In terms of reviews, I'll start with what's a bit of a passionate love of mine in 2000AD. I've always been a sucker for a Dark Judges story from the very beginning. Those original Wagner stories warped my mind as a kid and left a deep love for those characters and that whole, in the main unexplored darker world they're from. I kept having that love for the characters as the years went on, paying off when we got to the magnificence that was Necropolis, surely still the standard for mega epics in comics as a whole, let alone 2000AD. That love for them stayed when their stories started veering into dark humor and then just flat out humor...where else could the writers take them, I'm guessing was the issue at that point. They'd taken them all the way to Necropolis, the only way was down from there, nothing could be more horrific surely. So I can understand why the Dark Judges then became fodder for more humorous stories as the horror of them was lightened, then lightened some more, then pretty much disappeared completely. Still loved them, regardless.
Then we started getting more serious takes on them again after some years. Wagner wanting to return them to the horrors they'd been. We got some cracking stories leading up to another high achievement in the history of 2000AD - Dark Justice. A streamlined story some might say, but effective and razor sharp. A haunted house in space with the Dark Judges being properly horrific again, all set to the incredible art of Greg Staples. I thought at that point we'd seen the final peak, no-one would create such a perfectly balanced mix of writing and art for the ghouls.
But then along comes Kek-W and Dave Kendall to happily prove me wrong. Inspired by genuine nightmares, they set about reinvigorating the characters again, achieving what I would have to say is for me the pinnacle of character work regarding the Dark Judges - more horrific than they'd ever been, while all the more understandable and revolting. From there, Kek and Dave progressed into filling out Deadworld itself and we are currently seeing a mega-epic unfolding week by week, story by story as they work their way through the exploration of Deadworld I myself had always wanted to see, with the horror of it so well thought out and considered, the art of it so perfectly tuned to the malevolence of it all that I struggle to think of a better written, better inked work in the history of the weekly progs. And they aren't even finished with it. The sheer thought behind every facet of the work, from the writing through the art and character design and through the lettering is staggering to me. The grinding terror of a world slowly changing and dying, of the governmental forces becoming a nightmare to the populace, to that populace itself turning against each other is something a lot of us can relate to in current times, if to a lesser degree than Deadworld is experiencing, but it's a hell of a mirror to hold up at this time.
For anyone who is yet to give the Deadworld series a go, rectify that immediately. It has, for me, rapidly become the greatest modern work of 2000AD and just may well go down as the greatest thing 2000AD ever produced. Kek, Dave, Ellie and anyone even remotely connected to getting this series to the page should be incredibly proud of themselves for it. A masterpiece.