Prog #149: I Just Stick My Hand In And… Ssqueezze! (Judge Death, part 1)

Case File

A horrific mockery of the Judges is killing citizens in the Big Meg. Can even Dredd survive when the sentence is Death?

The Big Meg (and Beyond)

Judge Death strikes at the Rabbit Hutch, a popular nightspot. The Button Jock is playing “Who Put the Boop?”, which is doing well in the charts apparently. Well, he plays it until his heart is squished.

The Law

The Justice Department have a lab that can quickly analyse skin tissue.

Creeps

Let’s put it off no longer – say hello to Judge Death. He appears to be a walking skeleton in a bizarre parody of a Judge’s uniform. The helmet has a portcullis visor, the Judges’ shoulder-eagle looks like a pterodactyl, and the name badge is a skull with DEATH printed on it. The Justice Department lab determines that his skin is centuries old and decomposed. Lawgiver bullets knock him down but don’t kill him. (Well, obviously, I mean you cannot kill what does not live!)

Death is able to reach right through a person’s skin to grab their heart and squeeze the life out of it. From the narration we get in the strip, he hates the sounds of life. According to him, dying is good. And easy. He claims to the Judges that he’s here to bring Law to the City – the Law of Death!

Holy Grud!

The first appearance of Judge Death is iconic for a reason. It’s incredible.

Resyk

Death takes out Tiny the Tap, a criminal on the run from the Judges, and the future DJ of the Rabbit Hutch.

Verdict

Just like the Cursed Earth, this is a tricky one to analyse out of context. I haven’t read almost any of the other Judge Death stories, but I know he’s a huge part of the world. Even knowing that, the character is chilling and effective here – mostly through Brian Bolland’s macabre artwork as we don’t get too much in the way of character yet.

This is a big shift into the paranormal for the series, but it’s so effective that it works.

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