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Mechanismo by John Wagner
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Issue 2 (volume 24) in the Judge Dredd Mega Collection from Hachette and Rebellion revolves around the "Mechanismo" storylines. The original story was published in Judge Dredd Megazine 2.12 - 2.17 (October - December 1992) and was by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil. The story takes place following the disasters of Necropolis and Judgement Day, with Mega-City One still reeling from these cataclysms. McGruder has been reinstated as Chief Judge following her years wandering the Cursed Earth and is behaving erratically, with her judgement (and her sanity) being questioned by an ever vigilant Dredd. With the ranks of Justice Department depleted McGruder has supervised Tech Judge Stich in developing a cadre of mechanised judge units designed to support the Judges on the mean crime-ridden streets. Against the advice of Dredd, who believes a human is required to ensure the law is delivered in a balanced manner, the robot units are deployed – with disastrous consequences. The storyline continues in "Mechanismo Returns" from Megazine issues 2.22 - 2.26 (February – April 1993) this time by Wagner and John Doherty and "Body Count" from Megazine issues 2.37 - 2.43 (September – December 1993) by Wagner and Manual Benet. This is a hugely enjoyable story although nothing much happens – in essence a giant robot goes berserk and Judge Dredd stoically and violently hunts it down. That said it is clever decompressed story-telling from John Wagner allowing his story to tell itself skilfully and naturally. He reduces dialogue and exposition to an absolute minimum allowing the artists to carry much of the story dynamics, while ensuring a solid bedrock narrative. Wagner cleverly juxtaposes Dredd's sometime robotic adherence to the law with a real robot and manages to humanise Dredd as a result. The story also has a strangely touching "prodigal son" aspect to it as the unbelieving Stich hunts through the sewers in search of his rogue "offspring", the malfunctioning Number 5. The growing distrust and animosity between Chief Judge McGruder and Dredd is also cleverly woven into the story giving it a slightly paranoid edge and building towards future events. Colin MacNeil's full-colour painted artwork is beautifully rendered in lush yellows and bloody, shocking violent reds – his technique in this period giving Dredd's world a very singular and very organic look. Benet's artwork for the final ark is also noteworthy, particularly the atmospheric and claustrophobic sewer sequences. The book itself is beautifully produced running to some 200 full colour pages. It includes an artist’s gallery and a short overview of Colin MacNeil work as well as an intro piece by 2000AD editor Matt Smith. An excellent package and a fine story. ( )
  calum-iain | Feb 21, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0749316403, Paperback)

Mega-City One is at breaking-point, with iso-block break-outs and violent crime on the rise. The Judges are operating below normal strength. Cadets are being rushed into service before they are ready, and dying before their time. Judge Desmon Stich believes the solution is mechanoid judges.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:29 -0400)

A new kind of justice is coming to the mean streets of Mega-City One. The judge forces have been savaged by the bloody zombie war during Judgement Day. When there is a major cubebreak, it's time to call in Mechanismo. Wired for law and built to judge, the robo-enforcer soon becomes an unstoppable force!… (more)

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