Guess what it's still in it's bold striking purple jacket, ringing in at a massive 404 pages. The tales inside spann progs 208 till 270 (62 progs worths) and it covers the Mob wars, the return of Judge Death and the Apocalypse war years of 2103-2104. I love this era of Judge Dredd as we see great artwork, stunning stories and the rise and fall of some great heroes and villains. For this book I had to break it down into three parts as it is a long one and this part is ultimately the Apocalypse War arc.
Story: Block Mania Part 1- Block Wars are nothing new for the citizens of Mega City-One, but this day in 2103 Block Mania will rule the city. Whilst attempting to control one block such block war the Judge force find themselves surrounded by six blocks as they each declare war on one another and meet in the central park.
Highlight: Melda Dreepe getting a face full of four cred Freezy Whip that starts off the whole block war.
Story: Block Mania Part 2- The Judges finally bring about an end to the six way Block War. The end of the fighting comes at a heavy cost to both Judges and Citizens alike. Soon Judge Dredd discovers this is not an isolated event and that in fact most of the Northern Sectors of Mega City One are in fact in open conflict with one another. What could be happening?
Highlight: Pancho Villa block's mentally of going it alone against the five other blocks! Stupid, crazy and very inspired by the name.
Story: Block Mania Part 3- The Northern sectors of Mega City One are in open war with each other. As Dredd struggles to contain the fighting his long suffering informant Max Normal arrives on scene. The Pinstripe freak has news that his own block has succumb to the fighting, only problem is they have discovered away to kill hundreds of blockers in one foul swoop!
Highlight: Max Normal is seemingly unaffected by the spreading block mania, making Dredd realise it maybe a virus. Poor old Max is then force into medbay for a series of tests.
Story: Block Mania Part 4- Mega City One is in open revolt, blocks fighting blocks and now even the Judges are affected by the sweeping mania. Following up on a tip from Max Normal, Dredd is able to stop a doomsday weapon from reaching it's full potential. Unfortunately for a few blocks the help comes too late and hundreds are killed by the toxic cloud.
Highlight: Weather Control- Using their weather manipulating powers they are able to create a cyclone in order to remove the poisonous the gas from the sector.
Highlight: Is there a more sinister plot a foot? The last three panels sure hint at it!
Story: Block Mania Part 6- The city is in full scale riot and the Judge's system is being pushed to breaking point. Having received a tip off, Dredd heads to Frank Zappa block which seems to be at the heart of the fiercest fighting. Inside he discovers the possible cause of the problem and an overall more sinister plot.
Highlight: Even the Mopad drivers are affected and are fighting road wars all along the high speed megaways.
Orlock, top Assassin of East Meg One. Turns out the Block Mania is being caused by the city's water supply being poisoned. As the Judges start searching for the poisoner it is the heroic Judge Giant who discovers him.
Highlight: Seems like the fan favourite Judge Giant has come to the rescue of the city again. But in a shocking surprise Orlock gains the upper hand and defeats Judge Giant! A real shocking turn of events, up until now named Judges who died had very little background. This is proof that no character is safe in Mega City One.
Story: Block Mania Part 8- Orlock the assassin is lose in Mega City One. Having been foiled at the water plant he decides to up his game and attack weather control. Poisoning the rain seeding machine, Orlock damages the controls so the rain won't stop falling. Now all of Mega City One is being covered in the Block Mania drug.
Highlight: Weather Control- a huge hovering complex that has full control of the entire city's weather. Great idea until something like this happens.
Story: Block Mania Part 9- The poisoned rain is falling as Judge Dredd hunts down the murderous Orlock. As flood waters rush about them, it comes down to a classic fist fight. Assassin versus Judge. Ultimately there could only ever be one winner with Dredd triumphant but not before Orlock has poisoned him with a heavy dose of Block Mania! With some timely intervention Judge Dredd is subdued and when he comes round he discovers a cure has been found. Sadly for Mega City One it is too late as the real plot unfolds, this was all a precursor to an East Meg One attack!
Highlight: Orlock the Assassin- Such a badass! Kills 10+ judges and almosts takes Dredd in a one on one fight. Pure badass.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 1- The war has begun. East Meg One launches the biggest attack to be seen since the Booth administration. As Mega City One still reels from the Block Wars, the Sovs launch attacks from air, sea and space, catching Mega City One completely defenseless.
Highlight: The opening panel artwork of Dredd with a nuke cloud in the background. Very epic opening.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 2- As Mega City One's defences are pushed to breaking point, Sov nukes start smashing through the shielding . The first location to suffer is Sector 403, the sight of an earlier nuke attack by the Sov control agent Captain Shank. Soon the death toll is rising on both sides as nukes are exchanged between cities.
