You can’t have anything nice, can you? No sooner has the city gotten back to normal after a power crazed Chief Judge tried to murder everyone with alien mercenaries, but now a murderous Judge from a parallel universe shows up and starts offing the citizenry. It’s enough to make you mad. Luckily, Judge Ross has managed to talk his way out of the Titan thing and is going to make this interloper pay for his crimes. With butt stuff.
John Wagner’s script is magnificent and the only thing that tops it is Brian Bolland’s iconic artistry.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT (IN ONE SENTENCE)?:
Judge Death, a creature from a dimension where all life is a crime, comes to Mega City One to spread his message.
WHO’S THAT IN THE HELMET?:
Judges Ross is killed by Judge Death after he tries to “slam his butt”.
Judge Runciman is also killed by Judge Death at the Rabbit Hutch.
Judge McKay survives the first encounter with Judge Death.
Psi Judge Cassandra Anderson has a face so large you can show an IMAX on it and appears in the strip for the first time, becoming the unwilling host of Judge Death. She is encased in Boing with Death’s spirit.
Judge Sidney Death is trapped within Anderson’s body for being a prick.
ANY LAW LORE?:
Psi Division Judges are highly strung so flippancy is excused.
Psi Judges wear badges that have “Psi” written on them instead of their names.
Anderson apparently doesn’t wear a helmet.
Anderson is considered the best telepath in Psi Division and has a separate apartment.
Psi Division seems to make use of civilian telepaths too.
Anderson’s Boing encased body is put on display at the Hall of Heroes with a plaque bearing the legend “Supreme Sacrifice: A monster dwells within her”. Just like Adele.
IT’S CULTURAL, INNIT?:
Charles Atlas was a famous bodybuilder whose landmark adverts featuring his likeness were printed in comic books of the 1940s.
“Who Put The Boop” is reminiscent of Barry Mann’s shitfest “Who Put The Bomp”
Two other morgue corpses are identified. These are Steve MacManus (the editor of 2000AD who had died of a terminal brainstorm) and Barry Coker (artist Brian Bolland’s agent at the time).
Tek Judges are called both TECH and TEC here.
WHAT THE DROKK?:
Anderson sacrifices herself and is sealed in Boing. How does her body survive without food, water or oxygen?
Did Death pre-load the apartment with machinery and dead fluids he brought with him? If so, that is a lot of stuff to bring across.
Usually Death co-opts a corpse for the resurrection job but here he is using a skeleton.
Before being killed Ross says to Death “we’ve come to slam your butt in pokey, mister”. Has he been reading gangster novels?
The toetag on Death’s corpse has cause of death listed as first degree burns. This is equivalent to sunburn. Death was actually subjected to fourth degree burning.
Death’s skin is reported as being dead for centuries so either Deadworld (which seemed to be early 21st century tech when the Dark Judges began to kill everyone) was more tech advanced than Earth, or else Death has travelled in time as well as dimensions.
WHAT’S THE ART LIKE?:
Absolutely fucking incredible with the only complaint being the sheer size of Death’s skeleton when you see Anderson carrying it. Who died, Dave Prowse?
HOW MANY LINKS?:
Immediately iconic. Despite a few quibbles, this is a stone cold classic and quite rightly regarded as one of the best, not least for the sacrificial ending. Seven gold links.