The last Judge Dredd related material I read was Judge Dredd Year Two, a collection of three novellas that I rated highly. I noted in my review that my experience with Dredd was limited and even now, that remains the same. What was nice about Judge Dredd Year Two is that the stories where able to be enjoyed even without any prior knowledge of characters or events, however, the same can’t be said for Judge Fear’s Big Day Out and Other Stories. A lot of the stories (32 in total at 416 pages) barely feature Judge Dredd but instead focus on other Judges, criminals, or bystanders who interact with Dredd at some point. The stories, though, make Dredd out to be nothing but a self-righteous dick who slides into the tale to either shoot or arrest someone without knowing the full story behind what is going on.
As for the main character featured in the title of the book, Judge Fear, his story is a short and somewhat disappointing sitdown with the deadly Judge who chats with an older man while people drop dead around him. The ending comes quick and feels disjointed.
Another thing that the stories focus on is the big event known as Chaos Day, which I had zero information about, so a lot of what the characters discussed was flying high over my head. Is that a fault of the book? Hell no, that is entirely my issue, but I figured I should issue a warning (citation?) for any “fans” like me who know nothing but love to read.
Not all the stories hit the mark for excitement, but none of them is long enough to be boring (mainly because these were all featured in magazine format first), which was a bonus for someone as inexperienced as me. I didn’t like how Dredd was such a dickhole in every single story included in this book. It makes it hard to root for him when the man would probably arrest his mother for sneezing on a Tuesday at 2 PM, which I assume is a crime as everything is a freaking crime.
Judge Fear’s Big Day Out and Other Stories is a book for the fans, and those fans will want to pick it up. If you’re like me and see yourself as a casual fan, you might have a tough time getting into the stories. Even still, I enjoyed my quick stay with asshole Dredd and friends.