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Reviews Comments: Complete Case Files 06 [progs 271 - 321] Judge Dredd film/book review by Vampire Buddha

Covering just under one year, volume 6 is concerned almost entirely with the aftermath of the Apocalypse War. The big theme of this volume is the devastation which lasts long after the end of a war. It starts off with Dredd breaking up a Robot Republic that has arisen in the rubble of Mega-City One. After that, it introduces the Fatties, enormously fat individuals who are one of the comic's most famous elements.

One of the best stories is the three-parter "Fungus", in which a fatal and highly contagious mutant fungus is spread around Mega-City One. One of Justice Department's med division makes the ultimae sacrifice in a truly harrowing sequence, and at the end, new Chief Judge McGruder sentences all the infectees to death to prevent the infection from spreading.

The one-issue "Gunge" revisits Otto Sump, who has developed a cheap, tasty, highly nutritious range of foods which is opposed by the city's upper crust. There's some decent satire here, mostly on advetising and branding. Fortunately, it's done in a subtle enough manner that the story is still enjoyable.

Later in the volume comes "Shanty Town" in which groups of refugees without the Judges to oversee them descend into lawlessness and violence, which brings home the lesson that, while the Judge System is horrible, the alternative is probably worse.

The most notable story is the eight-part "Destiny's Angels", in which Fink escapes from prison. Meanwhile, the Judge Child resurrects Mean and sends him to Earth to team up with Fink and kill Dredd. It's a good action story, with some nice dark humour from the Angels, and the Judge Child's final fate sets up next volume's "City of the Damned".

"The Last Invader" concerns a surviving Sov Judge in Mega-City One, not realising the war is over. This is one of the darker stories, showing a man who is honourable in his own way, driven insane by loyalty to his own country to wage war against a state that no longer bears him ill will.

Finally, we get "Condo", a story about societal breakdown as a result of the class conflict brought on by Judicial order. The morality of this last story is profoundly ambiguous, making it very much a quintessential Dredd story.

The only real flaw with this volume is that it is only as long as volume 3, yet costs as much as the full-length black and white volumes.


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