In 2000AD PROG 2180 from Rebellion, Judge Dredd chases Noam Chimpsky, Judge Hershey fakes her death, Aquila hunts evil doers, Survival Geeks beat on each other and Skip Tracer faces down Nimrod. All this and more in your next Major Spoilers review!
Writers: K Niemand, J Peatty, G Rennie & E Beeby, R Williams
Artists: PJ Holden, P Marshall, N Googe, P Goddard, S Fraser
Colorists: Q Winter, D Teague, G Caldwell, P Bowland
Letterers: A Parkhouse, S Bowland, J Campbell
Editor: The Mighty Tharg!
Publisher: Rebellion 2000 AD
Release Date: 6th May 2020
Previously in 2000AD PROG 2180: Five stories of mayhem and horror, from the hellish past to a radiation soaked future nightmare. Judge Dredd is still THE LAW, but joining him are a bunch of crazies including nerds navigating a Survivor-type reality show, and a gladiator gifted with immortality forced to feed his patron God the souls of the damned. This prog has got it all!
BRITISH IS BEST!
I once spent the best part of a weekend going through a friend’s collection of 2000AD. Afterwards, so soaked was I in the world of Judge Dredd, Johnny Alpha, and an entire case of crazed weirdos, I apparently woke up yelling I AM THE LAW!
2000AD always presents a wide variety of stories within its pages, and 2000AD Prog 2180 is no exception. The introduction to this review only barely scratches the surface of what is going on in this issue, such is the breadth and depth of stories, characters and events.
The anthology format has a long history, especially in British comics. Many of 2000ADs predecessors in the field packed their issues with multiple stories sprawling over many, many issues. That format is still followed today after forty years of publishing, and given the vibrancy and (dare I say it?) THRILL POWER of this issue, the comic is in safe hands.
Judge Dredd has long been the draw card, with a wide variety of stories – outright comedy and satire, all the way down to the grimmest of grimdark storylines (hard to believe this hard core dystopia can get any darker than its setting, but the mass death the frequently hits Mega-City One and its citizens is a feature of the title). Other characters, such as Noam Chimpsky, a hyper intelligent chimpanzee, testify to the vibrant creative talents of all concern, but the sly satire involved as well.
I won’t give you all a blow by blow account of the five stories in this issue. Impressions though, I have a few.
As mentioned before, the satirical hill Judge Dredd is built on is on full display in this latest issue. Chimpsky has fallen in with a band of freedom fighters, and has calculated their odds of success, and his odds of defeat. It’s a funny thrill ride involving trademark Judge Dredd ultraviolence to make a point, indeed, any point, on the way to underscoring the utter uselessness of tearing down the facsist dogs running Mega-City One.
Another favorite in 2000AD PROG 2180 is the Crisis of Infinite Nerds chapter, where nerds and their clones go toe to toe in a bizarre Survivor style showdown. Even if you haven’t read the previous chapters, the constant reference to touchstone genre social media controversies plants this story very much in the here and now, with a liberal dose of maximum violence as flavoring.
I enjoyed the last story in 2000AD PROG 2180, dealing with former Chief Judge Hershey, now badly injured and in some locale far far from Mega City One. Away from the trappings of the asylum that is that storied city, without the extravagance of the uniforms or weaponry, and depicted in sober black and white, this is an almost Dirty Harry-esque tale of police revenge. It feels very 1970s in tone, and a world away from the far future.
Finally, I really enjoyed part 7 of Aquila: The Burning Fields, which takes place in the shadow of an erupting Mt Vesuvius. Aquila, damned to immortality and required to send the souls of evildoers to his demonic patron, has fought his way to Herculaneum to find the entrance to Hades. This is a tale rich in violence, mysticism and myth, with a character cursed with an extra head who comments sardonically on the action. Very very odd, and very very good, this is the standout story of the issue.
BOTTOM LINE: STILL GOING STRONG
The beauty of any 2000AD issue is that if you don’t like one story, there are plenty others to keep you happy. Even better, 2000AD PROG 2180 doesn’t have a weak story amongst them. If you’re picking this up for the first time, it pays to go back and find earlier issues to catch up on the story, but such is the strength of the writing and art, that in and of themselves, all of these chapters stand very well alone.
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2000 AD Prog 2180
A compelling collection of strange tales from Britain’s premier comic book publication, 2000AD PROG 2180 is well worth your time and money. I think my love for it has been rekindled...