Been away from Judge Dredd too long. It is now 2021 and time to dive back in and we are starting back with the unlucky volume 13. A bold green cover and a portrait of Judge Dredd himself on the cover. I get the tingles just looking, can't believe the last one was back in September, shame on me. As with these newer Dredds I am having to split them into parts as these books are beasts. So let us begin.
Breakdown on 9th Street - Our poor victims have taken a wrong turn and ended up on 9th street in sector 41. Not the most friendly area to be trapped in. As the unlucky couple await to be saved, we watch as the Mo-pad is slowly deconstructed by local gangs for parts. Will anything be left by the time Judge Dredd arrives? A solid story, I really enjoy the traditional stories of life in MC-1 over the grand end of the world stories. Sometimes it is easy to lose your way with Dredd and these tales are great for grounding the readers once more.
On Meeting your Enemy - Remember when Dredd beat Stan Lee? Well, his Dojo has been shamed and we get to glimpse what they are planning to have their revenge. Here enters Dragon Daughter of the Fighting Heart, a lethal assassin. We watch as she destroys a robot version of Dredd in a one on one fighting match and we are warned she will return soon! Old Stoney face, best watch out!
Banana City - Finally Dredd and Hershey are chasing down the rogue Judge Kurten in Banana City. They attempt a two-pronged attack, with Hershey using diplomatic means to get Kurten. Whilst Dredd goes undercover to track down the rogue judge. Of course, Dredd finds him first and we get a couple of standoffs before the real fighting begins. Unfortunately for Kurten, the comic is called Judge Dredd and he ultimately loses to the Lawman. A great dark and gritty story, I love the look of Banana city judges. Makes me want to dig out my old mini of one and paint it.
In the Bath - A comical one shot of two stupid criminals who decide to break into an apartment that happens to belong to Judge Dredd. To make matters worst Dredd is home and trying to have a bath. A silly tale that brought a smile to my face.
John Cassavetes is Dead - John Cassavetes is dead. A once-famous actor, filmmaker and star of "Johnny Stacatto", at least that is what this 120-year-old newspaper says. Benjamin Toenale has a secret stash of prohibited literature, why does he have to hide it? Why can't the people of MC-1 know this information? Who's knocking at his door?
A Total Near-Death Experience - A terror-inducing story. A citizen believed dead, resurrects! The only problem is they are halfway through the resyk machine. It's now up to Dredd to find out what the hell happened. A depressing tale of failed revenge and job loss.
A Child's Tale - Whilst chasing a perp, Judge Dredd accidentally kills an innocent citizen in front of her son. With the child in care, Dredd goes to visit three months later and reads a comic written by the victim's child. Quite a sad tale if truth be told seems so strange to have such a serious story.
The Confeshuns of PJ Maybe - PJ Maybe a thirteen-year-old serial killer, has finally been captured by the Judges. Whilst in the confession room PJ tells Judge Dredd everything, he admits and owns up to every murder he has committed. A fun catch up with this story and I am now left wondering if we will ever see PJ Maybe again?
An Elm Street Nightmare - A full-on rip of Nightmare on Elm Street. We follow a killer dressed like Freddy Kruger as he attempts to strike fear in a young couple. Of course, Dredd arrives to save the day and leaves the killer dead in the street. But the story doesn't end there. The killer comes back alive and runs off into the darkness, at this point the story within the story comes out to play, and a drunk street person wakes up announcing he will never drink again. A silly tale, cashing in the Nightmare franchise of the '80s.
Dead Juve's Curve - A story about young Juves and the risk of street racing. The infamous Dead Juve's Curve has claimed many a Juve. This time one will survive but what is the likely hood of this Juve surviving Cube time. A beautifully drawn story, the tale seemed a bit straight forward but still enjoyable.
And the Wind Cried - A sad love story set in a destroyed sector, that was nuked by the Sovs. During a routine patrol Judges, Dredd and Anderson are travelling the wasted landscape, when Anderson hears the voice of a ghost. Here starts the tale of the last ghost and the last living human of the sector. A great story, lots of emotions involved in this one and the power that love has on the human spirit. I am surprised this tale does not appear in the Anderson series.
