Comic Review – Garth Ennis -The Judge Who Lives Downstairs
2000 AD 1993 – Spoiler alerts.
Seat covers in FAB Café, Manchester
Picture belongs to author
One of the shortest but best Dredd stories. You would expect that having the most committed judge in the dangerous Megacity living in the same apartment block as you would make your home a really safe and happy place to be – wrong!
It isn’t attackers trying to get into the block to deal with Dredd who are the threat, but Dredd himself. He patrols the block as intensely as he patrols the mean streets. The occupants are reduced to fear and paranoia that he might come and check on their activities.
A few do fall foul of him on the patrol we witness. A youngster with his music turned up too loud gets off with a hefty fine. A man is arrested over an overdue rented video, and a boy lobotomised after previous incidents is checked up on. Two men are caught red handed enjoying the illegal contraband known as sugar.
He shoots a group of brothers for going Futsie but we are given no clues as to who they were or what exactly they have done. The phrase refers to snapping and finally going completely insane.
One woman has axed her husband in the head and cheerfully awaits Dredd coming to lead her away, which is surely going futsie in its own right, but most residents are just left in terror. The overall feeling is that to Dredd there is no such thing as innocence. He knows everyone is guilty and just needs to find out what it is that we have been doing wrong to be able to pounce on us.
The overwhelming sense in this story is of Dredd as a one man police state, with his apartment block as a microcosm of the outer city itself. It’s a fun story but also rather creepy. Dredd is both hero and a near Gestapo officer, protecting the city yet also its most frightening threat in his own right.
I am a Manchester, England based author of science fiction, horror, non-fiction, history and much more.Educated to degree level in the Humanities, I am an ex-member of an extremist religious cult, who helps warn people of the dangers such organizations present.I have been involved with historic re-enactment societies, and I am an award winning performance poet, dramatist and radio presenter. My first radio play, as author, director and actor, Wendigo Water, was broadcast in February 2015. I write on a number of websites, and blogs and often gets to talk on his life experiences in the media.Arthur Chappell