Judge Dredd Day of Chaos: End Game – a graphic novel published by 2000AD
Leigh Gallagher, Henry Flint, Ben Willsher, Colin MacNeil, Edmund Bagley
Previously published in Progs 1759-1789
This is the second half of the epic that took over a year to tell. I’ll give you a brief recap below but if you want a more detailed recap you can read my review of the first half Day of Chaos: The Fourth Faction.
There are spoilers in this review, I am assuming that anyone reading this has read The Fourth Faction. Despite there being spoilers I have tried to keep the most important aspects unsaid.
Over 30 years ago the former Soviet power East-Meg One launched an attack on Mega City One. First subversively via one of their top agents, Orlok. Poisoning the water supply of the city Orlok brought about an almost city wide Block War. Then, while the city was weakened, an invasion force was sent. Dredd finally ended the war by destroying East-Meg One with its own weapons.
Thirty years later chaos begins again as seemingly unrelated terror attacks rock the city. At this time P J Maybe escapes from a high security iso-cube, after his cover as Mayor Ambrose was blown. PSI Cadet, Hennessy, predicts that some form of devastation was going to hit the city on the day of the upcoming Mayoral Election. An East-Meg agent enters the city and contacts a sleeper cell, they successfully kidnap a Mega City scientist. The Scientist, a bio-engineer that had developed a deadly virus that he had refused to turn over to Mega City One’s Special Weapons Division, is delivered to a group of East-Meg One survivors led by Colonel Borisenko. Borisenko wants the same organism.
The Assassination List sees time move on from the kidnap of Dr Yurges. Now in Siberia he is coerced in to creating the bio-weapon for Borisenko. Hennessy was having so many abhorrent precognitions she had entered a waking-catatonia. Her sister, an Empath, was able to give Dredd’s team details of what was going on in her head, including a list of assassination targets with Dredd’s name at the top. Most of the predictions were proven accurate. Meanwhile Dredd himself heads to Serbia to try to recover Yurges.
Eve of Destruction, almost an understatement this chapter of the story sees quite a lot of destruction. We see the Big Meg trying to find a cure to the Chaos Bug before it arrives. We also see the East-Meg agents and their varied attempts to enter and infect the city. Some of those on the list are targeted by hit-men.
More terrorist attacks take place, whether directly or indirectly related t the East-Meg plan it doesn’t matter much to those that die. Borisenko is captured in the Mongolian Free State. The city is rocked by the loss of a well known monument. With PSU out of action the Judges lose almost all control of the city.
A final solution is suggested to execute all the victims of the bug, this is rejected by the Chief Judge. Curfew had been keeping people off the streets and reducing the spread of the Chaos Bug. Another rogue Judge leaks the plan and causes more chaos.
Judges from the Academy of Law, Iso-Blocks and other now non-essential areas are drafted onto the street. Brit Cit sends Robot Auxiliaries to assist.
The rogue Judge releases the three Dark Judges from their secure holding cell, takes them to another conspirator and resurrects them. The Dark Judges embark on dispensing their idea of justice. The city seeming ripe for destruction they find themselves confronted by Dredd and his team. They are defeated and withdraw in spirit form but not before injuring one of Dredd’s inner circle.
Fighting goes on with blocks being cleared and others cleansed.
In Tea For Two Dredd visits his niece Vienna to try to encourage her to leave her home and go to a Safe Block. Vienna’s neighbours take an interest in her Uncle’s presence.
Wot I Did During The Worst Dissaster In Mega-City History catches up with PJ Maybe. PJ’s self preservation instincts are serving him well. He has an encounter with the Dark Judges.
Chaos Day finally hits. This time the terrorist groups act together, clearly under some co-ordination from East-Meg connections. The Academy of Law is targeted, with many Judge-Tutors out on the streets it falls to the Cadets to defend themselves and they are out gunned.
The fighting in the city and the spread of the Chaos Bug reaches new heights. The Judges can’t reach everyone, bodies litter the streets. The city is devastated.
The Days After are a time to take stock, to start mopping up. Rico brings forty thousand mutants from the Mutant Townships to the city to help with recovery.
This epic brought back the Dark Judges after quite some time, without their boss. It was heralded by a publicity campaign that bemused fans everywhere.
The story is much more focused than epics of old with only a few divergences from the main flow of the plot. In most cases the side stories intertwine with the main. Only Tea For Two and Wot I Did During The Worst Dissaster In Mega-City History leave the main narrative. The Cursed Earth was very episodic and in The Judge Child some stories could be read without needing to be in the epic at all.
There are a few interesting images in this story. Colin MacNeil dropping in two Easter eggs for long term fans. Pete Wells Block for the host of 2000AD Covers Uncovered. Outside Pete wells Block are Citi-Def with the initials CF on for John Burdis who hosts The Cellar of Dredd.
We see two different helmets… ok we actually see more than two as there are different Judges as well as Citi-Def… The first is the modern depiction of a respirator in use and the second is the more traditional version. This is obviously down to the artist’s preference but can be explained away for continuity that Dredd had to replace a helmet for some reason and took an older version. Perhaps the older version’s respirator lasts longer.