Saturday, 24 August 2013

'Judge Dredd, Day of Chaos: Endgame' - Various (Rebellion)

Visitors to Mega City One will know that the city has a habit of getting the stuffing knocked out of it on a fairly regular basis. If it isn't being judged by the Dark Judges then it might be undergoing a saturation bombardment of nuclear missiles. If it isn't being attacked by millions upon millions of zombies then rogue Judges have escaped from Titan and are out to bring the city to its knees... Whatever happens though, you can always safely bet on there being enough of the city left for things to get back to normal. The population has been culled but the infrastructure is at least rescueable. What would happen though if the infrastructure went as well? What would happen if the city descended into utter chaos...?

'Endgame' leads on from 'The Fourth Faction' and is all about answering that very question. We've had the buildup and now it's time for the payoff. And what a payoff it is. If you're a fan then this is a book that will stay with you for a long time. It's a real 'game changer' as you just know that nothing can ever be the same again afterwards. I'm hard pressed to know where to start with this one as there is so much stuff going on here, all of it combining to leave Mega City One a smoking ruin and Judge Dredd reflecting on the action he took (thirty years ago) that led to this point. Basically, the rule of 'Endgame' is that if something bad can happen then it will. Go on, think of something bad... Yep, that certainly happened.

What makes this approach interesting though is the way that it is structured, all part of an 'Endgame' (see what I did there) years in the making that leaves the Mega City Judges constantly trying to catch up but failing. There's a great balance between the hope that things can be resolved and the crushing inevitability of what is to come. The Judges aren't just working against a foreign foe, they're also working against elements within their own city, even within Justice Department itself, and it all proves too much for them to be able to handle. If I had one small criticism it was that the Dark Judges were taken out of the game a little too quickly and too early, even though it is setting the scene for a pretty awesome storyline sometime in the future.

This approach also makes for some stunning spectacles on each page with iconic sections of the Mega City skyline falling down in flames. None of it is gratuitous either, it's all part of the plot with the Academy of Law and Statue of Judgement (housing the Public Surveillance Unit) coming under heavy attack. I'm still not sure how the PSU never saw the missiles coming, and how the statue managed to fall over without destroying the Statue of Liberty, but it all looked stunning. There is some great artwork here, in this trade, which really captures the chaos of a city falling apart from the inside out (as well as a lovely shot of Mega City One by night). While all this violence is erupting, the Chaos Bug is working its way across the city doing just as much (if not more) damage along the way. A pretty big ethical question is posed and the answer just makes things a whole lot worse. It's all really powerful stuff and leaves you wondering just where Mega City One (and Dredd, breaking if not broken) will go from here. Awesome stuff and highly recommended by me.

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