The Weekly 2000 AD #Prog 2240: Dredd’s Bullet’s Got Your Name On It

by Richard Bruton

It’s the Weekly 2000 AD, Comicon’s weekly preview of all the thrill-power the UK’s finest sci-fi comic has to offer…

Cover by Toby Willsmer

A newcomer to 2000 AD grabs the cover this week, Toby Willsmer, winner of the 2000 AD Art Stars contest back in January – showing that 2000 AD is always looking out for new talent, as it always has done.

Now, onto the inside, with more John Wagner written Dredd – who said 2021 was a crap year? Yes, ‘Now That’s What I Call Justice’ begins this Prog, with art from John Higgins. And while we welcome that with open arms, it’s time to say farewell (not for too long I hope) to Chimpsky as the final episode of the excellent The Talented Mr Chimpsky’ wraps up this Prog. Plus, there’s more from Aquila, Department K, and Skip Tracer.

2000 AD Prog #2240 is out on Wednesday 14th July. Like we keep saying, it’s never been more important to support your local comics shop in these difficult financial times. They may have opened up, but so many are suffering badly from the effects of the pandemic. Do your bit by heading out there to pick up your Prog and so many other great comics!

All right then… Prog 2240 awaits…

JUDGE DREDD: NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL JUSTICE – PART 1 – John Wagner, John Higgins, colours by Sally Hurst, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Well, we had four great episodes of ‘Removal Man’ and now it’s straight into however many episodes we’re lucky to have of ‘Now That’s What I Call Justice’. More Wagner, any Wagner… that’s a great thing.

Well, it’s four episodes and done for this latest bit of Wagner & MacNeil Dredd. And it’s been an absolute joy of a read.

The set-up is simple: ‘View From The Chair’ is a tabloid TV show, currently running down the top 50 best bits of action in MC-1’s long history of the Justice Department. We open with a quick mention for number 11 and then it’s straight into number 10, and another mention for Judge Dredd and the Hottie House Siege.

Now, how this is going to play out, I’m not sure. Who knows, it might be Wagner counting all the way down, it might just be a framing sequence for the latest Dredd procedural brilliance from Wagner, joined wonderfully well by Higgins and Hurst here (fresh off the great work on Dreadnoughts in the Megazine). Either way, it’s more Wagner in Dredd.

So, there’s a siege at the Hottie House, where the Sector 34 Twelve are holed up inside. Although it’s in Sector 33 and there are only 11 of them – not the brightest perps Dredd’s ever come across, although the self-lobotomies don’t help them in that.

Classic Wagner set-up, classic Wagner dialogue…

Just classic Wagner really.

The Hottie House siege is just the prelude though, as Dredd’s off to something nastier, a family with a 35-year vendetta, a Judge gunned down, and a calling card for an execution.

Yep, we’re off to the races on another Wagner Dredd thriller.

AQUILA: THE RIVER OF HADES – BOOK 1 – PART 3 – Gordon Rennie, Patrick Goddard, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Aquila, the slave-turned-Gladiator-turned-immortal hitman for Ammit the Devourer sails into Hades along the Lethe, still searching for the end to his immortal curse.

It’s off the ship now, Aquila freeing the slaves on board, and off to battle – what else?

Of course, there’s infernal plans being plotted against him, you’d expect nothing else down here, after all.

DEPARTMENT K: COSMIC CHAOS – PART 7 – Rory McConville, Dan Cornwell, Colours by Len O’Grady, letters by Simon Bowland

Okay then, the beings who killed one of the Locusts, those massive dimensional gatekeepers, have met Judge Blackcurrant… it hasn’t gone well for Blackcurrant.

Meanwhile, the rest of Dept. K are deep inside the dead Locust, unaware (for now) of the threats outside, as they struggle with the weirdness inside.

We’re obviously building up to the finale… although the great thing with Dept. K is that you can’t see which way this one’s going to go. Great stuff from McConville and Cornwell.

SKIP TRACER – EDEN – PART 4 – James Peaty, Paul Marshall, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Jim Campbell

Well, this is awkward… Nolan gets to sit down and meet his family. And then goes and does the dick thing with asking the stupid question. Not good Nolan, not good at all.

So, a family reunion, little Eden showing something very strange, and there’s the return of something familiar and nasty to break up the happy home.

This time, Skip Tracer’s managed to break out of the story cycle it was in, all thanks to the surprising reveal of Nolan’s past indiscretions catching up with him. Hopefully, Peaty will keep going the different way here and give us more of what’s happening here.

CHIMPSKY’S LAW: THE TALENTED MR CHIMPSKY – PART 7 – FINAL PART – Ken Niemand, PJ Holden, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland

Just the seven episodes to Chimpsky – it’s not enough, I wanted more, such has been the sheer enjoyment of this one.

Chimpsky was always a star from the moment he appeared in Dredd, but it’s been great to see him go beyond the constraints of being a supporting player in another strip and into the limelight he so richly deserved.

And the final episode doesn’t disappoint, Chimpsky doesn’t disappoint. It’s all thanks to Niemand’s writing and Holden’s wonderful artwork.

They’ve made Chimpsky a huge hero, showing the empathy and compassion you just can’t show from Dredd, and it’s been so great to see, so enjoyable, funny, thrilling, action-packed… and all ending with Chimpsky back in MC-1 – that’s no spoiler though – we knew he’d be back there to continue the mission.

But that mission has a dangling thread hanging, addressed by Chimpsky right there in that last panel of the series. Just who is that secret admirer? And what’s it going to mean?

Well, thankfully there’s going to be a new Chimpsky series to answer all those questions. And hopefully, it won’t be too long.

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