The Cursed Earth
29th April 2015
Available in UK & Ireland only
In Stores £9.99
I’m now mostly hearing happy contented things from any Subscribers I know regarding receiving their copies after shops have them – some that I don’t know still seem to be restless. It is a logistics issue and apparently linked to the postal contract & Hachette’s aim to dispatch one package to each customer each month to prevent two bills of £19.98 in one month.
I received parts 6 & 7 in the post on Friday 17th. Both were in perfect condition as have all other books. I’m reviewing this issue from a Pdf preview copy – Pdf copies are not available for sale.
The Cursed Earth was the first Judge Dredd Mega-Epic and it certainly paved the way for some great things. I’ll address this before going further – no the ‘banned episodes are not included. So if you haven’t read the Burger Wars or seen the Jolly Green Giant you won’t do so this time. There are however brief synopses included for these missing parts.
This story features the first appearance of Mega-City Two on the West Coast of old USA as well as a number of other locations now famous in the pages of 2000AD. The Cursed Earth first appeared in Prog 2, The Brotherhood of Darkness, though it is un-named. Before this story the largest story had been Robot Wars in Prog 10 to 17, though the story followed directly on from Prog 9. Hopefully that classic will feature in a later issue of this collection.
Mega-City Two has become over run by citizens infected with the 2T(fru)T Virus, making them a raging mob full of hatred and base instincts. All spaceports are out of action so the only way in to the city is over land.
To achieve this mission Judge Dredd is given a new vehicle, a modular combat vehicle, that consisted of a fast and agile all terrain 4×4, the Land Raider, and a tank like module, the Killdozer. He was also given a detachment of War Droids and three Judges, Gradgrund, Patton and Judge Jack who had previously assisted him in the aforementioned Robot Wars. Dredd selects the final member of the team, Spikes Harvey Rotten, a convicted bike gang leader. It is not confirmed if this is the same character as the one of the same name from an earlier story Mega City 5000 from Progs 40 & 41. Due to lack of resemblance between the two and the earlier version being presumed dead (though he could just be unconscious) at the end of Prog 41 many assume the characters are not connected – however I always assume it is the same man.
The story is episodic with most of the mini-stories spread over two or three Progs. As such the story reads fine without the ‘banned’ episodes. It is easy for me to say this of course as I have those episodes in the original Progs (71, 72, 77 & 78).
Among the many things we see along the way are Tweak, an alien that befriends Dredd, and Satanus, son of Old One-Eye from Flesh. Satanus has been cloned from DNA found in his own fossil, an idea made famous by the book by Michael Crichton and subsequent movie, Jurassic Park (published in 1990).
This is an epic in all senses. It does push the susp[ense of disbelief at times, something Judge Dredd stories have often done through the years.
The back up story, Last of the Bad Guys, is an example of the craziness out there in the Cursed Earth. Interestingly this story inspired part of the fan film Judge Minty. There is also a wrecked Land Raider/Killdozer in that film and I can’t help thinking that this coincidence might actually be why this story was picked to appear here. I imagine there could be another voume set in the Cursed Earth later in this series given the amount of stories set there, certainly it will turn up in some even if not in its own volume.
The preview pages follow the contents list below, please note I have placed the borders to show the page ratio.
Introduction by 2000AD Editor Matt Smith
The Story So Far giving context and synopses for the ‘banned’ episodes.
The Cursed Earth
Writer: Pat Mills, John Wagner, Chris Lowder
Artist: Mick McMahon, Brian Bolland
Letters: Tom Frame, Peter Knight, John Aldrich
Originally published in 2000 AD Progs 61-85
Last of the Bad Guys
Writer: John Wagner, Alan Grany
Artist: John Higgins
Letters: Tom Frame
Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1988
Artwork – covers gallery
In Detail – article by Michael Molcher