Prog 128 to 129 – Battle of the Black Atlantic

CF03Story: Battle of the Black Atlantic
Appears: 2000AD Prog 128 – 129
Issues: 2
Writers: John Wagner
Art: Ron Smith
Dated: 1 September 1979 to 8 September 1973

A good story that reinforces the harshness of Mega-city law and Dredd’s keen senses. It quickly turns into an espionage thriller and sees the return of the Sov Judges, who are still stereotypes. There are some wacky names such as Judge Waldo and the Sov Judge Molotov who only exists to make a joke about a cocktail. We do see the Black Atlantic for the first time.

Prog 126 – The Guinea-Pig that Changed the Law

CF03Story: The Guinea-Pig that Changed the Law
Appears: 2000AD Prog 126
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner
Art: John Cooper
Dated: 18 August 1979

This week’s Cause célèbre is animal rights. Wagner puts his own twist on things but stamps down hard on any kind of discussion with a clearly black hatted villain and Dredd making our moral choice for us. Perfect for a fascist police state n’est-ce pas?

2000AD Annual 1979 – Dr Panic

CF03Story: Dr Panic
Appears: 2000AD Annual 1979
Writers: (uncredited writer)
Art: Brett Ewins and Brendan McCarthy
Dated: 1979

This is uncredited and probably justly so as although there are plenty of Dredd elements, such as Walter and Max Normal, the whole thing lacks any kind of sparkle. Dredd utters nonsense about how synthetic caffeine is illegal and Max Normal speaks far too normally.

The premise of a suicide arcade where people risk their lives against deadly slot machines was done better as “You Bet Your Life” in Prog 25. This has a longer page count than usual but doesn’t do anything notable with it.

Prog 121 – A Tale from Walter’s Scrapbook 2

CF03Story: A Tale from Walter’s Scrapbook 2
Appears: 2000AD Prog 121
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner
Art: Ron Smith
Dated: 14 July 1979

The character of little Ralphy is an interesting one and maybe shares emotions with 2000AD’s young readership. You do wonder if Wagner was told to make Dredd appear more human or have him show more empathy as this and the earlier Vienna story both have him acting uncharacteristically paternally.

Prog 120 – The Forever Crimes

CF03Story: The Forever Crimes
Appears: 2000AD Prog 120
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner
Art: Brian Bolland
Dated: 7 July 1979

A stimulating sci-fi concept and a good hook but the tiny page count means that there isn’t enough depth for the whole thing to hang together. The relationships between the criminals aren’t satisfactorily explained weakening the whole plot.

Prog 119 – A Tale from Walter’s Scrapbook 1

CF03Story: A Tale from Walter’s Scrapbook 1
Appears: 2000AD Prog 119
Issues: 1
Writers: John Wagner
Art: Ron Smith
Dated: 30 June 1979

Having Walter narrate this piece is an unusual choice but seems to work in a Dr Watson sort of way. As well as allowing us to go back in time gives opportunity for commentary and humour at Dredd’s actions. But the whole thing is about the gag at the end.

Progs 117 to 118 – City Block

CF03Story: City Block
Appears: 2000AD Prog 117-118
Issues: 2
Writers: John Wagner
Art: Ron Smith
Dated: 16 June 1979 to 23 June 1979

These are two stories that take place in similar locations but other than Dredd share no characters. Why they were linked is a mystery.

The first is basically a big chase scene but with an insightful twist and comment about living in a police state.

The second is a similar warning about unemployment. No doubt a dig at the UK government of the day.