Judge Dredd is one of the most published comic characters in the world and has been around since the late 1970s. There are many, many classic and famous Dredd storylines but Necropolis stands out as of the best. Necropolis features the three sisters of Judge Death crossing over from their world into Mega City One. The sisters take possession of a psi-judge and use her to boost their own powers. The Justice Department goes to war with the sisters but fails to stop them. Judge Anderson is wounded and taken out of action while Dredd is nowhere to be found. Before the sisters of Death appear, Dredd has taken “the long walk”, wandering the Cursed Earth, though even as far away as he is, the presence of the sisters can be felt. While the sisters free their trapped brothers, Judge Death and the Dark Judges, Dredd sets out to return to Mega City One determined to stop the fiends. He encounters former chief judge McGruder and she accompanies Dredd to the city where the two of them are able to locate Anderson and together free Mega City One from the Dark Judges. During Dredd’s absence though, the Dark Judges have laid waste to the Justice Department and the entire city leaving over sixty million dead. McGruder assumes control of things, returning to being the city’s Chief Judge while Dredd himself reclaims his badge.
There are several stories that foreshadow and lead up to the events of Necropolis the most important of which is Dear Annie which tales the tragic story of a citizen named Xena and her husband. Xena was attacked by Judge Death before he and his Dark Judges were banished into Limbo by Dredd and Anderson. She has never recovered and becomes a vessel for Death’s Sisters to enter Dredd’s world until they can find a more powerful host. The reader truly feels bad for Xena and her husband. Dear Annie is a moving and powerful jab before the carnage begins full out in the main Necropolis story.
There are many things that make Necropolis such a classic and it’s not all just the body count that ensues. The return of the Dark Judges is awesome. Death and his gang come out of Limbo with a roar that will make their fans smile. And Judge Mortis gets some really cool solo scenes, something which doesn’t happen often enough. But one of the best parts of the story’s conclusion for me personally was seeing Judge McGruder redeemed. Before she had taken the Long Walk, she was an enemy of Dredd’s and not exactly mentally stable. Necropolis pulls McGruder out of her own warped, paranoid delusions and forces her to be the hero and judge she was in her youngers days.
Though one can buy a trade paperback of Necropolis on its own, the best means of getting the entire storyline is picking up a copy of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files vol. 14. The huge book not only collects all the lead in tales and Necropolis itself but several other stand alone Dredd stories too.