Sector 102 // Welcome to the Jungle- Ape Gang


Welcome back to the World of Judge Dredd and Mega-City One. This time we visit the Jungle and Don Uggie Apelino's Ape Gang, who you may remember from the Complete Case Files 01. So let us start with:


The Jungle

The Jungle was a slum in Mega-City One, it was full of large climbing frame like structures and was largely populated by uplifts (genetically enhanced apes), it was located in Sector 301.

History

The Jungle was a small sector built not long after the Atomic Wars to house the Uplifts, however it quickly descended into depravity and crime when the gangs took over, reaching its lowest point when Don Uggie Apelino's gang took over in 2099. Apelino's gang wreaking several gang wars with the East Side Mob before finally the Judges took a step in and arrested Apelino and his gang.

The Jungle was wiped out during the Apocalypse War, and was deemed inhabitable due to nuclear fallout. It was later rebuilt but remained a slum full of gang violence and crime with various Mafia family's constantly taking dominance.

Sector 102

Like many Sectors throughout the city, Sector 102 has a designated area for Uplifts forced to leave the Jungle after the Apocalypse War. Unfortunately the area rapidly followed the Jungle and descended into a crime riddled zone. To make matters worst following the harbor flood of 2134 during the Chaos Bug outbreak, the area became heavily flood and is now called 'The Swamp'. Traveling through this section of 102 is almost impossible without using the swings and ropes installed by the Uplift.

Important Uplifts- Don Uggie Apelino

Don Uggie Apelino was an uplift who ran the infamous Ape Gang operating from within the Jungle.

Personality
Apelino gained much of his character from the gangsters of the late 1920's-30's. He was cocky, rude and short tempered, nether the less he had managed to lead his gang well and quickly became a nuisance for Justice HQ.

History
Apelino rose to the title of Don in 2099, replacing Vito and turning the Ape Gang into a more violent force with full control over the criminal activity in the Jungle. Almost instantly Uggie begins to branch out, angering the East Side Mob as they moved into one another's territory.

Uggie and his two top men Joe Bananas and Fast Eeek confront Judge Dredd in his office and demand that the Judges stay away from their buissness, planning to start a gang war with the East Side Gang, Dredd orders them to leave promisng to come down heavy if they break the law.

A war emerges with both sides striking against each other, on the fourth day of the violence Dredd attempts to hunt down the instigator behind the attacks, Don Uggie himself. Dredd interogates Apelino's mother and discovers that the Ape Gang was planning to abush an East Side Mob truck, so the Judges comandeer the truck and counter ambush Apelino's gang. Uggie tries to make a break for it but fails and he and his surviving gang members are then jailed. to the Mega-City Zoo.

After two years in prison, he and his boys put out a hit on Dredd, offering a billion creds to do so. This prompted a large number of hitmen to try and put a bullet between his head, it ended badly of course and Uggie and his boys simply wound up in jail a second time.

During the aftermath of the Apocalypse War, Uggie and his gang escape from prison and return to the ruins of what was once the Jungle, however overtime their intelligence regresses due to radiation from the fallout. Uggie
still in control begins to kill any travelers who strayed inside his territory.

After a group of backpackers are assulted by Uggie's boys, Dredd investigates and plants a tracking device on Fast Eeek. Eeek leads Dredd back to the Don's camp and Dredd begins to execute the apes until it was just him and Don Uggie left standing. Uggie lets out a roar and attempts to spear Dredd, but is imedietely shot down, dying instantly.

Uggie's gandson Itchy breifly took the role of Don in 2121.

Group Shot.

Notable Gang Members of Sector 102's Swamp Skunks

Koko: Koko worked for Mega City Gas as a Security Guard. Having held down a job for so long Koko had earned himself and his family a nicer home within the area that would soon become the 'Swamp'.

Koko's good fortune all came to an end during the Chaos Bug as the Harbor flooded the lower levels of his neighborhood. Soon the lower level Chimps where climbing higher and bring crime to Koko's door. To make matters worst Mega City Gas fired Koko in favour of a needy human. With only his uniform left and his home over run by Chimps, Koko decided to rise up and carve out a territory within the New Formed Swamp.

Koko takes a lot of inspiration from Don Apelino preferring to take what he wants rather than wait like norm. Still sporting his old uniform Koko can normally be found wielding a Spit Gun, though he is still searching for a Tommy Gun!


Dotty: Dotty is Koko's long suffering wife. Used to a life of semi luxury the flooding and Chaos Bug flipped her life around. Now Dotty is 2nd in command of biggest Ape Gang in Sector 102. It's not all glamour though as Dotty spends most of the day chasing the younger chimps around and trying to keep the base of operations tidy.

Dotty is regularly seen sporting a hand cannon know as her boom boom!




Pancakes: Pancakes has seen a lot in his lifetime, as his family were killed during the Chaos Bug Disaster. Taken under wing by Koko, Pancakes soon learned that getting job could mean the end of Gang life. So Pancake befriended a local Shuggy Hall owner by the name of Angles Mcmanus ex-pro shuggy player. Starting of working in the kitchens as a dishwasher, Pancakes soon became the bar's bouncer enforcing a zero tolerance on cheating and fighting. The Shuggy hall has become a popular hangout in Sector 102 being regularly visited by the likes of Max Normal and local vidscreen stars.

Pancakes is dressed like a barman from the 1920's sporting a handgun and Old Faithful his trusty and rusty Crowbar.






Left Eyed Clyde: Currently the only Orangutan in the group, Clyde brings a form of much needed tech support (or at least try to). Clyde can usually be found in the workshop tinkering and repairing the groups weapons and has some success with Robot Monkeys (more on these another time). When called into the fray, Clyde is normally far from the action preferring to view everything through his left eye down the scope of his rifle.






Jinx: One of the first Chimps to join Koko's troupe. Jinx has a reputation for getting into trouble and having a fast mouth. His first crime was attempting to steal food from a vendor Droid, ultimately getting his paw trapped within the Droids mouth. Without the timely save by Dotty, Jinx may have lost a paw!

Now Jinx never leaves home without his bat and now seeks vengeance against all Vending Droids.





Fonz: Jinx's long suffering younger cousin. Fonz is more of a hanger on than a true member. Having followed Jinx to a local gang fight, Fonz was thrown into the deep end when he was attacked. Soon natural instincts kicked in and Fonz found himself biting the nose clean off his attacker! Scooping up the prone attackers Stump Gun, Fonz has become a one Monkey killing machine. Though never truly accepted into the Swamp Skunks, Fonz is treated as a member within the Swamps.


Bubble and Squeak: Definitely not the brains of the group, what Bubble and Squeak lack in smarts they sure make up in energy. Usually found running like mad chimps towards the enemy waving their pistols wildly. This pair never leave home without extra ammo as 90% of the time they likely miss. Koko never leaves home without these twins, leading many to believe he sees them as his young.




And with that we have reached the end. A big thanks for reading all the way through and if you have enjoyed this nerdy trip let me know below!

Beer Review 26 // Disco Soleil


Time to go travelling my fellow drinkers, so pack a bag and a hip flask!

After a little exploring and leaving the safety of Ottawa, Ontario behind, I have discovered my new favourite Beer shop in Gatineau, Quebec (15 minute car ride away, crossing the river). More about this shop another blogging time but basically it is a Mecca for Quebec breweries and I love the place! It stocks some amazing breweries and I am looking forward to trying them all.

One such brewery you can find here is Dieu Du Ciel. These guys have produced some of my favourite Canadian beers so far (see another beer here). And I was very excited, to say the least to find a full range of their beers so I had to grab a few (would be rude not too).

