Prog #83: We Fight the Forever War! (The Cursed Earth, part 23: Legion of the Damned)

Case File

Dredd’s desperate mission reaches the Death Valley, and Mega-City 2 is within reach. But the soldiers of a long-past great battle rise up to stop them.

329699-19752-125254-1-2000-a-dOl’ Stoney Face

Dredd is determined to crash through or die in the attempt, which doesn’t work out fantastically well as a strategy so far.

He tries to reason with Judge Jack but the man is too far gone.

Friends of Dredd

Judge Jack’s experience as a helpless captive of Satanus, on top of the general harrowing nature of this trip, finally causes him to snap. He abandons Dredd, Spikes and Tweak, casts off his badge and tries to convince the Legion not to kill him. This doesn’t go so well for him. Before this, he separates the Killdozer and the Land Raider, leaving the vaccine beyond Dredd’s reach.

Spikes acquits himself very well here, fighting alongside Dredd to the last desperate hour.

The Big Meg (and Beyond)

Death Valley was the site of the “Battle of Armageddon” in 2071, where the Judges fought the final conflict against President Booth‘s robot armies. Dredd describes this battle as “the most savage of modern times”, and pays his respects to a large War Memorial (a statue of a Judge in combat gear). 1,000 Judges and “Mega Troopers” died in the battle.

The Law

We get a bit more history of the Judges’ takeover from Booth, with Dredd directly calling it “deposing” him and then using their forces to essentially fight a civil war.

Creeps

General Blood ‘N’ Nuts is – there really is no other way to put this – a severed head with anger issues on a small tank. He appears to be a cyborg, with implants over his face.

We can assume he was the leader of (or at least high up in) the Presidential Iron Guard, which are now – along with some remaining military forces called Bezerkers – the Legion of the Damned, a bunch of old war droids that have managed to remain active in Death Valley. They are programmed to kill Judges.

Interestingly though, the General’s forces start off by not wanting to fight but stay down in the dirt.

Dredd’s hopes of crashing through with the Killdozer are foiled by the sheer intensity of the Legion, and this war re-enactment looks like it might not end up well for our heroes.

Resyk

Judge Jack is shot down by the Legion.

Verdict

Dredd goes full zombie war movie! This one is really just an epic within an epic, carried along with huge amounts of energy and rising drama. There’s a real sense here that this is all going to end in disaster as Judge Jack snaps, and then the remains of the convoy are faced with their last stand.

The mix of bleak humour and darkness really pays off here, with Jack’s breakdown actually being pretty effective. It would have worked even more if Jack had had a larger role in the previous issues, but this is a minor complaint. Roll on the final two issues!

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