Judge dredd: the cursed earth

Re­turn of the Big Mac

SFX - - Reviews - Ac­cord­ing to artist Kevin O’Neill, The Cursed Earth was in­spired by the 1967 Roger Ze­lazny novel Dam­na­tion Al­ley.

Satire’s al­ways been a vi­tal in­gre­di­ent in Judge Dredd sto­ries, but one of the ear­li­est Dredd mega-epics pushed the satir­i­cal bound­aries a lit­tle too far. The Cursed Earth fol­lows Dredd on a voy­age across the ra­dioac­tive waste­lands of Amer­ica to save Mega-City Two, and the orig­i­nal 25-part epic fea­tured en­coun­ters with remixed ver­sions of cor­po­rate char­ac­ters like Ron­ald McDon­ald, the Miche­lin Man and the Jolly Green Gi­ant.

Thanks to a threat­ened law­suit, those chap­ters were never reprinted in the UK and left out of pre­vi­ous col­lec­tions – but now, thanks to changes in the UK’s par­ody laws, pub­lish­ers Re­bel­lion are fi­nally re­leas­ing the com­plete story in a snazzy hard­back “un­cen­sored” edi­tion.

The Cursed Earth is still a land­mark in 2000 AD’s early his­tory, a punky ex­plo­sion of ad­ven­ture that fea­tures top-notch art­work from sem­i­nal Dredd artists Mick McMa­hon and Brian Bol­land. The restora­tion of the orig­i­nal colour dou­ble-page spreads makes this hand­some edi­tion even more at­trac­tive, but it’s the two “un­cen­sored” sto­ries – 26 pages of re­stored ma­te­rial – that are the main high­light.

“Giants Aren’t Gen­tle­men”, which stars a ge­net­i­cally en­gi­neered Jolly Green Gi­ant, is note­able for Bol­land’s typ­i­cally sharp vi­su­als, while “Burger Wars” is a fe­ro­cious romp that pitches Dredd against the war­ring fast-food clans of the Mc­Don­alds and the Burger King. Fea­tur­ing en­er­getic art from McMa­hon, it’s a blackly comic clas­sic that lives up to its rep­u­ta­tion, and once again proves how strong the early years of 2000 AD were. Saxon Bul­lock

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