Villordsutch reviews Judge Dredd – Day of Chaos: The Fourth Faction…
With the much-loved mayor of Mega-City One presumed dead by the citizens, an election has been scheduled to choose his successor. Cadet Judge Hennessey has predicted that something terrible will happen on the Election Day and she may be right. East-Meg assassin Nadia has arrived in the Big Meg, carrying a deadly weapon that could destroy everything!
Those that know their Dredd will be more than aware of a little skirmish that occurred within the Dredd Universe – 1981 in real-time – called The Apocalypse War. If you’re not up to speed on this “bit of a do” I’ll recap. Before this war East-Meg had – unbeknownst at first – released a water born drug which launched a block war, which was dubbed Block Mania. Residents became manic; tens of thousands perished in these riots along with a large number of Judges, when finally the drug was isolated and the violent problem seemed to fall under control, that’s when East-Meg launched their all-out nuclear attack against Mega-City One. It appeared East-Meg may win, due to the lack of support from Mega-City Two and Texas City. However, all change happened, in both direction of the war and in many ways the future on how Dredd would be written from this point on. Dredd leads a lone team of commandos to an East-Meg missile silo, and then completely wipes out East-Meg One – along with its half a billion residents – in one press of a button. Our long-standing hero commits genocide.
Now here in Day of Chaos: The Fourth Faction we begin to feel the ripples of the stone which was cast into this blackened pond some thirty years back. From the pen of John Wagner arrives the ghosts who have been crying Dredd’s name and they wish to make him watch his city crumble. However, you may be forgiven with the initial two opening stories that you’re not actually being treated to the follow-up saga to the great Apocalypse War, as Mr. Wagner begins to move his pawns across the board. It’s only when you realise the amusing tale of “The Further Dasterdly Deeds of PJ Maybe” is delivered do you feel the book maybe moving somewhere towards the sacking of Mega-City One as this once faux-Excellent Mayor/come hyper-genius psychopathic con-artist known as PJ Maybe snakes throughout the story, two steps ahead of the Justice Department. Our following tales are firmly set the foundations of the impending doom soon to cast its shadow upon Mega-City One as Nadia – the East-Meg assassin – enters the story, with a clinical and brutal work ethic eventually, delivering a sharp message to Dredd, which really sticks in his throat.
While Day of Chaos: The Fourth Faction is a good read, I found myself comparing it a lot to The Apocalypse War, which I only recently re-read, and I’m aware this is the lead up to the forthcoming Day of Chaos: Endgame but I didn’t find this living up to the thirty year old spark that started this fire. With nearly seventy pages in until I felt the book – truthfully – started, this too was a very minor disappointment. However, these gripes aside Wagner does pen a good tale and when the story actually begins, you can feel the whole mood change within the book. Not forgetting also we have shining on every page the artistic talents of Ben Willsher, Staz Johnson, Colin MacNeil and Henry Flint, all of whom provide such true power to each individual panel you cannot help but to give each page the time to be admired.
Day of Chaos: The Fourth Faction is a mixed bag. There are parts I’d gladly drop in favour of more of the elements that which I really enjoyed. It’s a good read, but it hasn’t yet reached classic status. Perhaps when it’s merged with the final part I’ll feel completely different. Still this being said, it has left me rather rabid for Day of Chaos: Endgame.
You can buy Day of Chaos: The Fourth Faction from 2000AD Shop here.
Villordsutch likes his sci-fi and looks like a tubby Viking according to his children. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter.