Issue six of Judge Dredd: The Blessed Earth jumps straight into action as we find Dredd the prisoner of the reanimated skeleton of former Cadet Judge Brad Johnson from all the way back in the first issue.
Bundled into the back of Johnson’s truck, the two of them are being pursued by a dozen Neon Knights vehicles in a chase sequence straight out of Mad Max. The action is fast and frentic, and comes with some pretty big plot revelations too, making that scene feel fast and punchy.
The art style really shines here too, with the cobbled together vehicles, gunfire, and explosions coming together in pags that almost feel like there’s too much to take in. It adds to the action, makes things feel punchy and dangerous. The issue also holds huge revelations regarding the missing skeletons, and the robot revolution, as Judge Quill discovers that the people who have fallen victim to the skeleton thefts are biosims, artificially created humans.
When confronting Judge Hershey and Judge Anderson about the situation Quill gets faced with a horrific moral argument, can artificial life be considered real life? Whilst Quill argues that the destruction of biosims and robots constitutes to genocide Anderson retorts that it’s no different than recycling.
With the series having previously made parallels to machines being treated similarly to slaves, and with the Neon Knights a very clear depiction of the KKK, Judge Dredd: The Blessed Earth feels very much like a story that is relevant today, with a hard focus on racism and hatred amidst the science fiction trappings. This feels incredibly relevant in this issue, where these themes aren’t just hinted at, but thrown straight into the reader’s faces.
Possibly the best issue of the series thus far, issue six answers many of the mysteries surrounding the events of the previous issues, and sets up well for what feels to be an actionpacked, and weighty finale.
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