Comics: 2000AD Prog 2081 - Reviewed

2000AD is a British anthology series featuring several different stories from different writers and artists in each issue. The company 2000AD has been around for over 40 years and is probably best known for introducing us to the character Judge Dredd and his violent futuristic world. This issue contains five stories that feature Judge Dredd, Sinister Dexter, Skip Tracer, Damned: The Fall of Deadworld, and Strontium Dog, with a cover from Carlos Ezquerra. 

The first story is one-off featuring Judge Dredd titled  of the Dredd thriller “Judge Dredd: The Chosen One” and was written by Rory McConville, art by Dan Cornwell, colors by Abigail Bulmer, and lettered by Annie Parkhouse. A pop-up cult has kidnapped someone whom they believe prophesied to bring about the end of times. It's a quick story that could have possibly been longer, but is still a nice snapshot of the kind of weirdo and nutjobs Dredd faces on a daily basis. There is a really nice pseudo-splash page that resembles classic horror art and comics.

This is followed by “Sinister Dexter: The Gangbusters Part " and was written by Dan Abnett, illustrated by Steve Yeowell, colored by John Charles, and lettered by Annie Parkhouse. Sinister Dexter follows Finnigan Sinister and Ramone Dexter, the best hitman in the future city of Downlode. Continuing the story, Sinister and Dexter are attempting to take out a notorious ganglord while he's out sky-scrapping, a new sport that allows people to fly stunt drones in an augmented reality. Sinister and Dexter believe that this is the only way to get close to their mark, but it doesn't go as planned and now they're just trying to survive. This is the thrilling conclusion to this story and is a full-blown World War II battle in the skies that channels the British comic series Air Ace Picture Library from the '60s.

The third story is “Skip Tracer: Heavy is the Head Part 1” and was written by James Peaty, illustrated by Paul Marshall, colored by Dylan Teague, and lettered by Simon Bowland. Set on the floating city The Cube, in the twenty-seventh century, Nolan Black is a skip tracer hunting down wanted criminals and fugitives. The first part is short and sweet, but gives the readers just enough to want more. Just another day in The Cube, a world filled with violence, scum, and villainy. The art resembles the look you expect from the Dredd stories and is chock-full of action in its five pages.

This is followed by “Damned: The Fall of Deadworld Part 1” and was written by Kek-W, art by Dave Kendall, and lettered by Ellie de Ville. This story takes place on Deadworld, where Dark Judges look to exterminate all life. The story follows Judge Fairfax and his ward Jess, who has teamed up with a rebel militia after Fairfax was taken by the enemy. Jess may very well be the one person who can save the world from the chaos and death that the Dark Judges are spreading. The art from Kendall is simply stunning and combine with an interesting story, I'm looking forward to what comes next.

The final story is “Strontium Dog: The Son Part 8” and was written by John Wagner, illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra, and lettered by Ellie de Ville. Set in the future after the Strontium 90 fallout, Strontium Dog is a mutant bounty hunter that works for the Search/Destroy agency. He is currently on the Planet Protoz with a new hitman named Kenton, where the leaders of Protoz have presented them with a nearly impossible mission. The finale cleanly wraps up the mission on Protoz, as they've dealt with several bounties, avoided death, and resolved the restored order to the planet. Strontium Dog is masterfully crafted by the legendary Ezquerra (co-creator of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog) and his art is always so rich and unique, I'm kind of said that this story is over because there won't be more of Ezquerra's work in the next issue. 

2000AD is a must read anthology series for fans of sci-fi and futuristic stories that radiates zarjazosity. With multiple tales in each issue, there's always a little bit of something to appeal to everyone.