Over the last 40 years there’s been plenty of Judge Dredd epics in 2000 AD from The Cursed Earth through to the Apocalypse War and The Judge Child Quest and with Judge Dredd: Every Empire Falls we have an epic for Dredd in the 21st century. Set after a number of massive disasters have hit Mega City One have left it not the major world power it was. Written by Michael Carroll and drawn by a team of artists including Henry Flint, P.J Holden and the great Carlos Esquerra, Every Empire Falls is one of Dredd’s more melancholic epics.
We pick up the story with a more contemplative Dredd who for months has been training rookie Judges as well as retraining Judges from other parts of the world in the ways of Mega City One. After the events of Chaos Day, the city is rebuilding again though the city is weak, and open for any foes to take advantages. Step forward Fintan Joyce, a Judge from Ireland who is thrown head-first into trying to protect the city from The Goblin King; a supposed Mega City urban myth who is in fact very real but that’s just a warm up for a threat that dregs up ghosts from not just Dredd’s past, but Joyce’s too.
Every Empire Falls is one of those books that provides action and adventure, but it deals with a Dredd who is trying hard to keep on top of everything as after all; at this point he’s been a Judge for 56 years. Even for Joe Dredd time catches up with you and Carroll tells a solid set of tales of Dredd and his rookies combating threats, some of which end up being deeply political. It isn’t a consistent book; it is sometimes a tad patchy, and there’s an over-reliance on big action scenes but this is good fun Judge Dredd. It isn’t too challenging, and there’s enough in it to make it a fun read, but this isn’t prime Judge Dredd.