardry of a broadly unholy and specifically flesh-eating nature. Even so, Auld Reekie manages a ‘take away’ bite from the forearm of Grub Street youngster Daniel’s poor mum, leaving Dredd – sorry, Defoe – with little choice but to bundle her off to “the Pest House” for execution … but then, he’s just doing what needs to be done: enforcing the Law. Written by veteran Pat Mills and illustrated by Colin MacNeil with letters from Ellie De Ville.

The unscheduled arrival of Junot Corp Acting CEO, Mariam Junot, at the possibly-haunted Galina Habitat Construction Zone provides freelance security consultant Bridget Kurtis with the opportunity to share her initial conjecture – earlier dismissed as “bullshit theories” by Head of Station Security for Junot Corp, Ludo Gentry – with the woman whose family stands to lose everything should the already catastrophically delayed construction of Galina continue unremedied. While more inclined to believe that the delays have arisen due to industrial sabotage and fraud, Mariam remains open to the ‘sect activity’ theory and grants Kurtis “full – and private – security clearance” to investigate the ‘haunting’. Part 5 of the ‘Skeleton Life’ series of Brink is scripted by Dan Abnett, and features the art and letters of INJ (Ian) Culbard and Simon Bowland respectively.

“We’re here to bloody our hands. To kill until there is nothing left to be killed. We shall become war!” A speech more rousing – and more inherently human – than Colonel Dravott of the Allied Fleet might give himself credit for, delivered moments before unleashing an orbital strike upon the Martians. Given the freaky Martian-humanoid-hybrid baby-making antics taking place down below on occupied Venus, a generous showering with Cavorite munitions seems both justified and timely. Part 5 of Ian Edginton’s Scarlet Traces ‘Cold War: Book 2’ is illustrated by D’Israeli (Matt Brooker) and lettered by none other than Annie Parkhouse.

Part V of Kek-W’s Cursed: The Fall of Deadworld has the ghoulish dark Psi-Judge Sister Psiren tracking Judge Fairfax from the Silver Creek Sheriff’s Station, Cimarron County, west into the toxic wastes of the ‘Fracklands’. Aided in the task by her ‘Deadhead’ zombie deputies – “corpse-A.I. … run off dead-fluid batteries” – it seems safe to say that the Justice Department of the soon-to-be-Deadworld has an acute “staffing crisis” (and some innovative solutions)! Meanwhile, Fairfax and his ward Jess Childs are enjoying some quality time with their captors – the Fifty-First Mobile Irregulars of the Democratic Resistance, including many veterans of the Federal Gas War – headquartered out of the Wall: “President Boone’s last great folly … [built] to keep out the muties and the Kartel.” Dark, depressing and atmospherically befouled in almost every way, thanks largely to the murky, misshapen renderings of Dave Kendall.

Title: 2000 AD Prog 2027

Publisher: Rebellion Publishing

Rating: 4/5

Reviewer: Paul Hardacre

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