Which brings us nicely to today's beer. This beer caught my eye as it's made with Kumquats, something I haven't seen/tasted in a beer before. So let's get going.


Details
Name: Disco Soleil
Style: IPA
Brewery: Dieu du Ciel
Country: Quebec, Canada
Price: $3.25 CAD
ABV: 6.5%

Commercial Fluff:

This cloudy-orange beer is the taste of liquid summer sunshine. Refreshing kumquat immerses the palate with citrus and tropical fruit, while biting hops interplay with bready malt. A touch of acidity from the kumquat zest finishes things off with a smile and wink. Whenever you find yourself yearning for those hazy summer days and warm electric nights, here you will find solace.

Own Opinion

Sight: Pours a cloudy golden colour with a white creamy head. Looks tasty and matches the colour on the label.

Aroma: It has a very gentle aroma, slight hit of orange, melon and pine/resin. Not as bold as I had hoped.

Taste: Orange, quite mouth drying as well. It's very easy to drink, with a bit of malt coming through towards the finish. Drinking this kind of reminds me of Orange fruit pastels which is great!

Would I buy it again? Yes. Well all considered for my first Kumquat beer this is a success. Great packaging which seems to be their style, with a great looking beer inside. The flavours are gentle and not to over the top. I'm left with a nice taste in my mouth and would happily have more.


Have you drank this beer? What are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know.

Comic Review 14 // Harke and Burr

Time for a quick bookshelf comics review, this time it is a free comic that came with Judge Dredd Meg 350.

Harke & Burr

Where Monsters meet misfits!

The Cursed Earth is a strange and dangerous place, full of bizarre relics and even more bizarre collectors. Likeable rogues Harke & Burr cater to that trade from their antique store in the ancient township of Dunedin. But trouble is always never far away.....

Dark deals and comical escapades from writer Si Spencer and artist Dean Ormston.

This mini comic contains three stories from their short lived time 1993-95:
  • Antique & Curious
  • A Hamster Horror Production
  • Grief Encounters

The stars Harke and Burr have their names based on the infamous Burke and Hare the Body-snatchers. Harke seems to be the brains of the operation (I use this term very lightly), and is a top hat wearing, skinny man. Who loves a deal or a con and can be found bossing around Burr in their antique shop based in Dunedin. Burr on the other hand is a portly man in a bowler hat. Burr has been described as looking like an ape and seems to have a great array of one liners.

Their shop (never named from what I can tell) has a never ending supply of "antiques" and Cursed Earth "collectibles" and is located in the Cursed Earth Township of Dunedin. 

After a quick google search of Dunedin, it can be one of two places:
A town in New Zealand settled by the Scotts or the Ye Olde term for Edinburgh. Given the imagery that portrays Dunedin showing it to have a real Gothic feel about it, with gas lamps lighting street corners and dingy, dark, dangerous corners of gloom. Along with the Bodysnatchers link I would assume its a township located near Edinburgh - if anyone has further info I would love to know it!


The Stories

The stories are quick and carefree like a lot of strips in the early half of the 90's. Each plot contains our like-able duo, somehow trying to make money; but like all comedy sitcoms, it always goes horribly wrong from them. Think of 'Only Fools and Horses' given a 2000ad twist. 
  • In the first tale Antique & Curious a mysterious Mr. Karis, arrives at the store in search of all things Egyptian. After securing a large finders fee for a Sarcophagus. Mr. Harke sends Burr to follow Karis in hopes of selling more. But when Burr disturbs a ritual, he unwillingly releases three stockbroker mummies on the world!
  • In A Hamster Horror ProductionHarke is invited to the estate of Janus Erryati. A Veterinary Surgeon who is trying to sell all his antique mirrors. Whilst this is happening, Burr is given the task of protecting Mrs. McLoopy's pet Hamster, as she fears for it's life following the surge of hamster murders in the town. Could the two be connected? And why is the veterinarian located in a graveyard!?
  • Finally Grief Encounters sees Harke release his inner artist! Will he be able to wow and impress the local ladies and walk of the cash prize? Or will Burr somehow mess it all up?

Overview

This was a great little read, very light hearted and comical. If you can get your hands on it then I highly recommend you do. It may not have the fast action pace of Judge Dredd but it sure makes up for it in story telling. Plus the artwork is beautiful and creepy. For this comic I have to give it 3 Dredds out of 5.

Comic Review 13 // Judge Dredd Case File 03

What's this another comic review! Not only that but it's lucky 13.... Wonder what topic it could be about? 
I know, I know, I'm sorry it is always Dredd. But I just love old stoney face and with such a huge catalogue of work I'm never sort of things to write about. I'm returning to the good old case files and this time delving into Volume 3.

Commercial Stuff

Pages: 244 - Paperback
ISBN: 1904265871
Writers: John Wagner, Pat Mills
Artists: Mike McMahon, Ron Smith, Dave Gibbons, Brian Bolland, Brendan McCarthy, Garry Leach, Ian Gibson, John Cooper, Barry Mitchell

IN THE NAME OF THE LAW!The story of future lawman Judge Dredd continues in this third book collecting together his adventures in chronological order. This bumper volume features many of Dredd's most exciting cases including the first appearance of Judge Death and Psi Judge Anderson and the return of Satanus, first featured in the epic Cursed Earth saga.Featuring the writing talents of comic book legends Pat Mills (Sláine) and John Wagner (A History of Violence), this volume also features the art of Ian Gibson (The Ballad of Halo Jones), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) and Brian Bolland (Batman: The Killing Joke) amongst many other artists.

THIS VOLUME CONTAINS ALL THE JUDGE DREDD STORIES FROM 2000AD PROGS 116-154

Plus! BONUS STRIP Dr. Panic (2000AD annual 1979) Covers Gallery Author Biographies

The Strips
  • Vienna- Dredd's Niece Vienna (Daughter of Rico Dredd) has been kidnapped by Harry Carmen- a perp arrested by Dredd and sentenced to six years in the iso cubes for a computer swindle. With his mind plagued by the guilt of killing her father, Dredd allows himself to get captured and must slowly wait as time runs out to save his niece. Overall this story shows us how much guilt Dredd has over his history with Rico. We also see a more human side to Dredd, which we rarely see in the earlier strips. His final act with Vienna is heart aching stuff, as Dredd must choose to put distance between them if he hopes to save Vienna from future pain.
  • Cityblock Part 1Charlton Heston Block, home to 60,000 citizens. A city within a city and always on the edge of a riot. In this tale we join Dredd on a routine patrol, so what could possibly go wrong? A great funny little tale, that due to a chase scene we get to experience different levels of a city block. It's sad that it all started out due to a dropped piece of litter. But I'm excited to see more and see how it grows.
  • Cityblock Part 2- This time we visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe Block and learn about the huge unemployment issues faced by MC-1 citizens. Here the citizens risk jail time by destroying cleaning droids, just so that they can have a job. We then move onto Benjamin Spock block, where Arnold the old caretaker has been replaced by robot. Faced with too much free time Arnold has gone Futsie (Future Shock, a mad killing spree psychosis), using a Laz-rifle to snipe people. Lucky for them Dredd is about. Another great example of life in the blocks. You can't help but feel sorry for these jobless individuals. It also seems like Dredd feels sorry to and sentences Arnold Short to hard labour in a Cursed Earth Workcamp.
  • Judge Dredd Hyper-Cop!- It's a Walter the Wobot tale! Nothing to intense just a fun friendly tale of when Walter ended up in jail, after saving Judge Dredd's life.
  • The Forever Crimes- Dredd is visiting the The Forever Towers for the Semi-Dead to inform a customer that their son has died. After being awoken from suspended animation the lady confesses that her son was being blackmailed! Dredd is soon on the case and all leads point at the Forever Towers.
Highlight of this tale for be was when a perp jumped into what they thought was the laundry chute but turned out to be the garbage grinder!





