Released on the 27th February; Day Of Chaos; The Fourth Faction is merely the first in a series of books collecting the entire Day Of Chaos storyline from Judge Dredd. Epic barely begins to describe what writer (and Dredd c0-creator) John Wagner accomplished with Day Of Chaos, finishing something put into place over 30 years ago with The Apocalypse War.
Back in 1981 Dredd’s world had simply become too big, Mega-City One a sprawling metropolis that extended across most of the East coast of North America and co-writers Wagner and Alan Grant decided it was time for a little radical shrinkage.
Cue the Apocalypse War and its prologue Block Mania, where Sov Block East-Meg One destroyed half of the extended MC-1 in a nuclear strike before Dredd retaliates with a counter-strike that wipes East-Meg One from the face of the Earth. It was a staggering series, shocking in the all too believable ease with which millions of people lost their lives.
Now 30 years later (remember that Judge Dredd takes place in real time – 30 years of reading time is 30 years of MC-1 time as well) the Sovs are in position to strike back. But this time it’s not a sudden strike, but a slow, pernicious infiltration of MC-1, a plot decades in the making, designed to destroy the city from within, final revenge for Dredd’s act of mass destruction.
The city is struggling to cope with the loss of much-loved Mayor Ambrose (PJ Maybe doing good things alongside the serial killings) and an election is on the cards. Meanwhile Cadet Judge Hennessey has dire predictions of terrible things happening on election day. Unknown to all, it appears she may be right, as East-Meg assassin Nadia arrives in MC-1, looking for a scientist and a very, very deadly virus.
The Day Of Chaos may be a long way off yet, but it starts right here and we’re pleased to be able to preview one of the early strips from The Fourth Faction.
Day Of Chaos has a special resonance for me, as it was the storyline I jumped into back in Febraury 2012, when I made the pledge to start reading 2000AD regularly for the first time in my life. It was a decision of fortuitous timing, as it corresponded to a fantastic year of comics, but meant that I came into Day Of Chaos midway through. It took me a while to appreciate the subtle progression of Wagner’s plot, everything slow burning to the end. Personally I can’t wait to dive into these early Day Of Chaos episodes I missed. Not long to wait now.