Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More fun with Dredd

Seeing as how we had so much fun recently with Judge Dredd, let's get back into the action and look at the second story from Judge Dredd #16 that we talked about yesterday.

Night of the Bloodbeast
  • Writer: John Wagner
  • Artist: Garry Leach
  • Letterer: Tony Jacob
  • Colorist: John Burns
The post-nuclear future may be a rough and scary place, but some things never change. Case in point...the husband dragging his feet on the way to visit his mother-in-law.

Lucky for this particular son-in-law, he gets eaten by a vicious monster who steps out of the elevator, so he doesn't have to visit the old battle-axe after all!

By the time that Judge Dredd is on the scene, things have gotten even more grisly as the monster has moved beyond his initial two victims and is working his way through the apartment building looking for more meat.

In a throwback to another previous Judge Dredd story, we find out that the monster is actually a member of the Klegg race of aliens. A mutated Klegg, but a Klegg nonetheless.

For those unfamiliar with Judge Dredd continuity, the Kleggs are an alien mercenary race that the tyrant Chief Judge Cal used to quell disorder in Mega-City One. Needless to say, things didn't pan out quite right and the aliens were banished from earth.

Not all of the Kleggs made it off planet however, as this particular one was kept hostage by a couple who thought they could make a buck or two off him after the rest of the Kleggs were destroyed. They kept him caged and fed him scraps until he was strong enough to escape and eat his captors. Oops.

Now loose in the building, it is welcomed into a costume party where compliments on his "costume" don't dissuade him from eating the other partygoers. That's where Judge Dredd catches up him and tries to take him down.

With regular bullets not even slowing him down, Dredd switches to Dum-Dum rounds but the beast keeps coming. Not even a couple of shots directly to the brain are enough to stop the creature before it has Dredd in it's grasp.

But Dredd's aim was true, it just took the creature a little bit longer to realize that he was dead.

Taking his final utterance as a post-mortem nom-de-guerre, Dredd eulegizes Urk as just as much a victim as everyone else. After all, he was just a beast, innocent in his desire to quench his hunger.

A good judge, however, knows that sometimes you have to protect the city against the innocent as well as the guilty.


So far we're batting a thousand at the Random Longbox, as far as Judge Dredd stories go. While not as meaty (pardon the pun) as the previous tale, this one is just as entertaining with a little of the old ultra-violence.

This issue gives us a glimpse into the softer side of Judge Dredd, showing him to be more than just a cartoonish buffoon with a gun. Don't get me wrong, he's not crying over Urk's death or joining any candle-light vigils...but he does show that his sense of justice and the law is at least tempered with just a smidgen of humanity.

And suddenly the future doesn't look quite as dystopian.

Now it's time for me to get a little maudlin, as we say goodbye to Judge Dredd for now. Hopefully it won't be too long before the Randomizer picks another Dredd book, but in the meantime we'll carry on as best we can knowing that Mega-City One is in safe hands.

All characters and artwork reproduced are (c) Eagle Comics

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