  • A Tale from Walter's Scwapbook- Walter meets up with the other Robots at the laundromat and regals them with a heartfelt Dredd tale. Bit of a filler strip sadly, not much else to say.
  • Father Earth- The Doomsday Dogs are back and this time they aren't alone. A mysterious figure known simply as Father Earth, has managed to rally a horde of Cursed Earth dwellers and is marching on MC-1. Normally the Judges would send out a patrol to investigate, but unfortunately for them it's election time. So the city is full of petty crime keeping their gaze elsewhere. As the election debates continue, Dredd worries about the mutants. Dredd is soon proven right when the Doomsday Dogs take control of the Power Tower; a building that harnesses the lava flow of the Earth's molten core to power the city! Soon an explosion splits open the Power Tower and makes a man made Volcano, killing thousands in it's escaped lava flow. As the city is torn apart by earthquakes the southern walls crumbs and Father Earth and the Doomsday Dogs spill in through the gap. As the city falls into chaos and the streets flow with lava, only one team can reseal the volcano: The Holocaust Squad. The Holocaust team jump into the heart of the Power Tower, their mission is to close the back up valve. The only downside is their fire suits will only last 3 minutes inside this hellhole, all five men ultimately give their lives but do succeed in closing the lava the flow. With the streets no longer a natural disaster zone Dredd and the Judges head out to deal with Father Earth, But that won't be easy, Father Earth has taken refuge in the alien plant biodome. Protected by Man eating plants Dredd has a tough time reaching him. Unfortunately for Father Earth he has forgotten that he is just a man too! This was a great multi part tale, it was fun to see some old villains come back in the form of the Doomsday Dogs and the Cosmic Punks. It was also fun to see how the city of the future is powered, along with the introduction of the Holocaust Squad. Overall A+.





































