Imagine being in 2007. Apple unveils the Iphone, the McCann’s take their eyes off their kid for several fateful hours and a heatwave causes havoc in Europe. “Fuck this shit” you say and hop into a time machine to go 13 years into the future. There, a fucktarded reality show host is President, a virus ravages the planet and actual fucking imbeciles are destroying 5G towers because they think Bill Gates is trying to control their brains. What’s that? Right back to 2007? Take me with you, pal.
November 2106 and May 2120 (Progs 393-406).
John Wagner and Alan Grant visit the worst future possible and Kim Raymond, Ron Smith, Steve Dillon and Ian Gibson are all along for the ride.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT (IN ONE SENTENCE)?:
Dredd and Anderson travel to the future to scope out Judge Feyy’s prediction.
WHO’S THAT IN THE HELMET?:
Jude Feyy’s prediction turns out to be pretty shit.
Chief Judge Hilda McGruder has a massive chair and in the alternate future is still Chief in 2120. She’s also rocking the red and green pads.
Judge Barbara Hershey has been turned into a vampire in the alternate 2120 and kneels before Dredd who then unloads into her face. Not for the first time, I’ll bet.
Judge Wesker is one of the Hell Street Blues who tries it on before being killed by Dredd.
Judge Hunter is still working the desk as a Hell Street Blue.
Judge Bobo is also a Hell Street Blue and managing the holding cells.
Judge Coffey is a surprisingly chatty Hell Street Blue who Anderson executes.
Psi Judge Cassandra Anderson got a promotion in the possible future. It didn’t end well when her head melted like a yankee candle. She remarks here that she is a vegetarian.
Med Judge Chegley is a rat.
Judges Belker and Wilkie are Hell Street Blues and are quite rightly exxed by Dredd and Anderson
IT’S CULTURAL, INNIT?:
Hell Street Blues is clearly a nod to the classic cop show Hill Street Blues.
Rene Enriquez was an actor on the aforementioned Hill Street Blues.
Some of the Judges at Hell Street are named for characters in Hill Street Blues. These include Hunter, Coffey and Belker.
Busby Berkeley was an American film director and musical choreographer renowned for his elaborate musical numbers.
The Sector House being on Carpenter may be a nod to the great horror director John.
Dredd gets a bit banged up but most notably he loses his eyes to some claws and is fitted with robotic peepers.
ANY LAW LORE?:
Proteus is a time travel craft capable of holding two Lawmasters.
The colours on the pads and gloves are off in some panels.
Without his city Dredd has nothing to live for which obviously speaks to the dedication of the man. Does this change in later years when he decides to take the Long Walk? He’s without the city then, so surely he can’t be nothing if he still feels he can abandon it to bring Law to the Lawless.
WHAT THE DROKK?:
Luckily, someone had the chance to make a sign that changes Hill Street to “Hell Street”. When did this happen?
For some reason the auxiliary generator is started with a massive crank.
It’s not clear from the art but in the alternate future, McGruder is apparently wearing a t-shirt instead of a uniform.
Once again, the Chief Judge (now the Mutant), sits in huge throne chair. Someone is overcompensating.
The bike cannon used on zombie Dredd seems less like the 20mm death dealing we are used to. It seems to leave some tiny holes in the undead prick. But I guess they couldn’t blow him in half as that would ruin the story.
Speaking of which, neither Dredd nor Anderson’s high explosive rounds do much, as they should be turning the zombie into crimson confetti.
The eagle on zombie Dredd’s shoulder seems to be skin and bone rather than armour. It appears to have degraded just like Dredd himself. It’s a nice touch but very silly.
Said eagle is blown off in one panel but has grown back in later ones.
The Mutant is massively powerful and yet when Dredd and Anderson make for the time machine, all he can do is scream and send zombie Dredd after him. He can clearly teleport Dredd across the city or himself from Xanadu but somehow forgets this.
Dredd is either in the operating theatre in his uniform or a pair of snazzy judicial pyjamas.
I’m not sure why, if the Grunwalder has to die, they don’t just nuke the palace from orbit. I guess they needed the wrap up from Dredd to do to the creature what he did to Krysler.
The precogs at the end saying the future is clear must have been fucking kicking themselves after Necropolis. And Judgement Day. And, well, everything else.
WHAT’S THE ART LIKE?:
With lots of artists in the mix this was always going to be an odd one. Dillon’s art starts this off and it’s good stuff. Taymond’s stuff is OK but nothing really stands out. Smith’s stint is more detailed and has a nice feel to it but immediately jars when he gives Anderson a different hairstyle. There’s also some inconsistency in that most of the vampires look like animalistic undead and yet Hershey still retains her looks. That’s sexist! I did love his synthetic eyes which appear to be stored on something resembling fleshy pancakes. Gibson’s art has some real flair to it but the use of four artists on this does it no favours and sadly the Gibson stuff is the weakest as his style is more suited to lighter tales than genuine horror. It also adds to the inconsistencies throughout.
HOW MANY LINKS?:
Five at a push. The paradox here is nice given that McGruder, Dredd and Anderson had all survived to the point where the Mutant shows his face and yet apparently don’t recall travelling into the future to combat the threat. Dredd is able to exploit this by essentially creating an alternate timeline. There was also a nice scene with Hershey in that despite her being a colleague, Dredd coldly shoots her in the face. It did seem to wrap up a little quickly, though (I guess the team got bored), and Dredd’s inability to abandon Anderson (as he needs her eyes) is excellent. By the end of this, the Mutant hits the lava and we see it happen. Give it a few more years and Wagner will retcon that. This story had some legs but it seems that both Wagner and Grant didn’t get that into it and killed it off prematurely, much like Dredd did with the Mutant. I have awarded one extra point for Anderson getting her bumhole fingered.