Usually a repository for one-shot stories featuring 2000AD’s many science fiction-based characters, the annual Sci-Fi Special is something I’ve always appreciated even when I haven’t kept up with the weekly comic. The strips, by virtue of their one-off nature, didn’t require any investment in weeks of comics to understand what was going on, so it was always a good read no matter what was going on in the main comic.

Though one-shot stories run throughout the 2021 Sci-Fi Special, the same story thread runs throughout the different strips, which takes place in the Dredd-verse – giving it the feel of a crossover that’s very rarely seen in the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic.

It’s not entirely successful, however. Each story is pretty entertaining in its own right, but the crossover aspect isn’t capitalised on properly at all – few characters get to meet up or team up, which pretty much defeats the point of the concept in the first place. The story, which sees civilians possessed by a seemingly demonic presence, never feels like a huge, insurmountable global threat – instead, it just feels like lots of small, connected incidents.

Though it’s a decent length and the art – and writing – are of the usual high standard we’ve come to expect from Rebellion, it’s a huge disappointment that we don’t get a true Avengers-style team-up (which it was hyped to be in advance interviews too). It’s not bad, per se – it just feels as if the opportunity to use all of the Dredd-verse characters in the same story has been squandered somewhat.

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