  • The Guinea Pig that Changed the Law- Dredd is confronted by a talking cat and is told a murder is taking place. Dredd follows the cat to Mage-Labs and finds Monty a Guinea Pig on death row. Sadly Dredd's hands are tied and Dr. Galt knows it. Dredd leaves frustrated but can't shake the feeling Dr. Galt is hiding something. After doing some digging Dredd fears Galt is planning on re-releasing the common cold a disease that has been seen for over a hundred years. As Galt is on the verge of injecting Monty with the cold virus Dredd arrives and saves the day! Highlight of this tale is the talking cat. I love cats!
  • Night of the Ripper- Weather Control is having difficulties over district 6 and as a result a heavy fog has fallen over the area. Allowing a new danger to haunt the streets. Ignoring a Judge's warning two young women walk home alone, soon confronted by the legendary Jack the Ripper! Lucky for the captured women Dredd is on hand to save the day and discover Jack is merely a robot from the MC-1 Chamber of Horrors. What happens next is a fun tale of Dredd face off against historic horror characters before closing down a crime ring. 
  • Crime Blitz- In this strip Dredd is conducting a Code 59 (D): 'A Judge may enter a citizen's home to carry out routine intensive investigation. The Citizen has no rights in this matter'. After turning out a clean sweep on an apartment owned by a Mr. Sweet, Dredd becomes suspicious and orders a 24 hour watch on Sweet. Soon Dredd's fears were right and Sweet is seen handing a briefcase to a Sov-1 spy. After giving chase Dredd is riding the waves of Black Atlantic, heading straight towards a Sov Pollution cleaning ship. What happens next is pure Dredd high adventure, where he manages to survive being in the Black Atlantic, board the sov vessel and arrest everyone on board! Amazing strip and a possible precursor to the Apocolaspse War?
  • The Testimonial of Lips Lazarus- The strip starts off at the Spaceport with Judge Dredd bringing in an important witness from Luna-1: 'Lips' Lazarus. Lips has important info on the mob and is unsurprisingly on their hit list. To make matters worst, Lips is now only a head in a jar, kept alive by complex machines on his trolley. It doesn't take long for the mob to find them and we end up with a gun show. The highlight of this tale has to be the blitzers. Each man has a bomb implanted in them that can register their emotions, at the first thought of surrender the bomb goes off killing the blitzer instantly.
  • Sob Story- Set on the highways of MC-1, Dredd investigates an out of control Mo-pad (caravan home of the future, used by 18 million people). Inside Dredd finds a murder and robbery has happened and that it has links to a show called Sob Story. A show where the viewers send money after hearing a sad tale. Downside to this, is that the show gives out the contestants address. Meaning over 800 million people would know their location! And it would seem one of them was smart enough to realise this guy would be rich soon. Highlight of this strip is the fact that Dredd doesn't solve the mystery!
  • Sob Story Part 2- I weirdly couldn't find a title for strip but it is a continuation of the earlier one, so I went with Part 2 (original I know). In this issue Dredd is attempting to capture the Sob Story Murders. To do so he has coerced 'Otto Sump' to help him. Otto is the ugliest man alive in MC-1. Unsurprisingly he receives a lot of viewer support and money and soon attracts the attention of the the would be murders. But lucky for Otto Dredd is there to strike. Soon the gang are either dead or capture and Otto is left to count his money in peace. I know this isn't the last will see of Otto and I find this character super intriguing but more about him when it comes around. Overall sob story was a fun two parter, pretty much a filler piece but raises questions about real life shows, like Jerry Springer etc, That use unfortunates for their own personal gain.
  • The Great Muldoon- In this strip we head North of the city to an area that houses the 'Little Bowl'. The show today will feature 'The Great Muldoon', diving through solid steel into a water barrel! Of course Dredd is not so keen on the idea and attempts to shut it down; only to find out that Deputy Chief Judge Pepper has signed off on it. Muldoon's plan is to use a Particle Converter to allow him to pass through the steel. Unsurprisingly it doesn't go to plan and we are left we a cheesy Dredd one liner that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Sort strip, complete filler with a lack of any real story a bit of a let down.
  • The Invisible Man- Dredd and the City of MC-1 is being blackmailed by 'The Invisible Man'. As each crime gets bigger, so does Dredd's frustration. In one attempt to capture the perp, Dredd riot foams an entire square only to find out the guy was miles away within seconds. Lucky for Dredd he gets a tip of that leads him to Doonan. Doonan is a cleaner who works at 'Inter-Time', a company that specializes in time machines. But the machine being used by Doonan actually allows him to slow time around himself. So a hour in Doonan's time is mere seconds to Dredd. Dredd has only one chance to stop Doonan, can the lawman shoot faster than Doonan can push a button? I really liked this two part strip. It showed Dredd on a back foot and also showed him suffering from frustration. I want to see more of this!
  • Palais De Boing- A new craze is sweeping the City. Boing! The 22nd Century marvel that turns people into Human Pinballs. The Judges were soon to pick up on the possible dangers of Boing! so they enforced the rule that it could only be used in designated arenas called Palais de Boing. Basically a massive Pinball table. But soon Boingers, were practicing their sport outside and it wasn't long before deaths occurred. Cool fun story, once again a very short tale, but has a lot going on. Would love to see more of Boing! in the future.
  • Death of a Judge- Boredom is a common problem in MC-1 and can be a real danger in the city. When Boom, Nick and Zit felt bored, they formed 'The Hellfire Club' and imagined they were real criminals, going on a crazy drive. After being pulled over by Judge Harkness, things turned real ugly after Zit kills the Judge. We then discover that her training partner a Judge Bryce was actually in love with Harkness (something forbidden by the Justice System) and he wants revenge! Dredd soon has to make a hard choice save the perps or let Bryce break the law.
  • Night of the Bloodbeast- This B-movie inspired tale is set within the 'Enid Blyton' Block on the North side of MC-1. A monster is prowling her halls and only Dredd and can stop it. What we soon discover is that the monster is in fact a deformed Klegg, left behind after the rule of Cal. Unfortunately for the Klegg he was caged by some stupid citizens and left to get hungry and feral. Unsurprisingly his hunger leads Urk the Klegg on a killing frenzy. Great tale and a sad one, if the citizens had informed the Judges maybe Urk, would have been dealt with in a better more humane way. Instead Urk was made feral and left no choice but to seek out food.
  • The Great Plasteen Disaster- In MC-1 everything is made out of Plasteen: Roads, clothes Signs, buildings, cars, bikes, radios, everything! So when a Plasteen eating Bacteria comes off an inter-space vessel, Dredd fears the worst and rightly so. Soon citizens are becoming naked in the street, cars are crashing and roads collapse. As the cost of damages mounts Dredd begins his investigation into the cause. His first stop is the Headquarters of Inter-Space and it's owner KK Danvers. Danvers' lawyers refuse Dredd entry as he is in isolation following an operation. But when a mob bursts in demanding compensation, Denvers' isolation is soon broken and the billionaire dies within seconds. Turns out his new heart was made from Plasteen. This is another fun story that I feel is social commentary on our own plastic demands. What would happen to us if plastic no longer existed?
  • The Black Plague- Finally a mini epic tale. Out in the Cursed Earth a new strain of mutant spider has evolved. They're need to feed complies them forward eating everything in their path. Soon the mutie township is under attack and with the help of Dredd they plan to make a stand. After hours of holding back the horde the spiders give up and head in a new direction. Straight to MC-1! It's soon a race against time, can Dredd stop the spiders or is MC-1 lost. Great mini epic tale, had some fun muties in it and was fast paced as well as fun. Great tale.
  • The Day Barney went Haywire- 'Barney' is the name of the city hall computer. Given a soothing voice and a smile, he is the human face of MC-1 government. Barney helps the Citizens of MC-1 run their lives so when he goes wrong Grud help Judge Dredd. Again a very short one strip tale of Christmas coming early at Des O'Connor block. Barney is attempting to make all the citizens happy, but can humans ever be truly happy?
  • Uncle Umpty's Magic Candy!- Umpty Candy is the most popular candy of the 22nd century, so popular it can cause riots. Uncle Umpty has discovered the most addictive candy recipe, ever to be made. It's so addictive that even machines can't get enough. The downside to such a product is the withdrawals and soon the Justice Department is fearing the worst. With no answer to the problem the Judges declare that Uncle Umpty is dead and his recipe has died with him. In truth though, poor Uncle Umpty is loaded into a spacecraft and banished from Earth! Such a funny ending to the tale. I was expecting the candy to be filled with sugar or drugs, but instead it was just too tasty. The fact that machines couldn't resist either made it even more funny. Do feel sad for Uncle Umpty though.
  • The Boy who would be king- Albert isn't your normal four year old Mega City kid. With an ability to absorb knowledge, Albert was speaking 37 languages and making a fortune on the stock market. But soon his thirst for knowledge became a thirst for power. Having declared himself King of MC-1, Albert was forcing the Judges to ban New Years Eve or he would set off five H-Bombs. Pretty average tale, nothing too special. Feels like a first attempt at the PJ Maybe character, child genius gone evil etc..
  • Judge Minty- Sometimes when a Judge gets too old (a rare thing in MC-1), their Judgement and reaction speed becomes diminished. Sadly for Judge Minty these problems almost cost him his life. Whilst hunting down the Kovak mob with Dredd, Minty is out gunned and injured. Whilst recovering in hospital Minty has no choice but to step down and retire. Retired Judges have only two options open to them: 1) Become a tutor or 2) Take the long walk. Minty choses the Long Walk in the Cursed Earth and for the first time in 2000AD we hear the line: "Take Law to the Lawless- Until Death". This is great tale and shows the human side to the Judges. Better let this tale even got a fan made film that starts were the story finishes so follow this LINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Alien Seeds- A new craze is taking MC-1 by storm. Grow your own aliens! These aliens are a plant based lifeform, that start life off as a plant. In the second stages they become sentient lifeforms and need feeding. It's normally at this stage that citizens throw their pet aliens into the street, leading to a massive pest problem. Soon the seeds are banned, but the problem continues to worsen. It's left up to Dredd to find out the producer and shut them down for good.
  • Judge Death- He's finally here! Judge Death has arrived in MC-1. But not only do we
    get introduced to Death we also get to meet PSI Judge Anderson. The story itself is great and really it is just for showing off Death's insane powers- Hand through the chest, can't be killed, spirit form, traveller from another Dimension. What we do get from this tale is an insane amount of deaths, as Judge Death slaughters his way through a sector. With his physical form destroyed, Judge Death takes command of Anderson body giving Dredd a single chance to trap him. Spraying Anderson in Boing! (see earlier tale), Death's spirit can no longer leave Anderson's body, trapping the pair in a strange limbo. As most will know this isn't the last we see of both characters but it was a great way to introduce them!
  • Blood of Satanus- Satanus is back (first appeared in the Cursed Earth Saga). Lab assistant Ratfinkle, has dreams of being a scientist. Sadly for Ratfinkle he is just a lackey for the real scientists. But this all changes when he gets his hands on a vial of Satanus' blood. Slowly feeding the blood to his unfortunate neighbour Rex Peters, Ratfinkle watches as poor Rex transforms into a half man half T-Rex monster. Soon the T-Rex side controls poor Rex and with a feral need to feed; Rex kills his wife and soon Ratfinkle in order to control his blood lust. Soon Dredd is on the scene and hunting down Rex through the back streets of MC-1. This is a pretty sad tale as Rex and his wife were the rarity in MC-1, they were happy! They both had jobs, money and a stable life, but Ratfinkle ruined it for them..
  • Dr Panic (annual 1979)- Some madman is attempting to kill off the dregs of MC-1. Soon Dredd is on the case and is lead to a weird arcade where you can win fortune. But first you must wager your life! Pretty much a filler tale, that really shows it's age. I'm sure why it's in here as I know it's in the unrestricted files. Bad way to end the book.

Overview



Ultimately Judge Dredd the Complete Case Files Volume 3, is made up of filler tales. We've gone from multi issue Epics like Cursed Earth and Cal, to one strip wonders. I think what 2000ad was attempting was to show us life in MC-1 and I feel they successed. Most of the tales seemed rushed, but at the same time I enjoyed nearly all of them. Just wish they had maybe given them two issues per story instead of one. Highlights from this volume include: Father Earth, Judge Minty, The Black Plague and Judge Death. But compared to the last volume I have been left wanting longer tales, so I can only score this a 3 out of 5.

Sector 102 // The Undercity


Welcome Dredd-heads to another fluff update following on from the Organized Crime article. This time we delve into a part of the Dredd verse I really enjoy, the Undercity! This article is based off a blog entry by Mongoose Publishing, but is also taken from Dredd sites all over the internet, so there shouldn't be any issues having here. It's a long article but enjoy:

The majority of Mega-City One citizens have no desire to visit the shadowy world of the Undercity. Even in the direst of emergencies, most would rather face the radioactive wasteland of the Cursed Earth rather than the ruined streets and buildings far below the massive slabs of City Bottom. Many remember the terrible monsters that have occasionally emerged to threaten the City and believe that the dark underworld is crawling with similar creatures. Others are more straightforward and associate prestige with how high they live in the massive cityblocks – the very idea of living on City Bottom is repugnant; the thought of human life existing beneath the ground would fill them with horror and disgust. Most, however, simply do not know – or care – that the Undercity really exists, too wrapped up with their everyday lives to bother with semi-mythical places.

