• Judge Dredd #24

    Published by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: Oct. 15, 2014

    The Black Light District story reaches its conclusion but will Dredd and the others fighting not only the Dark Judges but also the treacherous Judge Cal survive???


    The issue opens on the prison moon of Titan, with the chief justice and security council at the foul hands of the corrupt, sentenced Judges. But psi-talented Judge Omar gets them to fight back and saves most of them, allowing them to hop a ship returning to Mega-City One.

    Dredd, meanwhile, is fighting for his life against the Dark Judges after having come out of the alien ooze barrier yet again. He reaches out for Anderson who is getting tired of this fight and of the long lapses in time while Dredd’s in that ooze. Dredd asks why the Dark Judges aren’t killing him and Anderson explains that they need him alive, to clone his flesh and make their own “vessels” out of that so that they, too, can pass through the ooze unharmed and take over ALL of Meg-City One.

    That’s the last straw for Dredd who then puts his Lawbringer to his own head, taking his own life hostage. Judge Death laughs at his bluff - until Dredd falls back into the ooze, his life’s status uncertain. Elsewhere, in safer parts of the city, self-appointed acting chief justice (and Dredd-hater) Judge Cal is interrupted by his leading scientist. Apparently, the “deadeye” issue amongst the populace has grown worse, especially in the areas of concentrated, constant surveillance of that populace.

    But Cal will hear no critique of his controversial program, blowing it off as a minor and inconsequential problem. Back on the other side of the ooze wall, Dredd finally emerges, alive. He reaches out to Anderson but can’t find her, finding instead a zombie-fied population and some nifty “exorcism” rounds for his weapon, rounds that will cause the Dark Judges to separate spirit from body.

    He immediately flies into action, returning to the ooze and, eventually, to Sector One. But the Dark Judges await him and trap him with chains, readying their plan to seize his flesh. Anderson catches up with him in his head and, sensing the danger, calls out to any other Judges that might be around. The only one - and probably the best-equipped to respond - is Pachoda, trapped in the highly-upgraded Judge body. She rushes in and frees Dredd, allowing him to do some judging of his own (with those fancy new rounds as well).

    He greets Pachoda thankfully and Anderson’s relieved but it’s all short-lived as a massive explosion in the sky interrupts their reverie. As the unmarked spacecraft carrying the returning Judges, including the Chief Justice, was entering airspace, Judge Cal, labeling it an obvious terrorist plot, ordered the ship destroyed. He’s then able to sit back and toast his own health and power…

    The story’s climactic ending gets overshadowed a bit by the final page’s actions (and what they mean for the overall story) but it’s still quite a solid outing from writer Duane Swierczynski and artist Nelson Daniel. Resurrecting the old characters and adding some new “creative” ones really worked well here, giving the series a shot in the arm and putting it back on your “must read” list.