Villordsutch reviews Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection – America…
In Mega-City One, the Judges are the law – acting as judge, jury, and executioner. But how do the citizens really feel about a system where they are powerless? America Jara and Bennett Beeny grow up as best friends, living a fairly trouble-free life in a dangerous city… bar the odd encounter with a Judge. Time draws them apart, and when they are brought back together, Beeny is a successful singer and America has become involved with a terrorist organisation – with the Judges in its sights! Written by John Wagner (A History of Violence) with art by Colin MacNeil (Judge Dredd) this dark and complex tale is regularly cited as the greatest Judge Dredd story ever written!
This really is a no-brainer here! I’ll be fairly open – if you’ve wanted to start entering the universe of 2000AD then this is your first step. Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection is going to be fortnightly series available from newsagents in the UK and Ireland; issue #1 will set you back at a very measly £1.99, and issue #2 is £6.99 before the price goes to its normal run. The aim of the collected works is to bring together the classic Dredd stories thematically into an 80-issue collection. This is a definitive collection of Judge Dredd and the world he occupies, packaged in beautifully produced hardback editions whose spines, once assembled, form a special brand new image by artist Patrick Goddard. The rather impressive thing comes to those who subscribe; you’re looking at free Judge Dredd badge, cups, metal bookends etc. go and look online at www.judgedreddcollection.com
Getting back to this current issue however from John Wagner and Colin MacNeil and it’s here that readers are introduced to a turning point in the life of Dredd and the message that Wagner and 2000AD began to send out into the world that, “Dredd had grown up”. Dredd had gone from the bother-booted thug and our stories where less for adolescents seeking violence and cheap thrills; instead questions about the world around you where planted like seeds into your brain. These seeds didn’t detract from the stories or diminish the power of 2000AD – or even emasculate Dredd – if anything bringing this shock of realism into this fictional world gave it that bit more bite. Here in this tale we follow Beeny and America – best friends from childhood – as they grow up, separating with Beeny becoming a famous song writer and America joining a terrorist organisation seeking democracy in the world of the Judges.
The story occupies nearly three quarters of the book ending with the daughter of Beeny and America, who becomes a Judge investigating those who led to the actual death of parents. It’s interesting to watch the decision the players of the story make along with the changes in Dredd through the years. After the America tale wraps up you get a handful of small Dredd stories to pad out the remaining pages and though not as powerful as the America story, they are still enjoyable if not short.
At £1.99 for issue #1 you’d be rather daft not to pick this up. If you’ve ever shown any curiosity in Judge Dredd today is the day to give him a go.
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.