This books collects a number of short stories that were all drawn by Greg Staples – a regular contributor to 2000AD having worked on such characters as Judge Dredd, Sláine and Sinister Dexter. His style reminds me of Simon Bisley which is appropriate as he was first introduced to 2000AD’s editor by him. The stories are mainly written by a subdued Garth Ennis with a couple from Judge Dredd creator John Wagner.
In Rough Guide to Suicide Dredd has to track down the creator of a dangerous video circulating Mega-City One that encourages its citizens to commit suicide.
Babes in Arms is the story of the revenge of a bunch of jilted wives from Mega-City Two who come looking for the husbands who married them only so they could rip off their money and start a new life in Mega-City One.
Innocents Abroad concerns the Emerald Isle Judge Joyce who comes to Mega-City One on the trail of the O’Dilligan brothers who have fled there after a bank raid. The brothers go to see a third brother who is set up in Mega-City One but who learns that he a has a weird disease, McSod’s Syndrome, that will mutate him unless he can treat it with gold.
In The Squealer Dredd thinks he has found the perfect informant when the wife of a dead squealer, Millard Klinch, claims that she is receiving information from his ghost. However the ghost of Klinch has its own agenda.
The last two stories were written by John Wagner. The first, Enter: Jonni Kiss, is an introduction to a character who assassinates a Sov-Block supreme judge and is then given his next target - Judge Dredd. The last, You Are the Mean Machine is a comic tale taking the reader into the thought processes (or lack of them) of Mean Machine Angel.
Judge Dredd stories are always entertaining and these ones are no exception - while not necessarily being classics. The art is great and it was interesting reading again some of Garth Ennis’s work where he was not allowed to give free expression to his love of ultraviolence (although the red pencil is required quite a bit) and the black humour is not quite as pitch black as it is in some of his later work.