The aspect of authority is always contained within the locations in which it is adjourned. In some places, survival has to transcend the law: to allow it to take on a different meaning and, by extension, grow from it. In “Judge Dredd: Under Siege” [Mark Russell/IDW/96pgs], a story on the blight in the waste dumping part of Mega CIty One, within a place called the Patrick Swayze Block, the essence of basic human decency has broken down most because of the texture of economic decay. No one can afford the basics of a normal life and the law does not have a say. The story, in many ways, plays more like an homage to “Total Recall” because it involves mutants, both bad and good, wanting to be accepted as normal citizens. Dredd enters into the block to find a missing judge who was there doing community education. He finds a blonde haired, power hungry mutant there instead who wants to detonate a bomb in the main pedestrian mall of Mega City One, not to kill people but to infect it with radioactivity so eventually those residents will become mutants and they will all be together as one. Dredd is still bathed in the idea of black and white because that is all he has known. It is up to the Rebels fighting around him to hold him to an ideal and not the other way around, which speaks to the Under Siege ideal which more speaks to the idea that the Judges won’t be around forever.
By Tim Wassberg