Curse of Spider Man - A while back we heard of the spider virus a lethal virus that turns the human into a giant spider. Well, sadly for Dilip he has just been told he has it. In an attempt to get double the payout from the insurance Dilip attempts to get accidentally killed. Following multiple failed attempts Dilip kills a Juve and is arrested by Judge Dredd. As the story wraps up we discover that Dilip was wrongly diagnosed and will now be spending life in the cubes.
The Amazing Ant Man - Got ourselves a double creature feature. A classic tongue in cheek as 2000 AD take a pop at Marvel Ant-Man. In the 2000 AD verse, Henry Pymm has three pet Cursed Earth Ants. After they kill an umpty dealer they go wild on the sugar rush and it is up to Dredd to save the day. Beautiful artwork by Carlos Ezquerra, his style of art just sums up the Dredd world so much for me.
The Great Little U-Front Disaster - Today is Dernot Wrasse's Birthday and his son has made him a custom pair of U-Fronts with built-in heating. Everything was going okay until they malfunction and in a fit of panic Dernot strips off and launches the now on fire U-Fronts into the mega way. 5 minutes later and massive explosion 19 lay dead. Comical story and very MC-1.
Playaday - A kids tv show goes down the drain during live filming when the lead discovers his wife with a co-star. Soon the cast is throwing punching and Dredd is called in. A silly tale, with some very weird art choices. The artist seems to change drawing styles halfway through for a few panels and then swaps back. Strange?
Over the top - A bit of a dull piece about the power and brutality of the Judges. I feel this is just the beginning of a bigger story. I feel we will just have to wait and see.
A Monkey's Tale - What is with the depressing stories in this issue. We story of the lucky man. His back was broken in seventeen places and his girlfriend was killed after a batguilder fell on them. Now crippled the man is electronically connected to a monkey. Using the monkey he attempts to trick Dredd into shooting him, unfortunately for all involved the monkey loved her owner and saves him from the bullets, leaving the man alone and still trapped in his body. Great story but very sad.
Confessions of a Rottweiller - A classic weird tale, man loves wife, the wife is cheating with the hairdresser. The wife convinces the man to have a brain transfer into a Rottweiller, wife makes the dog a pet and starts openly seeing the hairdresser. Rottweiller loses it and kills them both! Such a weird and funny tale.
The Shooting Match - Dredd is up against a new recruit on the shooting test at the Academy of Law. Both did the same test with Dredd coming second! But who is the new recruit? Finally, we are seeing Judge Kraken in action. It feels like forever since we last saw him, which can only mean the Dark Judges are coming!
Politics - Vanilla Batcave is a vocal pro-democracy leader. During a peaceful rally, undercover Judges pretend to attack the rally, "injuring" Dredd and kidnapping Vanilla. In a hidden location, the operation is revealed to Vanilla and she is informed that she will undergo a face change along with a mind wipe, before being shipped off to a colony away from the city. Sadly even though no crime is committed apart from inspiring free will, Vanilla is facing the wrath of the Justice Department. As Dredd says Politics is a dirty business.
It still pays to be mental - The return of the mental Juve from prog 468. Finally released from the cubes, it doesn't take long for him to come to the attention of Judge Dredd. But the real problem is why does that suitcase have legs? Another kooky Dredd tale, fun enough and easy to move past.
Little Spuggy's Christmas - Little Spuggy is being paroled early, thinking his luck has come in he heads off to find his old associates, unbeknown to him Judge Dredd is tailing him. In a classic Dredd strip, there is violence and a comical death. A fun little filler.
Family Affair - Judge Dredd kills an armed robber and due to a lack of Judges, he is forced to inform the family himself. Of course, they don't take it well and the body count starts to rise. Soon the whole family is either dead or arrested. Another solid tale.
A Letter to Judge Dredd - A Juve for a class is tasked with working out if the justice system works. The smart decides the easiest way to find out is to ask Judge Dredd and writes him a letter. The letter asks a lot of awkward questions that I am sure would make even Dredd sweat to find the right answers. The story is great and has a dark ending which seems to be the theme of this volume.
Wow, it's great to be back in 2000 AD mode. I've been diving into Dark Horse of late and have come to the realization a lot of American comics suck! Give me that British sense of humour and dark, tongue in cheek action. It is so refreshing to be back on this train. Have you read this? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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