Graphic Novel Reviews

Judge Dredd: Day of Chaos
End Game

(2013) John Wagner et al, 2000AD, £17.99, trdpbk, ??pp, ISBN 978-1-781-108142-6


This follows straight on from Judge Dredd: The Fourth Faction . The terrorist bioweapon is now being deployed in Mega City 1, but can the judges intercept those carrying the Chaos bug? Dredd undertakes a covert military hit mission to the Sov Bloc in an attempt to recover from the rogue military group the kidnapped Mega City 1 microbiologist the rogue group are using to develop the Chaos bug to hit back at Mega City 1 for the Apocalypse War. (Phew, hope you got that.)  Meanwhile P. J. Maybe, now escaped, confronts the Dark Judges Mortis, Fear and Fire… Yes, they too are back in the mix for good measure.

Much of the undercurrent of this collection concerns the angst, or conflicting interests with which the Judges have to wrestle in deciding what to do. On one hand citizens have rights facing disease, but on the other there is the collective good to think of. All of which provides opportunity for the rogue Sovs to sow dissent and misinformation among the citizens and so add to the confusion. And then there are the rights of the kidnapped microbiologist and his family to weigh against the collective good of Mega City One.

And really there is little more to say than that without plot spoilers. Suffice to say that this is a solid conclusion to Judge Dredd: The Fourth Faction and prospective readers should not start on Day of Chaos – End Game without having read The Fourth Faction first. What Day of Chaos – End Game does do is to tie up a number of the Judge Dredd story arcs of the past half-decade. There is the end of Dan Francisco's term as Chief Judge; Dan first appeared in Judge Dredd in the opening story – 'The Streets of Dan Francisco' – of Judge Dredd: Tour of Duty – Backlash (2010). This volume also sees the conclusion of the latest attack by Sov Blockers who were attempting to avenge the nuclear destruction of East Meg One that appeared in 2000AD all the way back in 1982 that in turn was undertaken by Judge Dredd in response to the terrorist Sov 'block mania' attack that softened Mega City One up for a Sov Block invasion… (The Dredd history is long and multi-stranded.) There is also the beginning of P. J. Maybe's new life, following him being Mega City One mayor, now that the judges have discovered who he really is. We also get the return of Judge Hershey.

This is one collection that devotees of the Judge Dredd story arcs will want. True, 2000AD aficionados can buy the many volumes of Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files which depict all the Dredd adventures in the order in which they were published in the comics. However where the separate graphic collections, like Judge Dredd: The Fourth Faction and Day of Chaos – End Game, score (aside from being printed on better quality paper) in that you can build up select collections over the years that follow the various story arcs: conversely, attempting to read these story arcs across parts of a number of Complete Case Files volumes would not only be harder but finding where the relevant stories are within the various volumes would be time consuming.

Day of Chaos – End Game by itself is recommended for 2000AD and Dredd fans. Meanwhile for comparative newcomers, or those who have lapsed in their Dredd reading for several years, the four volumes – Day of Chaos – End Game together with Judge Dredd: The Fourth Faction, Judge Dredd: Tour of Duty – Backlash and Tour of Duty – Mega-City Justice – together give you just about enough to bring you up to speed with where we currently (2014) are in the on-going Dredd saga. SF comics don't get much better than this.

Jonathan Cowie

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