(2019) Rob Williams and Henry Flint, 2000AD / Rebellion, £9.99 / Can$17.99 / US$12.99,
pbk, 97pp, ISBN 978-1-781-08741-1
This short Judge Dredd graphic novel is really for seasoned Dredd readers as it concludes a side plot that, though while embedded into the overarching Dredd plot arc, can really be considered as part two (or perhaps part three) of a standalone story. In short, newcomers would best be served by tackling one of the more central stories such as Judge Dredd: Origins or Judge Dredd: America.
The Small House follows on principally from Judge Dredd: Trifecta but includes a significant element of Judge Dredd: Titan (2016) in that alien technology found on Titan is used. Having said that, though this is distinctly stand alone, there are references to: Democracy, Judge Cal (Caligula) and the Apocalypse War. So there is plenty to stimulate Dredd regulars.
A squad of mercenaries/assassins are both invisible and seemingly can enter buildings and even sealed rooms at will! When the clone of Kazan prisoner is murdered alone in his isocube, Dredd suspects that the invisible stealth squad, or some like it, that were behind the attempted coup in Trifecta is once more active. Dredd can trust no-one not even Chief Judge Hershey, nonetheless brings a handful of judges into his confidence.
When the sinister Judge Smiley literally emerges from the shadows and wall of the Hall of Justice, Dredd knows that there are powerful forces at work. Whose side is Smiley on? What are the stealth squad's goals and who, if anyone, is controlling them? Be sure, Dredd is going to find out.
This graphic novel is all about control and here who controls the judges who judge the judges. Which ultimately boils down to who controls Mega-City One's destiny. Of course, from Dredd's perspective it must be the law. Though as he himself has said more than once, he is the law…
Spoiler: a key Dredd side character is among those that do not make it to the end of the adventure. This in turn means that we will not see the continuation of a couple of other strands to the overall Dredd tapestry that has been weaved the past four decades.
The stories in this short graphic novel were originally published in the weekly 2000AD in 2016 and 2018.
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