A small minority of citizens are prepared to risk life and limb by organising expeditions to the old cities. The adventurous, the desperate, or the just plain greedy, dare to venture below the City into the darkness despite the Justice Department strict prohibition of the practice. However, any visitor must be careful to ensure that they can exit the Undercity as easily as they entered it – City Maintenance squads quickly seal up any holes and fissures that they find, which can leave the unfortunate intruders stranded in the dingy caves and caverns! The Justice Department also have a vested interest in keeping the Undercity under control. Despite existing beyond their normal jurisdiction, judges are occasionally sent on missions into the darkness in order to eliminate some terrible threat or apprehend some particularly important fugitive. On more than one occasion, judges have been dispatched on the request of the Undercity dwellers themselves to deal with some new terror, but this is very much the exception rather than the rule. A chronic lack of judicial manpower has ensured that regular Undercity patrols are a thing of the past, but there is still a form of regular law enforcement. Judges can choose to take the Long Walk into the Undercity when they retire from active service. Each takes an oath ‘to bring Law unto the Lawless – until death!’ but the midnight world of the Undercity is very different to the bright lights of Mega-City One and only the most exceptional lawman can last for long.

Citi-Def Squad

Probably the most common visitors to the Undercity are members of the Citi-Def, intent on gaining some ‘real-life combat experience’ without the inherent risks of starting a Block War and the certainty of a long stretch in the Iso Cubes. Before the Apocalypse War, the Justice Department would allow carefully selected groups of Citi-Def access into the Undercity, and during the conflict the old cities even acted as a base for many units of guerrilla fighters, allowing them to launch lightening attacks against the occupying Sov forces before fading back into the shadows of the buried streets and buildings. Following the extensive rebuilding programme that followed the massive destruction, many of the old entrances to the Undercity were sealed over and the judges decided that to allow visitors to the subterranean world was simply too risky and difficult to administrate. Modern Citi-Def squads must take a more clandestine approach, sneaking in via the sewer system or even boring through the rockcrete foundations of their cityblocks.

Most Citi-Def squads take great pride in the fact that they are always ready for enemy action, and to this end they tend to over-prepare somewhat, often carrying awkward or inappropriate heavy weapons or specialist equipment when embarking on a training mission. However, there are still the small minority of units that believe that they can deal with anything that the underworld can throw at them armed only with a handgun and a flashlight. It is usually only Citi-Def Officers and Jaeger squad commandoes that will embark on training missions to the Undercity – the normal citizens that make up the ranks of the Citi-Def militia are either disregarded as unsuitable or are simply not interested in crawling about below the sewers, preferring to watch game shows and soap operas instead. A typical Citi-Def training squad will consist of an Officer accompanied by three to six Jaeger squad commandoes, equipped with spelunker suits and Nightrider rifles with high-powered flashlights. Most carry enough rations to last for some considerable time, but some will be expected to live off ‘the land’ – surviving on only what they can catch and kill. Most find that they would rather go hungry.

Undercity dwellers tend to regard visiting Citi-Def as little more than an irritation – no matter how stealthy and well drilled the part time soldiers attempt to be, with their noisy equipment and blazing lights they cannot help but be conspicuous. Most tribes and troggie clans are prepared to ignore or avoid the intruders, knowing that they will soon return home to their own environment as soon as they get bored or hungry, or get killed by something bigger and meaner than them. Others, such as the peaceful Philadelphian trog tribes, will offer to act as guides, skilfully steering the intruders away from anything really dangerous in return for some small trinket or piece of technology.

Criminal Cartels

Attracted by the fact that the Undercity is outside of the jurisdiction of the Justice Department, many large criminal cartels have had the idea of establishing a permanent base below the streets of the Mega-City. This is often a very expensive operation – transporting the raw materials to build a secure building from the surface world to the Undercity without attracting the attention of the judges is an almost impossible task that requires elaborate planning and an enormous investment of resources. Many fall at the first hurdle, attempting to bore a tunnel large enough to transport large construction vehicles and robots through the slabs of City Bottom. Naturally, this is a rather noisy and conspicuous business that rarely goes unnoticed!

However, an organisation that is able to establish a base is able to reap the benefits. The most typical Undercity base is used as a manufacturing plant, able to churn out anything from illegal weapons to drugs without much chance of discovery by the judges. In theory, the cartel should be able to flood the streets of Mega-City One with untraceable contraband. In practice, things rarely work out that way.

The Undercity dwellers themselves are a major headache. Unlike the temporary visits by the Citi-Def squads or the transient, nomadic fugitives and refugees, the criminal cartels clearly intend to stay on a permanent basis. Many tribes naturally take great exception to this invasion of their territories and will do their best to make the intruders lives as difficult as possible – sneaking in to steal anything that is not physically fixed down or simply murdering anyone they encounter.

A typical cartel base is a collection of modular, pre-fabricated buildings that has been constructed in a specially cleared area of an old city, or a repaired and re-fitted ancient ruin. Unable to connect to the City’s power supply, the cartels must ensure that there is a powerful generator available which includes more than enough power to run all of the outposts needs. Large lighting rigs illuminate the surrounding area, and 30 – 50 human guards are supposed to ensure that the Undercity dwellers keep their distance. A team of construction and assembly robots toil endlessly at production lines, churning out illicit contraband, which must somehow be smuggled into the Mega-City. Short of investing a huge amount of capital by installing one of the new teleport systems (which are unreliable even in the best of conditions), this will require a tunnel, which usually leads into some structure located on City Bottom – an old warehouse or Ecom unit is the most common – but the need to maintain a stable entrance into the world above is often the most difficult part of the operation, as the judges and City Maintenance alike will waste no time sealing the fissure without warning.

Refugees

Mega-City One has had more than its fair share of wars, natural disasters and invasions. Some citizens have become so accustomed to citywide death and destruction that they have established a well-practiced drill, which is put into effect as soon as the first signs of a threat appear. Thousands of citizens pack up whatever that cannot bear to part with and make for the relative safety of the Cursed Earth or the Undercity until the danger has passed, taking elaborate measures to escape over the city wall or burrowing through the slabs of City Bottom.

The residents of the Undercity usually avoid the refugees if at all possible – they know that these ‘upsiders’ will only enter their shadowy home in the most desperate emergency, and they themselves should hide should the threat extend below the Mega-City. Sometimes, though, the fleeing citizens find no safe haven as the crisis has a dramatic effect on life in the Undercity. The corrupting influence of the Sisters of Death was able to reach into the simple souls of the deep troggies during the Necropolis crisis, sending them on terrible rampages of death and destruction. During the Judgement Day war, the dead of the Undercity arose to attack the living, just as happened all over the entire world, and the most recent influx of refugees found themselves fighting side by side with the Undercity dwellers. Many thousands of troggies, human tribesmen and refugees were killed in the brutal hand to hand fighting. The Undercity has never quite recovered from the repercussions of this terrible battle – especially considering that some of the undead remained animated after the defeat of the necromancer Sabbat. The Apocalypse War resulted in the population of the Undercity almost doubling, as many of the citizens that had fled to hide from the occupying Sov forces had no homes to return to afterwards. Others discovered that the life of an Undercity dweller was more exciting than their own tedious existence and decided to stay, a few simply did not believe that the Mega-City One forces could possibly have defeated the apparently unstoppable Soviet war machine, dismissing any subsequent news reports as propaganda intended to flush them out of hiding. Some were still suffering from the Block Mania contamination and had become so involved in fighting the various Undercity tribes that it has simply never occurred to them to go home!

