John WagnerSteve DillonJudge Dredd2000 AD
Judge Dredd: Nightmares
Medium: comic
Year: 1990
Writer: John Wagner
Artist: Steve Dillon
Country: UK
Keywords: Judge Dredd, 2000 AD
Format: 2000 AD 702-706
Website category: Comics UK
Review date: 28 February 2022
I was reading 2000 AD back issues for Garth Ennis's debut story, Time Flies. Naturally, this led to me rereading other strips that caught my eye, like Hewligan's Haircut. Meanwhile, in Mega-City One, the Necropolis epic had just concluded and the Judges were starting to pick up the pieces after the Dark Judges' genocide.
And then Yassa showed up, from The Dead Man. Furthermore, this is the year 2113, so it's possible to replace eyes that got burned out by the Sisters of Death.
I read The Dead Man recently, but never got around to digging out this continuation. Obviously, I fell on this with delight. Is it brilliant? Absolutely not, but I'm happy to see what happened to Yassa. (He didn't actually go home until some weeks later, mind you, and was still around to get shot at by a sniper in the mysteriously-published-in-two-halves Death Aid.)
Judge McGruder is amusing, hirsute and possibly unbalanced. Her speech at the mass grave of millions is so inappropriate that even Dredd thinks it could have used more milk of human kindness.
"What'd you think of the speech?"
"Don't give up the day job."
There's a bit of plot, with kidnappers seeing a money opportunity in Yassa. Dredd corrects their misapprehension. (Terminally.) Far more, though, this is a story of talking. The city's a warzone and the Judges are barely capable of handling the situation. There are burial pits, uncontrolled streets and demonstrations. McGruder asks Dredd if he ever wonders if he did the right thing in taking the walk. There's a Judges' council meeting that ends with Dredd making a huge decision in a certain story arc. "The Democrats are making a lot of noise. Time for a change.. The way we screwed up, the pressure's going to be hard to resist."
Oh, and Yassa's still having nightmares.
It's not as memorable as many Democracy Now! stories, but it's reasonably good. It has some action content, but on closer examination that's not what the story's about. I like this kind of thing, although it does give the impression of a four-parter followed by an unrelated one-parter that's... hang on, that's Part 5. Almost surreptitiously, this is one of Judge Dredd's more important stories, for multiple long-running story arcs.