Comic Review 146 // Judge Dredd: Dead Zone

It's been a hot minute since I last read a Judge Dredd story. I wanted to jump back into a Case File book but felt I wasn't quite ready for that. Instead, I dived into the Dead Zone. Two linked stories are over 96 pages and are set after the Day of Chaos. Here is the commercial write up:

Following the death of 90% of the Mega-City One population in the Day of Chaos, Judge Dredd's latest case takes him into the Cursed Earth where illegal fortunes await those tempted to mine the vast mass graves.

Following the devastation of the Day of Chaos, Mega-City One is rebuilding itself. But criminals will always find ways to cheat and exploit the desperate even... While investigating a murder at the Chaos Day Memorial, Dredd comes across a slave ring in which people are being sent into the bowels of the earth to rob the bodies of the dead. Yodie - one of those forced into this harrowing labour, finds a technologically advanced bracelet that bestows tremendous power to whoever wears it. Meanwhile, the 'owners' will stop at nothing to get it back...

Written by: John Wagner
Artist: Henry Flint & Richard Elson

The first story is Dead Zone. This kicks us off straight into the fun as we are introduced to Yodie and his pregnant partner Belle. The pair are travelling across the Cursed Earth heading towards the bright if incredibly broken lights of Mega-City One. Unfortunately for the pair, they come across a Memorial Facility for the victims and the Chaos Plague. Here they stumble across a gang of gross grave robbers, who after kidnapping the pair force Yodie into working in a dead body mine. Which seems as gross as they sound. Running simultaneously, Judge Dredd is at the facility investigating the death/murder/suicide of their accountant McPhee.

During one of his "digs", Yodie discovers a bracelet with glowing stones. After tapping a stone Yodie goes invisible. Using this surprising turn of events, Yodie attempts to escape, during the attempt guns are fired and the sound attracts Dredd. In the chaos, Yodie and Belle flee to Mega-City One. Sadly the adventure didn't end there and with the introduction of time police, really damaged the tale. Ultimately Yodie and Belle get the happy ending, but it honestly felt touch and go at points.

The follow-up tale Breaking Bud joins a technician called Bud, who after working on the bracelet case can't resist its lure, especially as his life takes an utter nose dive. Of course, the story goes off the rail. For me, this story wasn't as interesting as the first, and the time police involvement really weakens everything.

I really enjoyed the stories and it was a great way to get back into the Dredd-style stories. The only real change I would make is to drop the damn Time Police! Way too sci-fi for a sci-fi story hahaha.

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