What constitutes a refugee party varies enormously, from a lone individual fleeing via the sewer system to a massive, hundreds strong column that has made its way beneath the ground by using enormous construction vehicles or robots to bore a huge tunnel. Many blocks have established an evacuation drill that is put into effect at the first sign of an emergency, but in the event of an actual alarm most citizens will panic, grabbing the first thing that comes to hand (no matter how inappropriate or useless) and fleeing. Most refugees will be unarmed, but about one in ten are equipped with small arms or hand weapons.

Fugitives

A citizen fleeing from the judges is often prepared to take desperate measures to avoid a long spell in the Iso Cubes. Those that can afford it make use of a perp runner, a criminal highly skilled in smuggling fugitives out of the jurisdiction of the Justice Department. Even though it is the closest ‘judge free’ area, few perp runners will take the effort to deposit their charges into the dark underworld. Boring a tunnel through City Bottom is a time consuming, costly exercise that often attracts the attention of the very people that the runners are intent on avoiding. In any case, even ruthless criminals find the thought of life in the Cubes preferable to struggling for survival in the Undercity.

Most fugitives that find their way below ground make their way unaided, squeezing through fissures or navigating through the sewer system. It is usually only the most odious of criminals who are prepared to try to make themselves a new life in the Undercity – vile murderers tempted by the lack of judicial interference hampering their ‘fun’. These individuals often join with the most violent Undercity tribes, frequently rising quite high in rank.

Tourists

Taking a tourist trip to the buried cities is a relatively recent craze. Naturally, the practice of arranging package trips to the Undercity is highly illegal, but this only adds to the attraction. For an extortionate fee, groups of citizens are smuggled below City Bottom, taking rooms in a once majestic hotel or famous landmark, while costumed entertainers provide re-enactments of historical events for the tourist’s amusements. Many of the visitors are attracted by the opportunity for sightseeing, but they are frequently disappointed – it is too dark to see anything in most of the Undercity.

Most of these tours are arranged by totally unscrupulous conmen, intent on draining their customers of cash for as little work or effort as possible. Others are more sinister – chump dumpers who simply abandon their charges in some dark corner of the Underworld to be killed by troggies or some monster, or even slavers who had no intention of taking their customers to anywhere other than a Cursed Earth slave market.

Even if tourists have been forewarned of the dangers of the Undercity, they are usually poorly equipped to survive below ground, often bringing no more than a vid camera and a bad taste in clothes. Some tourists are intent on a ‘hunting trip’ to the Undercity, loading up with heavy weapon and determined to bag a trophy – similar to the ‘dinosaur hunters’ that have been venturing into the Cursed Earth for many years. The Undercity is a very different environment to the Cursed Earth, however, which requires a very different approach – many hunters have failed to take this into account and have paid the price.

Most Undercity dwellers, except the most territorial and aggressive, tend to ignore and avoid sightseers. A non-violent exception is the pathetic troggie sub-breed known as wretches – the cadaverous, blind creatures tend to crowd around the visitors, begging for a few scraps of food. This approach does not normally work, but the tourists seem to regard the creatures as ‘charming’ parts of the scenery. Naturally, all tribes will react against any violent act, often tracking down and swiftly eliminating any group that seems to be a threat to them.

Treasure Hunters

Seedy bars and clubs in the Mega-City are full of tales of the riches of the United States left abandoned in the old cities before their entombment. In a city where any pre-Atom War artefact is considered a priceless collectable, many of the more gullible citizens are prepared to risk life and limb in order to visit the savage underworld beneath their feet. Many pongo’s can make a fine profit selling ‘treasure maps’ detailing the locations of valuable items. Most of these are simply copied out of old atlases, giving a vague idea of some famous landmark that may still contain some valuable item, others are completely fictional pieces of artwork that ‘guarantee’ the owner will find huge riches, but bear no relation to reality. A few are genuine, accurately showing a location rich in valuable items – Gloomingdales department store in New York is a favourite, as it once claimed that it stocked ‘everything’, or the old United States Mint in Philadelphia, still reputed to hold millions of credits worth of old coins.

Most treasure hunters are enthusiastic amateurs, who believe that they can conquer the Undercity equipped only with a spade and a flashlight. This is almost always a fatal mistake – most landmarks are occupied, or at least claimed, by the various Undercity dwellers, who take great offence to upsiders arriving on their territory unannounced to steal their property. Others come better prepared, with diggerbots, ultrasonic scanners and adequate lighting as well as a selection of weapons to keep the threat of the troggies at bay. Most realise that they have been hoodwinked and quickly give in – everything truly valuable that was left behind has long since been looted or broken in the years since the long night began. Some are more patient, or more stupid, often spending a fortune in time and money tearing old buildings or monuments to pieces seeking valuables that no longer exist. The United States Mint, for example, has been visited by so many different groups of fortune seekers that the fortress like structure resembles a honeycomb, riddled with tunnels and pits and verging on collapse.

A few treasure hunters actually become successful, finding a cache of priceless lava lamps or unopened self-assembly book cases, which he then sells for a fortune on the antiques black market. These exceptional individuals can make a very good, if illicit, living from their subterranean activities. Others make a living by scavenging illegally through the Mega-City sewer system, seeking valuables other citizens have accidentally flushed away. Even these ‘sewer scrapers’ are sometimes surprised by what they find washed up in storm drains or channels.

The Junk Prospector

The Mega-City antiques market places a great deal of value on artefacts from 20th and 21st Century popular culture – items that a contemporary individual would regard as rubbish or of short term worth. Ancient newspapers and books are often banned by the judges, which only adds to their appeal – old copies of the New York Times, comic books or one time blockbuster novels find their way onto the Justice Department’s vetoed list, boosting their ‘collectable’ value no end on the black market. Other items can be legally owned, but are extremely rare. Ancient craze items such as Rubik’s cubes were at one time produced by the million, but only a handful have survived into the 22nd Century. Even packaging is valuable – tins, bottles and even carrier bags can fetch millions. It is not unknown for a collector to kill in order to obtain some rare item that was simply thrown away by its original owner.

The absurd prices that some citizens are prepared to pay for an old Wellington boot or a Sylvester Stallone movie poster naturally attracts many perps into ruined Cursed Earth towns and cities, or the buried conurbations of the Undercity in search of valuable junk. The savage environment or its inhabitants kill many before they can find anything of value, but a few manage to locate a valuable ‘seam’ of junk. Some still speak of the legendary Filmore Faro, who rediscovered the town of Memphis in the Cursed Earth and made his fortune selling Elvis memorabilia to the Sov block. Some still speak in awe of his priceless coat made from ring-pull tabs, but always seem to ignore the fact that he was driven completely insane as his brain was fried in the radiation saturated wasteland before he chanced upon the old city. The chance of making a huge profit always outweighs the dangers.

The Justice Department

The forces of the Justice Department are usually the only legitimate visitors to the Undercity. Unlike most intruders, the judges make use of the great Undercity Gates instead of having to find a tunnel or fissure through City Bottom – although it is not unheard of for a team of judges to be dispatched through a hole, even if it only to see where it leads. However, the judges lack the manpower to do anything other than make occasional visits, usually only when there is some pressing emergency brewing in the dark underworld. Unlike the Cursed Earth, there is little or no monitoring of the Undercity, no circuit patrols or Hotdog Runs to give an occasional update of the situation below the city. It is often years between missions – the judges often find that any information that they possess is hopelessly out of date when embarking through the Gates.

Occasionally it is the Undercity dwellers themselves who request the presence of the judges. They are fully aware that the great judges are able to deal with threats that they have no chance of coping with – troggies have emerged to request help against the terrifying Vampire Cloud and to end the insane domination of Brad Evil, for example. The judges know that the troggies will only emerge into the hated light in the most desperate of situations and usually take their complaints seriously enough to investigate.

