Best of 2000AD Volume 6

Writer / Artist
Best of 2000AD Volume 6
Best of 2000AD Volume 6 review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: 2000AD - 978-1-83786-202-3
  • Volume No.: 6
  • Release date: 2024
  • UPC: 9781837862023
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes

A not unfair comment about The Best of 2000AD series is that while Judge Dredd always features, all too often other headliners are absent. The series ends with another volume where that’s the case, but it’s a real humdinger oozing quality from start to finish.

The longest sections are devoted to two of 2000AD’s lesser known gems, connected thematically by very different forms of horror and both previously issued as standalone graphic novels. Shakara: The Avenger concerns a remorseless silent assassin whose motivations remain uncertain in a world where after the introduction artist Henry Flint studiously avoids anything human. Robbie Morrison might have toned down the florid captions, but his concept of the vengeful personification of a dead race is striking and enables Flint to stun on page after page.

John Smith’s form of horror is social allegory. Cradlegrave is set in an English housing estate where almost all hope has been foresaken, and to which Shane returns after his release from a young offenders institution. While there are concessions to genre needs both Smith and artist Edmund Bagwell’s primary concern is a scream from the heart about how so many people in Britain are discarded and left to fend for themselves. Bagwell’s realistic art emphasises deprivation and squalor, and Smith delivers his finest work.

For all its legendary status, it’s a surprise to make the reacquaintance of Judge Dredd story ‘The Hotdog Run’ and discover it’s just seventeen pages, which is shorter than Ian Edginton and D’Israeli’s opening Dredd strip. It concerns Dredd taking cadets out into the Cursed Earth for their final training assignment and confronting the lost and horrific. Writers Alan Grant and John Wagner are creatively funny and Ron Smith draws the hell out of the macabre population and desolate landscape. Edginton’s tale plays amusingly with the idea of the outsider discovering the horrors of Mega-City One and the value of Judge Dredd in ensuring some horrors are kept at bay, while D’Israeli delivers solid storytelling and some great individual images.

Shako by Pat Mills and John Wagner typifies a type of strip 2000AD ran in early days that looked backward to Action rather than forward. It’s a violent thriller about a polar bear that swallows a piece of CIA technology and their futile attempts to retrieve it. It’s very 1977.

To date the series has ignored the one-off Future Shocks or Time Twisters, but ‘Chrono-Cops’ is among the best of them presenting a pre-Watchmen Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. It’s a cleverly constructed pastiche of time travel stories with a touch of 1950s noir detective TV, working as satire, yet going the extra mile to provide something to stand beyond parody.

That just leaves the regular closer as Jamie Delano and Alan Davis have D.R. and Quinch answer reader problems in their own nihilistic way.

A six issue run seems too brief considering the creative gems studding the 2000AD back catalogue, yet if big guns other than Dredd are off limits this is a great way to end.