Highlight: Seeing the Texas City and MC-2 chief judges, such a shame both are cowards and agree to not aid Mega City One, the Shame.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 3- The war of the missiles continue with the Sovs detonating a load at sea in order to cause a massive tidal wave that floods the Eastern Sectors and destroys most of the wall defences. With the guns gone missiles are free to rain down on the besieged Mega City One.
Highlight: Watching Dredd's ship survive the blast, only to crash land in a block afflicted with Block Mania.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 4- With Judge Dredd leading the way, he manages to get the injured Chief Judge Griffin out of Betty Boop block and into the safety of the Tactical Command Bunker East. Here the news turns sour as Dredd discovers that Tactical Command Bunker West is destroyed and North is without a commander. As the Sov leaders demand the surrender of Mega City One they put on a display of power by completely wiping out some of the southern sectors.
Highlight: The medicine of the future. Using a rapid heal machine Dredd's broken arm is healed in minutes!
Story: Apocalypse War Part 5- The South of Mega City One is gone! 150 million souls purged in a moment. With such power on display Judge Dredd plays his final hand and launches all of Mega City One's Total Annihilation Devices missiles at East Meg One. As the missiles close in on their target the East Meg Judges active they're secret weapon an Apocalypse Warp Shield.
Highlight: Apocalypse Warp Shield- Seemingly takes all the power of East Meg to run it but it seems to make the Mega City One missiles disappear!?
Story: Apocalypse War Part 6- With their shields up East Meg is unable to communicate with the outside world, so they place their faith in 'Mad Dog' Kazan to lead the ground invasion. As this is happening we discover the fate of the Mega City One missiles. The Warp shielding has transported them to another dimension. On that Earth peace has reigned supreme since the start of time, sadly for them it is now the end as the TAD missiles land and crack open the core of that Earth.
Highlight: The final panel showing Kazan ordering the land invasion, is very atmospheric.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 7- The land invasion is in full swing. Whilst the Mega City One Judges fight a guerilla war. The Sov Judges deploy T-1000 Rad-Sweepers a form of giant tank that can crush all before it. Then if anything is unlucky enough to have survived they are soon mopped up by the Karpov MF7 Sentenoids, a multi limbed fighting droid designed for anti personnel fighting.
Highlight: Dredd's command post is now under attack by the deadly Sentenoids. It would seem that Dredd is trapped.
Highlight: Maria- Dredd's housekeeper is affected by the Block Mania and tries to enlist Walter the Wobot to the cause. Lucky for the housekeeper Walter is unaffected and ties up poor old Maria.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 9- Chief Judge Griffin has fled upon Justice 2, leaving a burning city behind him. As Dredd rides north to combat the East Meggers we learn that weather control has sabotaged their controls to aid in the hinnering of the invasion.
Highlight: As the East Meg Judges spray the block mania antidote over the city; Walter the Wobot covers the infected Maria's face, fearing the gas to be poison. Then as the warring populous recovers Walter realises is error. Now Maria is the only citizen left suffering from Block Mania.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 10- The East Meg forces have complete control of the Northern Sectors. Now Judge Dredd is leading fighting elements against the invading forces, striking quick and leaving quicker.
Highlight: After saving a bunch of refugees from some Rad seepers, Dredd informs them they have entered a rad zone and will be dead within the hour. Upon hearing this news the citizens request a clean death. With the request granted Dredd and his team open fire on the citizens ending their misery.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 11- As the East Meggers spread south they bombard the population of Mega City One with Hypnotic leaflets. As the hungry and weaken citizens read them they become affected by the message, allowing the East Meg forces to pass unopposed.
Highlight: Dredd's plan of cutting off the northern sectors is working. Soon only one junction stands open for the invaders- Dan Tanna Junction. Where it all began!
Highlight: Stub-gun: Potentially the most devastating hand held weapon ever made. Downside it can be dangerous to the user! It's basically a high powered laser gun that can cut through anything.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 13- Only four squads made it to Dan Tanna, as the east meg forces sweep over the area the teams start destroying the roads, bridges and walkways of the Junctions.
Highlight: Judge Soulster after being cornered by East Meggers, he heroically jumps over the edge and as he plunges to his death he cuts and destroys the remaining connectors bringing down the entire Junction with him. His final words are "For Freedom, For Justice, For Mega-City One"! Cheesy but cool.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 14- Dan Tanna is gone all that is left is for the Judges to escape. With the megaways gone the battles move from the towering city blocks to City Bottom, the base of MC-1.
Highlight: Mad Dog upon hearing of the destruction of Dan Tanna exiles his commander to Siberia for his failings.
