John WagnerJudge Dredd2000 AD
Chopper: Song of the Surfer
Medium: comic
Year: 1989
Writer: John Wagner
Artist: Colin MacNeil
Country: UK
Keywords: Judge Dredd, 2000 AD
Format: 2000AD 654-665, 84 pages
Website category: Comics UK
Review date: 27 November 2021
Bloody hell. Chopper returns in a story so strong that readers protested when Garth Ennis brought him back years later in a story for the Megazine.
It's Supersurf 11, but Chopper's not interested. He's living in the Australian radback with Smokie, a grumpy aborigine he met in Soul on Fire (progs 594-597). Smokie, though, says that Chopper will fly anyway. "Anyway, don't matter. I be dyin' soon. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow."
Chopper's still not sure what he wants to do.
It transpires that Supersurf 11 is happening in Mega-City Two, sponsored by blind billionaire Stig. It's going to be a bit different. It'll be going back to its roots, i.e. with murder attempts. Stig's lining the course with snipers, napalm and missile launchers. There's going to be a Porcupine Alley, aka. the Tunnel of Death. And, of course, this will be jovially covered throughout by jolly sports broadcasters, who'll do live interviews with the gunners and congratulate them on how many competitors they've managed to kill.
It's horrifying. Occasionally hilarious, but horrifying.
Chopper signs up.
It's a simple story, but I'm not sure if John Wagner's ever written anything better. America probably tops it, but it's close. Colin MacNeil's art goes from good (conventionally inked and coloured) to HOLY SHIT (fully painted). Up there with 2000 AD at its best.