More often, though, the judges will venture into the Undercity to deal with some menace that has emerged to attack the citizens of Mega-City One. These threats vary from the relatively mundane – such as Slick Willy and his troggie cult’s abduction of dozens of upsiders to act as slaves in his mad plan to bring the Mega-City crashing down in 2099 – to quasi-supernatural monsters emerging to bring carnage to the roads and pedways – for example, the werewolf attacks in 2105 or the Holy Fiend murders of 2114. Most residents of the Undercity know enough to make themselves scarce whenever the judges venture into the Undercity – even the dumbest troggie realises that trouble always follows the black clad lawmen and he will need to find a safe place to hide until the shooting stops!

A judge’s standard issue equipment is usually enough to deal with anything that the Undercity can throw at them. With their access to the large Undercity Gates, the judges are also among the only visitors who are able to bring any vehicles with them, although anything larger than a Lawmaster will have great difficulty on the shattered streets.

The Undercity Long Walk Judge

No judge is expected to remain on the streets forever. Even the toughest lawman knows that, one day, their usefulness will come to an end and they will be forced to retire. However, it would be foolish to expect old judges to live out their final days lazing around in a Crock Block. Once retired from active service, there are still several valuable roles that they can fulfil. The most experienced are given the opportunity to pass on their knowledge gleaned from their decades on the streets by becoming Judge Tutors in the Academy of Law, training the next generation of Cadets in the statutes and application of the Law. Others are given administrative roles in Sector Houses, where they are able to offer guidance and assistance to their former colleagues. But there are always a few who find such tasks tedious. The only alternative is known as the Long Walk, when a retiring judge is given the
opportunity to leave the confines of the Mega-City to bring the Law to the Lawless in the wastelands beyond the Justice Department’s normal jurisdiction. Most who decide to ‘take the hike’ choose to venture into the radioactive wasteland of the Cursed Earth, but the blackness of the Undercity is also an option. The Long Walk Judges are practically the only official law enforcement that exists in the shadow-cloaked underworld. A judge who becomes disillusioned with the Justice Department is also given the opportunity of taking the Long Walk, but most choose to simply renounce their authority and become a normal citizen. Unfortunately, the threat of the Long Walk has been used in the past as the ultimate disciplinary measure, particularly during the reign of Chief Judge Silver and the second term of Chief Judge McGruder. Corrupt judges suspected of committing some terrible crime were permitted to take the Long Walk as the honourable alternative to a sentence on Titan or a Cursed Earth work farm – unfortunately, beyond the strict control of the Justice Department, these highly dangerous individuals tended to run amok. Some of the most notorious maniacs and murderers to wander the Undercity and the Cursed Earth were former Long Walk judges.

A judge taking the Long Walk is marked by a great ceremony. Twenty-one judges flank their departing comrade, each saluting him with a single shot as he passes. The traditional lament is recited as he exits the Mega-City for the final time. As the gates to the City clang shut behind him, the judge is alone for almost the first time in his life. From now on, he can only rely on himself – there is no backup, no comrades to come to his aid should he get into trouble. He has only his training and experience to keep him alive in a new, hostile environment. It takes a truly exceptional individual to survive longer than a few months as a Long Walk judge.

Like many habitats in the 22nd Century, the Undercity is a sealed environment. However, unlike the strictly controlled and regulated life support systems in the domes of Luna-1 or Viking City on Mars, the Undercity is an example of a closed environment that has been allowed to run out of control, with no monitoring whatsoever to keep the various life forms and habitats in a stable condition. The dark caverns have become the epitome of ‘survival of the fittest’ – only the strongest, adaptable or most numerous creatures are capable of surviving for any length of time. Isolation from normal sunlight has also had a dramatic effect on most plant-life – few species have survived the burial of the cities. Only a few mutant species of trees and flowers have survived in isolated patches. However, many new species of fungus and mosses have become common, thriving in the decayed darkness of the streets and buildings.

Structures

There is a huge diversity of man-made structures to be found in the Undercity. When the cities were buried, homes, offices and factories were evacuated and left empty. Lack of maintenance eventually took its toll and many ancient and historic buildings have collapsed. However, some have been appropriated by Undercity dwellers who have adapted them to suit their needs. Some have been reinforced into fortresses; others have been torn to pieces and used to make new buildings.

The Concrete Sky: The great rockcrete dome that covers most of the Undercity is almost universally known, incorrectly, as ‘The Concrete Sky’. In many areas of New York, the enormous structure is so far above the ground that it is almost impossible to see, giving the impression the old city is cloaked in a particularly dark night. In other areas, the roof is only a few feet above the ground to form claustrophobic caverns that constantly drip with freezing condensation. Huge stalagmites and stalactites are beginning to form in some areas – great, teeth-like growths that block large areas of the Undercity. The concrete sky possesses terrific tensile strength as it has to support the entire Mega-City, but individual segments are actually quite brittle. Many tribes have developed the ability to tunnel through the rockcrete walls, instinctively ensuring that the stability of the structure as a whole is maintained. The concrete sky is reinforced with hundreds of plasti-steel girders, which makes it far tougher than regular rockcrete.

Philadelphian Tunnels: Philadelphia was only the second United States city to be buried beneath the Mega-City, and the designers chose to use a radically different method. Colossal vaulted chambers were built over many important buildings and every street was converted into a tunnel to form a massive labyrinth before millions of tons of rockcrete smothered the entire city. Philadelphia became a claustrophobic nightmare of a city, regularly flooded by the stinking, fetid waters of the old Delaware River and overflow from the Mega-City sewer system. The tunnel and chamber walls are rather stronger than the concrete sky that covers the rest of the Undercity but is little more than a thin covering of reinforced vaulting. The rockcrete that covers Philadelphia is considerably thicker than the most of the rest of the Undercity – in some places over a mile. Some tribes of the stunted Philadelphia trogs are nevertheless capable of excavating their own passageways through the thick walls. Some areas have become a twisting, confusing labyrinth of low burrows interconnecting with the ‘official’ tunnels.

Sewer Tunnels: Sandwiched between the Mega-City and the Undercity is the vast sewer network, a convoluted warren of interconnecting tunnels and vaulted chambers. Some have speculated that the sewer system can be used to reach all areas of the Mega-City, but only a perp with an extremely strong stomach would actually use the tunnels as a method of moving from one place to another. The design and layout of the tunnels themselves tend to vary enormously from ancient, brick built three-foot high passageways to enormous reinforced tunnels and chambers to futuristic, plasti-metal clad shafts. However, before long every tunnel begins to look the same – dark, claustrophobic and extremely smelly. There are further dangers to investigating the tunnels – it has developed its own micro-ecology of savage life forms, from the giant white gators to millions of huge, vicious rats. There is further danger – explosive methane gas, an unavoidable side effect of the decay of sewage. Many Mega-City companies make a profit mining this gas as a valuable resource but pockets tend to quickly build up in hard to reach places. If exposed to fire or an explosion (such as a gunshot) a gas pocket will detonate as if it were a hand bomb. Sealed manholes are placed on City Bottom and beneath cityblocks at regular intervals to allow city maintenance teams access to the sewers – ordinary citizens must keep out of them at all times. Anyone found attempting to access the sewers without a valid permit will earn themselves a minimum of six months in the Iso Cubes should they be caught by the judges. Manhole covers are usually constructed from a durasteel alloy, firmly locked and sealed against any tampering.