Story: Apocalypse War part 15- The war for MC-1 is drawing to an end and it would seem Dredd is on the losing side. Sensing his soon to be victory Mad Dog Kazan unveils his true plans and orders the assassination of the Diktatorat. Now Kazan is the Sole Leader of East Meg one and her forces.
Highlight: We find out that Kazan has a clone-mother in Siberia, leading to the idea of him maybe being a clone like Dredd.
Highlight: Dredd's forces are building pits and executing any and all citizens who have helped the Sovs, this is a serious dark turn for the comic.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 17-Chief Judge Griffin has sided with the Sovs and now it is up to Judge Dredd to sneak into the Grand Hall of Justice and kill his old friend and mentor.
Highlight: Dredd sneaks in the same way as he did when he attacked the Mad Chief Judge Cal. A fitting way for sure to end another Chief Judges life.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 18- Dredd has assassinated his old friend Chief Judge Griffin. Not wanting to be used like his mentor, Judge Dredd takes his own life. Or at least that's what he wants the sov's to believe. Using a specially modified bullet, Judge Dredd is able to shoot himself whilst not actually killing himself. Coming too in a less guarded location, Judge Dredd fights his way back to the escape hatch. Cornered and too weak to lift the statue, Judge Dredd plans to sell his life dearly and sets fire to the Grand Hall of Justice.
Highlight: Walter seeking revenge for Judge Dredd's death actually arrives just in time to drag the weaken Judge to safety.
Highlight: Anderson and Hersey are back, I just know the next few progs will be crazy!
Story: Apocalypse War Part 20- Nine versus an army! Dredd plans to destroy East-Meg One in hopes of evening up the fight. Step one of this plan is capturing a Sov Strato-V.
Highlight: The Sov Judges are out matched compared to the elite of Mega City One. We get to see them take down twice their number with zero casualties.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 21- Using the stolen Strato-V Dredd's team use a twister missile to drill a hole into a Sov control missile bunker. As the Sov are distracted by the unexploded missile the Mega City One Judges are able to use the tunnel to infiltrate the bunker.
Highlight: Though not a bad strip it has no real standout moments.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 22- Dredd's team tear through the Sov bunker taking no prisoners. Soon they gained control of the op centre and 20 TAD missiles. Once launch codes secure Dredd orders them all fired on East Meg One, from this range the Sov city won't have time to raise it shields.
Highlight: A cold hearted ruthless Dredd. Seeking vengeance against the Sov's Dredd sentences 20 billion souls to a nuclear death!
Highlight: Izaak- Once the Sov second in command, his career has taken a nosedive die to Dredd. For his constant failures he is now just a Kadet forced to play russian roulette every day!
Story: Apocalypse War Part 24- With Mega City One's faith restored the fight shifts in favour of the besieged fighting force. Soon even Mad Dog's own generals are suing for peace. At this point it becomes clear Mad Dog is going get everyone killed, so Izaak the downtrodden East Meg Judge hatches a plan to bring down Kazan for good.
Highlight: Judge McGruder is back! She is heavily injured but has took command of the resistance fighters of MC-1. This will be her defining moment and lead to her becoming Chief Judge in the future.
Story: Apocalypse War Part 25- The epic finale. Released by Izaak and given the freedom to move unchallenged on the Sov Command Ship, Judge Dredd makes his way to confront Mad Dog Kazan. As Kazan watches his demoralised forces collapse around him, he regrets nothing and stands defilant before Dredd. For his crimes against Mega City One, Dredd executes Kazan and forces the unconditional surrender of Sov forces. The surviving Sov generals become prisoners for the most part whilst the rest are sent back home to the smoking ruins of their devastated city.
Highlight: The aftermath- we see SJS Judge McGruder become Chief Judge and following a chat with Dredd they wonder what worst fate is soon to befall Mega City One as prophesied by Judge Fey (Judge Child Saga).
Wow what a saga! 2000 AD have got so good at these longer tales. If you include block mania this tale goes for 34 weeks, that is rather impressive for any comic book firm. Highlights for me include:
- Block Mania and the building tension of wondering what the hell is going on!
- Orlock the East Meg Assassin- Such a badass, can't wait for him to reappear again.
- The destructive scale of the fighting at 30 billion people gone from the Judge Dredd timeline!
- The use of old characters- the return of Anderson and Hersey at the end and sad death of Giant at the beginning.
- The newly instated Chief Judge McGruder, we are getting closer to when I first started reading 2000 AD which makes me excited.
- Feel weird writing this...I don't have any! This story arc was epic and exactly what I want from a tale that feels half the book. Yes it was expected that MC-1 would win. But the how was a mystery.