Essential Judge Anderson: Satan TPB Review

Written by Joel Harley

Published by Rebellion

essential judge anderson satan cover large

Originally published as Judge Dredd Megazine #3.14, #2.22 - #2.24, #3.01 - #3.07 2000AD #1263 - #1273

Written by Alan Grant
Illustrated by Arthur Ranson and Mick Austin
Lettered by Annie Parkhouse and Steve Potter

1993, 1995, 1999, 2001, 146 pages
Graphic novel released on 8th May 2024


Psi-Judge Cassandra Anderson returns in this second collection of stories from Alan Grant and Arthur Ranson. Continuing the Essential series of 2000AD books (which also includes a number of Judge Dredd's greatest hits and Rogue Trooper: Genetic Infantryman), the second volume of Anderson adventures focuses on the lead-up to and encounter with none other than Satan himself.

There are actually four stories collected here; The Protest, R*evolution, Jesus Syndrome, and the main event, Satan - each largely standalone, but thematically linked and similar in tone and style. Like Grant and Ranson's previous work on the character, it looks at life in Mega-City One through a deeply humanist lens, its writing and storytelling in sync with the empathy and soul of its lead character.

Which isn't to say that there's no room for the absurdism and gory action one might associate with a more 'typical' Judge Dredd strip. In The Protest and R*evolution, Grant showcases both a wry sense of humour and an eye for silly sci-fi antics, jumping from a story about citizens in revolt (and ending with a truly great gag) to one in which Anderson finds herself bodynapped by a psychic gorilla.

Click images to enlarge.

Jesus Syndrome, like so many of the best Mega-City One stories, explores the ways in which the Judges exert control over the citizens and their beliefs - with Anderson interrogating a man claiming to be the second coming of Christ. Once again, Anderson finds herself conflicted and torn between the system which she herself is a cog in, and her personal sense of faith.

These beliefs are further tested when she and Judge Dredd come face-to-face with Satan (yes, that one) in the very next story, stark naked, alabaster white, and waiting at the walls of Mega-City One. Those hoping for an explosive showdown for Dredd and the Devil may be left sorely wanting, as Grant and Ranson subvert expectation in favour of their own talky, typically esoteric take on a game of Twenty Questions between Satan and Anderson (recalling a similar encounter in Neil Gaiman's first volume of The Sandman).

Dredd, amusingly, is a bit of a spare part here - although it does lead to perhaps my favourite moment in the character's entire history, and a genuinely touching one at that.

Click images to enlarge.

Once again, Ranson's artwork is the star attraction, with the artist given ample rein to get weird, as Anderson experiments with astral projection, battles a Jabberwocky-type enemy in a river of blood, and imagines herself as Satan's cosmic herald. At the same time, he captures the grit and the grubbiness of the inner city Big Meg too. I first read The Protest in my early teens, and its imagery - a man lighting himself on fire in the middle of the street - stuck with me in the years that followed. It remains relevant too, with 2000AD and Judge Dredd frequently returning to its themes of government control and the citizens' lack of agency in their own lives.

Like other books in the line - including Shamballa before it - this is only essential if you don't happen to own one of the many volumes it's already been collected in before; however, the larger album-style binding is the ideal showcase for Ranson's work, allowing the detail and colours pop from the page like never before.

Essential Judge Anderson: Satan is another stellar collection in an impressively well-judged series, featuring art and writing from some of the publisher's all-time greatest talents.


Buy from Amazon UK.
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
Other articles by this writer


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