We pick up Judge Dredd: Under Siege #2 as the citizens and Judges mount a rag-tag defence against the mutants that are invading their block from the Cursed Earth. The church they’ve set up defences in proves to be vulnerable as the mutants have managed to infiltrate the floors above them, and the defenders are forced to pull back as they’re overrun.
While they look for a second spot to set up their defences, we learn a little more about the block, the people who live there, and “The Mayor” who runs the place. Unemployment was through the roof, most people could barely scrape together a handful of creds and more than one was forced to turn to “Kidney Hut”, volunteering not only their own organs to make money, but their family as well.
Of course, as so often happens in these dystopian futures and all too often in real life, the arguments from the Kidney Hut employees boil down to “We don’t force people to give us their kidneys. We’re just providing a service.” However, when it becomes obvious the debt collectors from Kidney Hut will stop at nothing to collect what they’re owed, including dragging off children, the citizens fight back.
As always, Dredd and 2000AD aren’t afraid to shine a spotlight on our own culture, quietly reminding us that there are plenty of businesses out there, “legal” or not, that will always exist to take advantage of the less fortunate.
The issue ends with the citizens, Judges and mutants once again in pitched battle, the outcome unclear, the defenders outnumbered. Only time will tell who will triumph.
Let’s be honest, we all know it’s going to be Dredd. His name is in the title, after all. The man who was once shot in the head and walked it off, who took the Long Walk into the Cursed Earth and came back. Joe Dredd is as near to immortal as they come. The interest is always in seeing how he’ll escape, and who else will live long enough to make it out with him.
Another strong issue here, with the scenes in the church and the commentary from the robot priest being particularly amusing. The combat scenes are frantic without being cluttered, with a clear sense of how the combat is going and what the odds are. There is, again, lots of lovely background details such as the “We want body parts” graffiti, the Thanksgiving “Museum of Food”, “Lukewarm Topic” shop and even the “light coat”, a coat that literally lights up in the dark.
The contrasts between this comic and both the Karl Urban Dredd movie and The Raid remain as strong as ever, but it’s a fun, entertaining story with some great dialogue, social commentary that isn’t hammered home with a crowbar, and plenty of action.