Previewing ‘Judge Dredd: Control’: Psycho-Judge On The Loose In MC-1

by Richard Bruton

There’s a psycho-killer on the loose in Mega-City One and she’s wearing the SJS uniform. Psychopathic SJS Judge Pin is targeting those Judges she sees as failing to meet her standards, and now Dredd and his trusted group are in her sights in Judge Dredd: Control...

Judge Pin… SJS Judge, psychopath. A chilling thought, that one of those in charge could be so warped to routinely murder any of her fellow Judges that she thinks are failing to meet her standards.
It’s a tale that Rob Williams and Chris Weston have been spinning over quite a while now, just nine parts long yet delivering a real punch in the execution, made all the more effective by taking their time with it. As with so much of Williams’ Dredd work, he really does seem to have a perfect tone, dealing with Dredd’s determination as well as that oh so slight doubts creeping in as he gets older that there might be other ways to do things.

And as for Pin, the psychotic madness and the threat is a slow burn thing. Yes, we might see Pin for what she is in the very first episode but it’s the way she and Dredd slowly evaluate each other for the threat they are that makes this such a chiller.
Knowing SJS Judge Pin is the psychotic killer behind a spate of Judge deaths is hardly a spoiler here, it’s been an open secret for so long, even making it to the back-cover blurb on this collection. But I still remember the sense of shock when first reading that opening episode of The Fields back in 2017 and getting to the moment of realising how twisted Pin was and the threat she posed.

And as we get into Pin’s psyche, things just get more terrifying, seeing how unhinged events in her life have made her, watching as she does the unthinkable time and time again, all with the near-unshakable belief that what she is doing is right.
Again, it’s that dark reflection of Dredd coming out, an example of how thin a line the Judges have to tread and how easy it might be to go so wrong…

The Pin tale is the big one here, beginning with The Fields (Prog 2035-2036), Fit For Purpose (Prog 2073-2074), and Control (Prog 2141-2145) – making up half the book but delivering something that, like much of Williams’ Dredd tales over the last few years, feels important, feels Wagner-esque, the sort of tales that are formative things for the future of Dredd. We go deep into the cast of characters, pulling in many of those who worked as Dredd’s inner circle of trusted few from The Small House, including SJS Judge Gerhard and Judge Maitland…

Williams is fortunate to have both Chris Weston and Henry Flint to illustrate his Dredds, with both artists consistently delivering excellent material, whether it’s Flint on The Small House where Dredd and his group of trusted colleagues came up against Judge Smiley, or the tales here with Weston on art duties, a perfect choice for both the horrific tale of SJS Judge Pin and the various stories that come in the second part of this great book.
As for the second half of the book, it’s still the Williams/Weston show with those odd little tales of MC-1 from hither and yon, all of which look and read so well.
The absolute best of these has to the return of Sensitive Klegg in ‘The Heart is a Lonely Klegg Hunter‘ – where there’s gag after gag after gag of this sort…

But there’s various other bits of Dredd goodness in here from the Williams & Weston team; a malfunctioning Barney and the trial of giving the Cits cash for good behaviour in Boxing Day, Chimps on the loose in the Poshtube in Elevator Pitch, and the malfunctioning orbital defence station of The Death of Dan-E Cannon, written and drawn by Weston, where the whole thing must surely have just come from Weston coming up with that pun (Danny Cannon – director of the Stallone Dredd movie.)
And there’s also the Weston written and drawn Cadet Dredd vs Grudzilla from the Regened Prog 2130 all-ages, which all comes from Weston wanting to have young Dredd and Rico deep in dino poop. All-ages sure, but looking and reading every bit the ‘proper’ Dredd.
Across 130 odd pages, Williams and Weston deliver again and again, but it’s the tale of SJS Judge Pin that really hits hardest, making Control another essential Dredd volume for your collection.

JUDGE DREDD: CONTROL – by Rob Williams and Chris Weston, colours by Dylan Teague, Michael Dowling, Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse, published by Rebellion in digital on 9 July and in print on 10 December.
Originally published from 2012-2020 in 2000 AD Progs 1800, 1888-1889, 2011, 2035-2036, 2073-2074, 2088-2089, 2130, 2141-2145.
Now… a little taster of the very first tale in here, as we discover the secret of Judge Pin in The Fields

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