2000 AD Prog Slog

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Prog 399

The latest Judge Dredd multi-part epic, City of the Damned, reaches part seven in this prog… I think. Those of you who read previous epic, The Judge Child Quest, will remember how that story was triggered by the death bed premonition of Psi Judge Feyy. Feyy, whose accuracy rate was the highest in Psi-Division, foresaw that only The Judge Child could prevent the destruction of Mega City One in the year 2120. That saga ended with Dredd judging the Judge Child evil and abandoning him in the Hayden System. Now, in City of the Damned, Judges Dredd and Anderson have been sent to the year 2120, fifteen years into their future, to see what, if anything, happens. On their arrival, the city lies in ruins, judges have been turned into vampires and citizens roam the streets as wraths thanks, they learn, to the actions of a supernatural being known only as The Mutant.

City of the Damned has a reputation for being the Judge Dredd epic that doesn't work. In fact, Wagner and Grant were supposedly so disappointed by how the story was unfolding that they decided to wrap it up earlier than planned. My memory is that anticipation for this story was high. Readers weren't going to have to wait fifteen years to see the tying up of that dangling plot thread from the beginning of the Judge Child Quest. We were going to see further developments in Dredd's emotional state the seeds of which were planted during Error of Judgement. In fact, all I remember about City of the Damned is it finishing and thinking, oh, that was sudden. This time around, for The Slog, seven episodes in and I can see that Wagner and Grant are taking their time feeling around for a motion to grab onto. When the story doesn't advance much, I’m not particularly bothered, because there are enough moments of Wagner and Grant pacing magic to make it worthwhile. How I will feel by the end of it, I’ll let you know.

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  • Wouldn't it have been great if they'd really waited for the Judge Child future to happen organically, but then they probably thought 2000AD would be defunct by then.

    Could have been Necropolis without Death and Dredd with his doubts etc.

    By Blogger garageman, at 10:56 pm  

  • I remember the fabulously slinky appearance of Hershey as a vampire at the end of one episode. But you're right - overall CotD was a disappointment.

    By Blogger Ben, at 4:45 pm  

  • Wasn't slinky vampire Hershey drawn by Kim Raymond? If so - props to him! It certainly made up for the later rendition of a crying Anderson by Ron Smith. It's weird - it's like he forgets how to draw a three-quarter face and puts the 'background' eye at a bizrre angle that makes her look like Bet Turner from Coronation Street.

    By Blogger Peter A, at 4:50 am  

  • I told you - it's MY AUNTIE MARGARET!....and she's no' bonnie, I can tell you...

    By Blogger Stavros, at 3:51 am  

  • Garagemen, I think even at prog 400, no one at 2000 AD thought it would still be running in 2008.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:50 pm  

  • Ben, I kept thinkig how Hershey had aged well in 15 years.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:51 pm  

  • Peter, Kim Raymond drew the episode after Ron Smith's Hershey cliff hanger.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:52 pm  

  • Stavros, mail me a picture of Aunty Margaret. I feel I know her.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 6:53 pm  

  • "I remember the fabulously slinky appearance of Hershey as a vampire" - I had only just started reading the comic at the time, and I had no idea who Hershey was. I could tell that she was supposed to be important, but I hadn't ever heard of it. Nonetheless I was fascinated with the existence of a backstory, and with the thought that there was a lot going on in Judge Dredd's world (even though I preferred Rogue Trooper, which was just finishing at the time).

    By Blogger Ashley Pomeroy, at 10:18 pm  

  • I must agree with you, Paul. City of the Damned was a huge disappointment and I can remember looking forward to it with great anticipation. Good to know that Wagner and Grant thought it wasn't much cop either, confirming my own thoughts. Let's face it, a story with both Dredd and Anderson on the case should have been much better.

    By Blogger dmstarz, at 4:24 pm  

  • I'm more bullish on CotD -- liked it a lot better than Necropolis, in fact. To me, the story was stripped-down and almost minimalistic--and I dug the Mutant as something so awful that no one could actually fight against it once it had achieved full power.

    And ditto Ben on the sheer seductive evil of Hershey as vampire.

    By Blogger David J. Williams, at 12:14 am  

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