A very cool, very fitting chapter of Dredd in the aftermath of the devastation caused in Enceladus: New Life. I fucking love Dredd. Yeah, yeah, I have that one friend who has to make his liberal ideas really well known (not that I often disagree with him, he’s just, you know, THAT guy), and hates fictional characters like Dredd because they're fascists and, for some reason, that means you have to be a little bit of a fascist to enjoy them, according to him.
I just don't think that's true. It misses a lot of nuances the character has, first of all, and, as this chapter shows, Dredd himself might be some kind of fascist, but he doesn't operate in a bubble. There's an uncomfortable reality that this newest Dredd story is making us face head-on: Dredd and the Judge system as a whole might be an authoritarian regime, but they saved everyone's asses.
In the newest story, from writer Ian Edginton and artist Dave Taylor, we see Dredd making some hard decisions that involve, of course, killing the shit out of people. But I think it's really important that we see those decisions through the eyes of a bystander who is having trouble coming to terms with the extreme nature of Dredd's decisions. The tone of Dredd is rarely, "look at how great it is that Dredd is killing the shit out of this guy that he could have just wounded," and often counterbalances his decisions with more human elements.
Look, if Judge Dredd was just some human, he wouldn't have been riding a black horse into a super-human ice-people army with one of his arms flayed and absolutely no hope of victory. Let's not forget that the world of Mega City One is not analogous to our world in any robust way, especially not after an extremely devastating attack on a city and its resources by an army of ice monsters. One of the most compelling things about the Battlestar Galactica reboot, for instance, is in the fact that it takes seriously the notion of people in power forced to make hard decisions for the good of the whole.
Anyway, besides thinking "Ghost Town" gets Dredd right in an important (and seriously timely) way, the last page of Grey Area alone was worth this entire run of the comic, and Deadworld had its strongest chapter yet.
What felt claustrophobic about previous Deadworld chapters is absent in a story that feels like it has a lot more motion, and really benefits from a well-executed penultimate page where color livens up a more traditional page layout. I think Deadworld might have also picked up some because it's gaining some momentum into the story's climax. Either way, I enjoyed this chapter for more than just its set-pieces.