Comic Review – Grant Morrison – Judge Dredd – Inferno

Comic Review – Grant Morrison – Judge Dredd – Inferno

2000 AD 1993 – Spoiler alerts.

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This was a landmark story for 2000 AD, in being the first and to date only time Grant Morrison was given total control of the creation of a Dredd adventure. It is a big scale affair, set over twelve issues.

When any Judges themselves have turned

evil, and get caught alive, they are not put in Earth prisons but banished to a harsh hard labour prison on Titan. This story features a group of judges who have escaped and returned to Earth, intent on revenge and conquest. They are particularly keen to avenge themselves on Judge Dredd.

The initial attack involves crashing unmanned spaceships into Megacity One and unleashing a plague that will give the citizens two weeks to live unless the judges can get to the antidote the convict-judges have.

Dredd takes guidance from a young Psi-Judge (as Judge Anderson is off-world). He also gets strong assistance from the most underused female judge in all the Dredd adventures, Judge Hershey.

There are some cruel touches. When the villains try to gain reinforcements by releasing convicts from the iso-block prisons, Dredd has the prison cells flooded to kill everyone within. We see one drowning man lamenting that his was only a minor car-parking offence. Too bad. Later when the Judges get the cure to the plague and realize there is not enough for everyone in the city, they are coldly pleased that there will be fewer criminals to deal with.

Dredd is almost killed by the evil judges but gets rescued by the most contrived and unexpected means of all, the return of his old servant robot, Walter (a Jar-Jar Binks level of annoying comic relief devise in the early comics).

There are impressive touches such as the Judges being completely forced out of the Megacity and Dredd’s final kick-ass attack on the rebellion. It’s impressive work, though it is flawed, and it is rather sad that Morrison has not been given such free control as yet since.

Arthur Chappell

 


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