Following the epic events of volume 02, volume 03 of Judge Dredd
returns to the shorter stories of volume 01. There aren't any stories in here that last longer than four progs, or about the length of one monthly American comic. That said, what's in here is decent, and is streets ahead of volume 01.
Parts of this book read almost like a deconstruction
of volume 01. Whereas before the fact that robots did everything was portrayed as utopian
, here, it turns out that this situation leads to mass unemployment, and the ensuing boredom is the root cause of Mega-City One's massive crime rate. This then forms an easy to understand commentary on social issues facing Britain in the late 70s and early 80s
We also get to see Dredd's softer side as, when a group of recently unemployed smash up some robots so they can work, Dredd sentences them to 15 years hard labour in the Cursed Earth, much to their delight. At the same time, he tries to be a role model to Rico's daughter, Vienna, but decides to stop seeing her in case she is kidnapped
The most notable story in this collection is the appearance of Judge Death, the series' most iconic antagonist. While Death may have been degraded in later stories, in his first appearance, he is a genuinely fearsome and scary being who cannot be permanently killed. This story also introduces Judge Anderson, who will go on to become a major supporting character and even get her own spinoff
The main flaw with this collection is that it is rather short. At about half the length of volumes 01 and 02, while still being in black and white on non-glossy paper, €24 (£15) feels rather stiff. Given what's in volume 04, I can understand why Rebellion made this volume so short; still, it's a pity, because if it was more reasonably priced, it would have been a great introduction to Judge Dredd