Providing plenty of ‘screen time’ for this mini-series’ main antagonist, Tallyrand, “the leader of a band of mutants determined to invade the city”, Issue Three of “Judge Dredd: Under Siege” undoubtedly provided its readers in July 2018 with an entertaining mixture of pulse-pounding action and ever increasing tension as the uneasy alliance between Mega-City One’s foremost lawman and Patrick Swayze Block’s residents is stretched to breaking point. In fact, the edgy aura of mistrust between the two opposing forces is perfectly palpable by the time the eye-patch wearing mutant drops fifty of the citizens’ “friends and relatives” to their grisly deaths, and Judge Beeny is cowardly gunned down from behind by one of the hapless hostages’ father; “I’m sorry. My daughter is up there.”
Such a shockingly bloody moment however is only the tip of the sense-shattering iceberg for this twenty-page periodical’s script, with Mark Russell genuinely managing to encapsulate just why ‘Old Stoney Face’ is the “longest-running character” for the British magazine “2000 A.D.” by demonstrating the titular character’s undefeatable “teatherball” skills one moment, as Joe impressively traps a dozen abseiling attackers with one of their own number, and then seconds later saves Tiger Whitehead’s life courtesy of lumping a double-headed terrorist with a large fake chicken leg outside Ersat’s Meats. In addition, these action-packed sequences are also imbued with precisely the dark humour Dredd’s audience have come to expect, with arguably the comic’s highlight depicting the judge accepting the surrender of a rat-faced foe only to inadvertently drop him into an industrial grinder when more mutants fire upon the pair.
Interestingly, the Eisner Award-nominee’s narrative also proves equally as enjoyable in its explanation as to what happened to the two Kidney Hut goons who once abducted Tiger’s young brother. Sentenced to exile in the sewers beneath the gigantic accommodation tower by its new ‘Mayor’, the “cute little collection agents” now work for Tallyrand and appear perfectly willing to advise the smooth-talking villain as to precisely where he needs to detonate a dirty bomb if he wants it to “spread debris for miles over dozens of sectors across Mega-City One.” Wonderfully pencilled by Max Dunbar, Eighteen and Twenty have clearly had some significant adventures of their own and look set to be about to enjoy their revenge upon the people who abandoned them to their fate beneath the metropolis’ surface when their employer offers to “turn Swayze Block over to you” once the mutants have won.