The Weekly 2000 AD Prog #2290: Dexter Finds Malice In Plunderland As The Bullets Fly

by Richard Bruton

45 years and better than ever – it’s the UK’s greatest sci-fi weekly comic, 2000 AD and we’re here with The Weekly 2000 AD to give you a preview.

Another Andy Clarke cover – and it’s not just me, is it? I think that’s an old Austin Allegro – shooting’s the best thing for it!

This week, just four strips, with a double-length visit to see how Dexter’s coping with Malice in Plunderland. Alongside that, more on the increasingly hostile Special Relationship between MC-1 and Brit-Cit in Judge Dredd, more from Skip Tracer: Valhalla, and more brilliance from Brink in Mercury Retrograde.

2000 AD Prog #2290 is out on 13 July, so it’s time for a preview…



JUDGE DREDD: SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP – PART 2 – Rob Williams, Patrick Goddard, colours by Quinton Winter, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Rob Williams and Patrick Goddard continue the slow approach to this one, jumping back and forth to before and after the Sov hack.

It’s all about the rebuild of the Atlantis Port and the Black Atlantic Tunnel, starting off with a look into the joint hearing between MC-1 and Brit Cit… and it’s all coming down to money. Now, I love when we get a look behind the scenes at the politics in Dredd’s world, it’s something that Mike Carroll has been doing so well for so long, and Rory McConville, Arthur Wyatt, and Rob Williams have all been giving us more and more insight into what goes on in recent storylines. Personally, although I don’t know how many agree with me, I would love a series where we just go deep into the political aspects, maybe watch a day with Judge Maitland crunching numbers?

Anyway, if you saw the end to last episode, the conversation between Brit-Cit Judge Charles and Dredd here is merely the opening salvo in whatever the hell Charles is now up to in Atlantis base.


Like I say, it’s to and fro, jumping back and forth, and it’s bloody brilliant for it. Watching Dredd’s team mount an underwater incursion into Atlantis base after seeing Brit-Cit bosses and their shocked reaction to the vid of the Mechanismo units killing Judges back in The Hard Way is beautifully done.

It’s all rather turning into one of those great Dredds where things unfold at their own pace, the political ramifications quite huge, the stakes unbelievably high. A mighty fine Dredd is playing out.


SKIP TRACER: VALHALLA – PART 4 – James Peaty, Paul Marshall, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Simon Bowland

Okay, we’re right in the middle of all this now – Skip Tracer Nolan Blake and his daughter have been pulled out of their sanctuary by a group of those Blake’s previously helped and they’re now taking a long look at the remains of the Cube, currently possibly on the edge of a black hole and broadcasting messages about reaching Valhalla.


Yes, curiouser and curiouser… and something Blake’s obviously going to be pushed into going back onto the Cube to find out. It’s all about accessing the Central Algorithm, the AI behind the Consociation’s movements, and yes, Blake’s headed back into trouble.

So far, so good, all moving nicely towards the end here, as Peaty ties everything up and Marshall does his usual great job on the artwork.


DEXTER: BULLETOPIA CHAPTER 10: MALICE IN PLUNDERLAND – PART 2 – Dan Abnett, Tazio Bettin, colours by Matt Soffe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

So, in their very, very long-running away from the Downlode AI, Dexter and the gang have now found themselves in Plunderland, mob rules apply, which is why Dexter and Carrie are in the middle of a fire-fight when all they wanted to do was buy a set of wheels.

But, as with all that Dan Abnett does… things are not quite what they seem and Dexter’s managed to wander into a mob war where both sides seem to think that he’s there thanks to the Downlode bosses sending him there to help the ‘Crims’ beat down the ‘East ‘Loders’. Yep, it’s Yojimbo time for Dexter as the misunderstandings build and build (and seriously, if you haven’t watched that film, do it right now.)

So, with bullets flying all round, Carrie’s the one with the best plan…

And the best idea as well…


But no, Dexter’s leaning into full-on Yojimbo mode and planning on stopping this one before there’s enough noise that the AI gets wind of what’s going on.

It’s been a whole lot of fun watching Abnett going through all his favourite influences and genres here in Bulletopia and this one might be the best yet. And with Tazio Bettin, we have another great artist really coming into his own on Dexter.


BRINK: MERCURY RETROGRADE – PART 19 – Dan Abnett, INJ Culbard, leters by Simon Bowland

Well, well, well… another twist in Brink? Bloody hell. Abnett just keeps the surprises coming and does it so damn well.

Here, we’re switching focus from Mas’ investigative journalism and from the HabSec investigations, and following the cult agents we’ve seen glimpses of previously in Mercury Retrograde.


Except, well this is Brink, so yes, the twist in the final couple of pages of this is just a beautifully done thing and one that keeps the questions coming.

If I didn’t want you to see it for yourself, I’d give you a panel-by-panel breakdown of how Abnett and Culbard give us that slow reveal, each point in the journey making you question that little bit more. Oh, it’s a masterful way of upping the tension before the reveal. And then, once we get the reveal, we’re reeling and the questions come thick and fast again.

Oh, this is just so very, very good.

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