So how good is “Day of Chaos”? Well the Forbidden Planet blog has made an oath to start reviewing each prog and this just happens to coincide with the current Judge Dredd storyline. Thanks to a bit of prodding they really got to grips with “Day of Chaos” the penny dropping with prog 1779:
Jez Higgins pointed out last Prog in the comments that I was possibly expecting something from the current Dredd storyline that wasn’t necessarily going to happen.
And he’s right. I was always under the impression that this “Eve Of Destruction” storyline was just the first part of the “Day of Chaos” tale. I found out after writing last week’s review that this simply wasn’t the case, and there’s been a fair number of Day Of Chaos storylines prior to this. And that meant Jez was sort of right, and the whole nature of the serial changed for me. This was no longer the prelude to the big everything goes to shit mega epic I was expecting, suddenly it’s reconfigured in my mind as John Wagner writing the Dredd world equivalent of a socio-political thriller, a little Cold War spy hunt, a lot of Orwellian nightmare.
And in doing that my eyes opened, and I looked again, and blow me, this issue opens with a staggeringly good couple of pages of simply brilliant writing, great artwork from Flint, and a perfect look at things going wrong, the Sov virus maybe just the beginning, as the people and the media get a handle on what’s been going on.
And interestingly, just as I’m getting into this Dredd as a great drama in and of itself, there’s a threat that action is just around the corner, what was simmering now threatens to explode. The irony isn’t lost on me that all of a sudden I’m thinking i’d rather it didn’t kick off so quickly!
So they really started getting into it for what it is, not what they thought it was, carrying on with prog 1779:
once we get inside, there’s wow aplenty in Dredd, where everything that can go wrong has gone wrong; the rejected proposal for mass poisoning the victims of the chaos plague has been leaked to the press, the city has erupted, rioters flood the streets, the Judges are overwhelmed, and Mega City One looks in trouble.
The thing is, given the ending, it may be that the trouble has only just started…..
Yes, it’s chaos, everything’s going wrong, there’s nowhere near enough law enforcement to go round, android auxillaries, even temporary executive powers for the military just aren’t enough.
But Wagner doesn’t just throw all the chaos at us, that’s just the start. Against the backdrop of the chaos there’s a thrilling socio-political storyline that’s far more important, and far more interesting, with Wagner spinning out the story of a rogue Judge and the Justice Department’s struggle to find him before he does something very bad indeed. How bad? Oh, bad, very bad.
Dredd: Day Of Chaos has turned turned from something where I hoped it would explode into action to something where I’m absolutely thrilled that it hasn’t, all thanks to Wagner’s practically perfect storytelling, a master at delivering lowkey brilliance.
we’ll start with what may be, if some rumours are to be believed, John Wagner’s swansong on Judge Dredd. Or perhaps just him taking a break from the character. Whatever it is, he’s promising something major:
This is from his Facebook: “Really looking forward to seeing what other writers do with what I’ve left them. It’s a new ballgame – I expect to see some spanking good scripts.”
A while back I was wondering when the real action would start, but since Jez Higgins pointed out just how extensive and involved the story had been so far, I’ve found my reading of it has shifted. It’s become, quite simply, a masterclass in writing a tense, involved and involving political thriller.
The real beauty of it in many ways is that it’s a Dredd story in name only. This is a story of the city, and it’s a city under dire threat right now. Not only is the Chaos Plague still out there, but the threat of the Sov Block terrorists is only just beginning, with traitors revealed right at the heart of the Justice Department:
That’s about the sum of the action here. It is so beautifully composed and constructed that Wagner is telling his story through reportage, through events unfolding. There’s simply no need to have lots of big action sequences, and Wagner, along with Henry Flint’s excellent artwork, is merely laying everything before us, as we watch it all unfold, as amazed and bewildered as the Judges and residents of MC1.
This will be one that joins the ranks of the very best Dredd epics. Yet the incredible thing is that it doesn’t feel like it’s going to be over any time soon. And personally, I’d not complain if it took the remainder of the year to play out.
So don’t make the same mistake. join me on my pledge. Give 2000AD a try. The great thing about it is that there’s always a jumping on point. It happens every Wednesday. Sure, you may be lost slightly for a week or so, but you’ll soon pick it up, and with the comic so good right now, you’ll soon, just like me, be looking forward to Wednesday with near childlike expectation.
If you aren’t reading it, you really should be.
Edit: And a reminder that you can read the Dredd stories from progs 1779 and 1780 right here.
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