Graphic Novel Reviews

Judge Dredd: The Chief Judge's Man

(2006) John Wagner, Will Simpson, Colin MacNeil and John Burns Rebellion, 10.99, trdpbk, pp unnumbered, ISBN 1-904-26581-2


If you do not know, the comic strip character Judge Dredd is one of the judges created to bring law and order over the Earth following the great nuclear war. Dredd, specifically, is one of the force of judges for MegaCity-1: the city stretching much of the length of the present-day US east coast. Judges themselves are police, jury and judge rolled into one and who dispense justice at the time of apprehending perps (perpetrators). Judges view themselves as benevolent dictators though others resent MegaCity life without democracy.

In this full-colour graphic novel, three connected adventures from 2000AD in 2001, 2003 and 2005 are brought together. Someone, pretending to be the Chief Judge, has recruited a genetic soldier to kill off those who speak out against the judges as the judges themselves cannot be seen to go against the law and kill off the opposition. Who is going to catch this serial murderer? Yes, Dredd. But if it is not the Chief Judge, then who is behind the Chief Judge's man?

This is one of the better new Judge collections of the past couple of years (the rather good Aliens story excepted) with a solid Judge story and sound artwork especially Colin MacNeil's air brush and John Burns inks. Crippled Judge Edgar (who is restricted to a hover chair hence nicknamed Edgar Hoover) makes a welcome appearance as the warden of a Cursed Earth (the mid-US wasteland) penitentiary station. (She was formerly head of the unit that polices the judges, and I am waiting until Rebellion brings all the Edgar stories together in a sizeable volume.) One surprise, apparently it appears that the judges get paid. I thought they were an unpaid force whose board, and lodging (albeit sometimes in their own apartments) were provided for by the City. So, there you go, even an old timer like myself learns something new. Anyway, other than being a bit short, The Judge's Man is a welcome addition to the Dredd cannon and a return to a general standard (as far as the Dredd graphic novel collections go) not much seen for a little while. Nice one.

Jonathan Cowie

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