Pre-Atom War Building: Much to the horror and bemusement of the citizens of Mega-City One, the majority of the shops and houses found in the old cities consist of squat, boxlike buildings a mere two or three storeys tall. Once, these were sturdy homes and places of business but the decades buried beneath the City has left little more than shattered, worn out ruins. Over the years, time has taken its toll and many old buildings have collapsed into ruin, leaving nothing but a hollow shells or broken rubble. Some buildings have survived more or less intact – these have usually been taken as homes by some of the smaller tribes. Broken masonry and scavenged materials are often used to shore up collapsing or damaged buildings, making even serviceable abodes appear to be little more than piles of rubble. A typical low-level building has two storeys, plus a basement or cellar area. The ground floor is divided into four to six rooms including a kitchen and a living room; the first floor is usually subdivided into bedrooms. The basement area most often consists of a single, large area. However, the function of any occupied building has long since been forgotten. Houses in Philadelphia suffered an even stranger fate – many were smothered in rockcrete when the tunnels were built, leaving only a single façade with only the occasional accessible room.

Pre-Atom War Sky-Rise Tower: The majestic skyscrapers that once dominated the skylines of many cities in pre-Atom War America would be regarded as quaint, low level con-apts by the residents of the giant Mega-City. Even the tallest surviving building in the Undercity – the Chrysler Building in New York – is less than a quarter of the height of an average sized cityblock. Nevertheless, these structures are still regarded as valuable resources and their ownership is usually hotly contested by many of the Undercity factions. Even collapsed or ruined skyscrapers are regarded as a valuable commodity – bricks, girders and rubble are always needed to shore-up the slowly decaying habitats occupied by the Undercity dwellers. A typical sky-rise tower stands fifty storeys tall, although only the mighty New York dome is capable of housing such a large structure. Many tall buildings are cut off by the concrete sky, their top few storeys embedded in the great mass of rockcrete.

Troggie Hut: Most varieties of troggies have become adept at constructing themselves primitive shelters. As there are no natural weather patterns in the Undercity, these huts are generally used as protection against the other residents of the underworld and are therefore reasonably tough. Troggie huts usually consist of a single room, about ten feet square with walls made from salvaged junk or the remains of an ancient building, torn apart and reassembled in typical ramshackle troggie style.

Philadelphian Trog Roundhouse: The Philadelphian trogs are rather more sophisticated than their cousins that occupy other areas of the Undercity, constructing their own, individual style of buildings that, strangely, resembles an ancient Celtic roundhouse. Philadelphian trog roundhouses are large, circular buildings constructed using ancient methods but with more modern materials – salvaged metal and brick rather than wood and leather. As they are nomadic, the Philadelphian trogs ensure that their homes can be quickly dismantled to allow them to move with ease – this is typically to escape from the floods from the black water of the Delaware river that wash through their tunnel homes on a regular basis. Naturally, these temporary and prefabricated structures are rather more fragile than a permanent structure.

Flora

Isolated from natural sunlight, very few plants thrive in the Undercity. Most forms of vegetation have withered and died in the shadows, but, like their human and animal equivalents, a few mutant species have adapted to live without ultraviolet light and heat.

Fungus: Unlike most plant life, fungus thrives in the cold, damp darkness that forms most of the Undercity. Edible forms of fungus form a staple diet of many of the less aggressive species such as the great albino pigs known as hawgs, and many areas have been cultivated into huge ‘fungus farms’ by tribes of humans and the more docile troggies. Other forms of fungus are less beneficial. Some are deadly poisonous, bringing a slow and lingering death to any foolish enough to consume it. Other species bring decay, consuming and corrupting any substance that it can gain a foothold.

Moss: Moss is probably the most common plant to be found in the Undercity. Moss requires little water and can grow almost anywhere. It tends to cover vast areas of the desolate streets and buildings of the old cities. Unfortunately, this plant has very little nutritional value, although many species – such as the pathetic sub humes known as wretches – are forced to eke a miserable existence grazing on it. Another form of moss is far more valuable – the so-called ‘glowmoss’ is a mutant species of luminescent moss, often cultivated on walls and ceilings in order to provide dim lighting.

Mutant Vegetation: Many mutant plant species have appeared since the burial of New York, although, as yet, none have become particularly common. Most tend to be weak and feeble, capable of surviving in the darkness or in the toxin saturated slime of the Big Smelly. Others are more robust – a few trees have managed to survive, and clusters of pale grass exist in isolated places. Others have developed along more sinister lines, such as the deadly Boston Strangler Vine and the parasitic Hoxton Creeper.

Dead Vegetation: Dead and decaying plants are by far the most common sight in most of the Undercity. The majority of the dark underworld was at one time rural fields and wastelands that were simply covered by the great rockcrete foundations of the Mega-City, leaving the unfortunate vegetation cut-off from vital life giving heat and light. Most of the Undercity is cluttered with dense mats of stinking mulch.

Fauna

Humanity is not the only species to make a home in the Undercity, although as always they regard themselves as the most important inhabitants. Many creatures and monsters endure life in the darkness. However, there are several other forms of creatures native to the Undercity.

Rats: Rats are by far the most common inhabitants of the Undercity – some have estimated that there are over a thousand rats for every human resident. The ruins of the Undercity make an ideal home for these tiny scavengers, with thousands of nooks and crannies where they can make nests and warrens. The rats’ prolific breeding rate ensure that the Undercity dwellers never go hungry – in fact, rat has become the staple diet of nearly every creature that calls the Undercity home. However, the rats are not merely defenceless victims. The creatures posses a high level of natural cunning, and occasionally ‘gang up’ on isolated individuals, gathering together in groups of dozens or even hundreds to form a deadly tide of squirming bodies. Usually, though, they will only prey on the weak and defenceless – babies and infants are their favourite target. Many a time an un-attentive Undercity mother will leave a cradle for a few moments only to find nothing but gnawed bones and a few pitiful scraps of flesh on her return. In some areas, the rats have grown to colossal proportions – some have spoken of savage monsters the size of large dogs, or ultra-intelligent, two headed monstrosities somehow guiding the others.

Gators: No one seems sure how alligators, usually only found wild in tropical areas, came to live in the sewers of many American cities, but their existence is undeniable. Although the larger specimens have emigrated to the cleaner waters found in the Mega-City sewer system, the old sewer networks beneath most of the old cities still harbour a healthy population of gators, and the swamp-like tunnels of Philadelphia make an ideal home for the fierce beasts. Naturally, the lethal, armour plated reptiles are greatly feared by humans and troggies alike.

Werewolves: Lycanthropy actually originated in the Undercity. No one knows the whole story, but a strange pool in central park was found to contain mutagenic bacteria that could transform a human into a savage, wolf-like hybrid. Before long, many areas of New York had become overrun with the terrifying, savage monsters. Fortunately, Judge Dredd was able to eliminate the mutagenic pool and most of the werewolves, but a few managed to escape. Although far less of a threat than in previous years, werewolves are terrible opponents. Many tribes will put a great deal of effort into wiping out a werewolf nest should they discover one. Werewolves kill anything that moves, but nothing can eat the flesh of a werewolf without risking transforming into a similar creature. However, at least one tribe – the savage Grid Iron Union – take advantage of this phenomenon. Gridiron grunts have been known to deliberately eat werewolf meat in order to spark the transmogrification, so that they can become the elite ‘dogfaces’, fearsome monsters that are loosened at rival tribes before a battle. The Undercity dwellers have never had access to the cure for lycanthropy, so the transformation is permanent.

So there you have it. Home to crazy, the dangerous and the unloved. A great setting for games of Judge Dredd. Hope you have enjoyed and drop me a comment.

Book Review 108 // Redemption by Darius Hinks

I'm still riding that Necromunda short story wave, and this time we reach Redemption by Darius Hinks. Now from the title alone, it is ea...