Apocalypse War

Apocalypse War

The Apocalypse War is a storyline from the comic strip "Judge Dredd", first published in British comic "2000 AD" in 1982. It is a sequel to the story "Block Mania". It was written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra. The Apocalypse War covered 25 episodes over "2000 AD" progs 245–267 and 269–270.


Set in 2104, it tells of the invasion of Dredd's city, Mega-City One by its Soviet counterpart, East-Meg One. While the city is still vulnerable, most of the population having been infected by the Block Mania virus, the East-Meg forces launch a surprise attack on all fronts, including nuking random sectors of the city. Soviet nuclear weapons are then detonated across Mega-City One's Eastern seaboard, creating a tidal wave that destroys the Atlantic Wall and many sectors. With the wall's laser defences gone, the Sovs are able to launch nuclear saturation bombardment of the southern sectors, killing 150 million people in one swoop; Mega-City is unable to strike back due to East-Meg One's forcefield. Ground troops then swarm into the stricken city via the Northern sectors, occupying most of it in only four days while Judge Dredd tries to lead a guerrilla resistance movement.

A decisive turning point was the Mega City Judges' use of the Stub Gun, an experimental two handed cutting weapon able to slice through almost any substance. However, while this weapon was very powerful, sustained use would lead to it overheating and exploding. Dredd leads a band of Mega City Judges who "stubbed" a Mega-City transport nexus forcing East-Meg forces through to the city bottom. Thermal charges were employed in a devastating ambush, temporarily holding the invading forces in the north.

In a few days the Sovs conquer ninety percent of the city, including the Grand Hall of Justice. Chief Judge Griffin is abducted and brainwashed into spreading pro-Sov propaganda, forcing Dredd to assassinate him. Devastating and random weather conditions sweep the city with the destruction of Weather Control, millions of citizens flee to the Cursed Earth, and those deemed Sov collaborators are executed out of hand.

The war is eventually won when Dredd leads a commando unit to seize an East-Meg missile silo and uses it to obliterate East-Meg One, with the loss of 500 million lives. The war left Mega-City One in ruins, with many highly radioactive areas and other hazards and half of its 800 million population dead. It fell to the new Chief Judge McGruder to begin the long task of rebuilding.

The destruction of East-Meg One would have consequences in several further stories. In 2121 Dredd was abducted and put on trial for war crimes by a group of East-Meg survivors at the New Kremlin, but he escaped and killed many of them before the kangaroo court could return its verdict.


While the "Apocalypse War" story was one of the more memorable storylines of Judge Dredd, and very much a product of its time (the Cold War), there were other reasons for the story. As mentioned in the collected "Block Mania" and "Apocalypse War" Titan reprint, the writers felt that Mega-City One had essentially grown too big. When Judge Dredd started, the Mega-Cities boundaries were not exactly set in stone. Eventually it became established that MC-1 spanned the entire Eastern Seaboard, from the Canadian Border in the north, to the tip of Florida in the south. Even taking into account suspension of disbelief, the idea that Judge Dredd could be in almost any area in no time was implausible. A 'clean up' of a universe in a comic storyline is not confined to "2000 AD", as one on an even grander scale happened in DC Comics with their "Crisis on Infinite Earths".


The storylines for Apocalypse War and the lead-up story "Block Mania" were reprinted in a graphic novel by Titan Books: "Judge Dredd: The Complete "Apocalypse War" Including "Block Mania" as a paperback (1995-03-01) ISBN-10: 1852864044, 224 pages.

There was also a hardback edition with a minimalist black cover.

External links

* [http://www.2000adonline.com/index.php3?zone=thrill&page=thrillcredits&choice=The_Apocalypse_War&Comic=2000AD Timeline precis of the story] , by Paul Scott

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