Judge Dredd: Dead Zone, by John Wagner and Henry Flint
John Wagner and Henry Flint
Another excellent tale of Dredd from the co-creator John Wagner himself. Lesser creators might stick to knowing what works, but Wagner refuses to rest on his laurels or allow himself to be second guessed
The hefty backstory that is the ongoing storyline to Judge Dredd might perturb some readers.
Dead Zone is the latest instalment in the ongoing epic of Judge Dredd, which continues the ongoing fallout of the Day of Chaos storyline. To give an idea of scale, the Day of Chaos storyline was a consequence of The Apocalypse Way storyline (first published in 1985).
In the Dead Zone storyline, Mega City 1 is still recovering from ‘Chaosday’ and is seeking to rebuild itself, as well as honour the people who lost their lives. Yet there are always people willing to profit from another’s tragedy, and when an item of great power is discovered, more tragedy is sure to follow.
One of the great things about Judge Dredd storylines is how they all – whether they are big or small – develop the ongoing storyline, and Dead Zone is no exception. As well as the consequences of Chaosday, we are also introduced to a potentially new faction within the world of Dredd. Whilst new blood is always welcome, as it is allows for a jumping on point for new readers, this one seems out of place for the Dredd universe, especially as there has been no inclination as to the existence of such a faction before.
Any storyline that pushes the story forward as much as Dead Zone does is always a great read. Having it is written by Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner is just the icing on the cake. The artwork by Henry Flint is gloriously brutal and visceral, as the story requires.
Many people know that the character of Judge Dredd is a satire of totalitarian regimes, yet still many forget that is 2000AD is an inherently political comic. This political theme continues with 2000AD examining the immigration and poverty.
Accompanying Dead Zone is Breaking Bud, a fantastic sequel story that is heavily inspired by Breaking Bad and includes many of the elements from Dead Zone. Breaking Bud is great not just because it ties up some of the loose ends, but we meet one of the few genuinely sympathetic characters within the Dredd verse. We have all had one of those days where we are crapped on from a great height, so it is always great to see someone fight back.