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Judge Dredd: Toxic #4 (IDW Publishing) Comic Review

    Ian Jane

  • Judge Dredd: Toxic #4 (IDW Publishing) Comic Review

    Judge Dredd: Toxic #4 (IDW Publishing) Comic Review
    Released by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: February 20th, 2019.
    Written by: Paul Jenkins
    Illustrated by: Marco Castiello
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    “With block wars raging out of control, anti-alien radicals roaming the streets, and rapidly deteriorating conditions in the Spillover, Mega-City One teeters on the brink of destruction. The Judges' last hope to save the city lies deep beneath the streets - surviving scrubbers who can repair the damaged Spillover. But the symbiotes aren't the only aliens lurking in that giant sewer…”

    Dredd, Scammon and Anderson are in the Spillover where a massive alien being is trying to communicate to the symbiotes that they're hosting. Dredd, being Dredd, isn't really into opening up to hear what it was to say but Scammon is savvy enough to do just that and he learns that the creature they're communicating with is the queen and that she is literally physically half of the spillover. She and her workers have been using the Spillover as a hive for years, watching and learning about the humans that live above and apparently - somewhat understandably - becoming increasingly confused by their behavior.

    Dredd gets things back on track, questioning the queen about the whereabouts of some of the Mega-City One citizens they're down there trying to bring back. Scammon finds them, bound in a web kind of like in Aliens, and Dredd pulls out his lawgiver and demands that they be released. And then Anderson points out what is really happening with these people in the webbing and what they alien is really doing with them. When Dredd decides it's time to bring the Scrubbers back up a level or two, he, Anderson, Scammon and the aliens realize who the real threat is and soon find the Spillover under siege.

    “I know my rights, just as these patriots know you are complicit in the staining of our genetic pool.”

    Marco Castiello's artwork is impressive throughout the four issue run, this final issue being no exception. There's a lot of great detail here, especially in the way that he illustrates the faces of the various participants in the storyline. Jason Millet's coloring work is also solid, bringing the pencils out nicely and helping to further flesh out the visual side of things.

    Jenkins' script for this final issue, like the three before it, tackles the obvious and ugly side of current American politics straight on, pulling no punches in rightly portraying white nationalists and white supremacists as the human garbage that they are. Their leaders are made clear to be manipulative scammers and the followers of those leaders uneducated, easily lead by those who are able to tell them what they want to hear and point the blame for their lot in life at anything different. It's genuinely depressing stuff, but at the same time, also the perfect backdrop for a Judge Dredd story. Jenkins' story might be heavy handed at times, but it's also very entertaining. There's a lot of solid action in here and a good amount of genuinely effective humor too, mainly in the dialogue between the ever empathetic Anderson and the always hard ass Dredd. But it ends on a poignant note, with public basically ignoring the issue at hand once the violence stops… at least until it flares up again - but at least there's a modicum of righteous justice served out in the final few pages that we won't spoil here.

    All in all, this was a solid story well worth reading. Politically astute and spot on it its pointed barbs towards certain segments of society, it's also a super entertaining read - everything a good Judge Dredd story should be.

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