Review written by Eamonn Clarke
To read more of Eamonn’s reviews go check out his Thank you for your Attention blog
This is the latest Dredd trade collecting a number of stories that have explored the aftermath left behind by John Wagner and the Day of Chaos. Wagner said that the devastation of his story would leave an interesting sandpit for the other writers to play in, although there were also some rumours that other script droids were kept in the dark about his plans until they appeared in the prog.
However it happened here are the first responses from the other main Dredd writers. So we have eleven stories written by Michael Carroll, Rob Williams, and Alan Grant, with art by P.J.Holden, Trevor Hairsine, John Burns, Ben Willsher, Laurence Campbell, Dave Taylor, Andrew Currie, Nick Dyer, James Harren, Inaki Miranda and Jon Davis-Hunt plus that cover by Chris Weston.
Dollman turns up in Carroll’s story about a block that tries to secede from Mega-City One using a mass driver gun to defend itself. He’s also back in the frankly rather improbable Payback where he is confronted by three of the Space Marines who bear a grudge against him from the first tale. There’s also a couple of defining moments for SJS Judge Gerhart which set up stuff we found out about him in Titan.
Alan Grant turns in an Anderson tale from the Megazine which in retrospect clearly leads into the psychological difficulties she has been experiencing in the recent Dead End story. And we also get the introduction of former Cadet Kessler who went on to appear in DeMarco and the Whisper, and Sov-Judge Pax who joins the line of strong female Judges who have worked with Dredd over the years.
Artwise it is Campbell and Hairsine who surprised me the most. I can’t recall seeing either of them on Dredd duties before and they both produce very different but impressive takes on the Galaxy’s greatest comic strip. Campbell’s work is dark and moody, he would really suit one of Wagner’s noir inflected stories. Hairsine on the other hand delivers very muscular and dynamic storytelling which reminds me of Willsher but with his own twist.
The collection finishes with two stories by John Wagner himself, the first is Wastelands illustrated by Dave Taylor, and then the dramatic Bender story with art by Ben ‘the Wizard’ Willsher himself. This is easily my favourite story in the collection and I hope the two Ws bring back the flawed Judge Bender in the future. He’s one of several characters from this book who I look forward to seeing again in the Prog.
Choosing the best story when there is a Wagner and Willsher tale is a bit unfair on the others but the best of the rest is the Forsaken, Carroll and Holden’s story about missing junior Judges. The medical details were a bit shonky but the slowly unfolding mystery of what happened to all the cadets was great stuff, and it’s another Dollman story which is fine with me.
Overall, it’s interesting to see how the various creators have dealt with the Day of Chaos and to have them collected in one place. The only extras are all the prog and Megazine covers for these stories. Most of us will already have these stories but again let’s hope it drags in some new readers.