“Classics #6” picks up where “#5” left off… the continuation of the “Apocalypse War” story arc written in 1982. Issue six covers chapters 13-16 of that arc and I have just got to say, that this has been one of my favorite reissue titles of the year. And that, combined with the new additions IDW Publishing has released this year of Dredd, they have given this classic character a great reawakening opening up this fantastic hero to readers in the modern era… not just to old farts like me (Yes, I was a teenager during the original release of “The Apocalypse War”). Thus far, Mega City One has been under a vicious attack from their neighbors to the east that bear a strong resemblance to the old communist bloc nations of the Cold War. “East Meg One” as they are called, has decimated Mega City One and they have taken over the north side. With the north gone, all routes to the south are left open with only the surviving judges remaining who must now cut off all links in order to save the rest of the city. Heavily outgunned and outnumbered, the judges led by our very own Joseph Dredd are putting up a strong fight to save the rest of the city.
These issues and episodes look so good with their new coloring that the action just jumps out at you with every turn of the page. “Apocalypse War” is a very appropriate title as the landscape depicted here undergoes hellish transformations due to explosions, invading forces, and exit escape strategies. Also very prominent here is a deeper power struggle not only between East Meg and Mega City One, but within the leadership of both sides as well. Intrigue is everywhere and the reader gets a front row seat to the rise and fall of the players involved here… kind of like Game of Thrones, but with thermal detonators and snub guns… It’s pretty cool.
Likewise, seeing Judge Dredd out of his normal element of public safety officer and into the mode of warrior is pure fun. Dredd still has his same swagger, but the stakes seem much higher now as all of the values that he has spent his lifetime defending are now in jeopardy. This causes him to fight with everything he has, do or die. It is that gusto that made “The Apocalypse War” an intense story then and now.
Under the guidance of East Meg One, Supreme Judge “Mad Dog” Kazan (a recent event with his supreme-ship), Mega City One’s own head Judge has been captured and is making pleas for all fighting to end and submission to the invading force to occur. Dredd and his companions will not stand for this and a mission begins to take out the Judge or die trying… man what a stopping point to this issue. Next month can’t come soon enough.
The writing of John Wagner and Alan Grant (credited as T.B. Grover) and Carlos Ezquerra’s artwork may be a little old (It was interesting to see the old hammer and sickle of the East Meg One’s ships), but they still hold up well. But now, with the new vivid and bold coloring of Tom Mullin, “Classics #6” becomes a perfectly enjoyable blast from the past that can be thoroughly entertaining here in the present time.
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant Artist: Carlos Ezquerra Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/4/13