Judge Dredd
War Planet

Starring: Toby Longworth, Stephen Greif and Laurence Bouvard
Big Finish
RRP £9.99
ISBN 1 84435 051 7
Available now

Intent on apprehending the fugitive Elfi Drago San, Judge Dredd and Psi-Judge Karyn board Justice One for a trip to the Boranos System. Finding their quarry proves simple but returning to Earth less so when the Judges become caught in the crossfire between the warring clans of Earth's forgotten colony...

I really love the way that this series constantly changes so that you are never sure whether the episode will be one that is played entirely for laughs or a tense, action packed play with a moral message at its core.

War Planet falls into the later category. And what a ride Big Finish has for the listener this time around. Is Drago San really the corrupt individual who spits in the face of law and order? Or has he uncovered a few frightening truths about how the law is governed in MegaCity One? What about the crimes that the Law men dish out in the name of justice?

Stephen Greif is perfect as Drago San. He is easily Dredd's equal. In fact, you get the feeling that if things had turned out differently he would have made a great Judge. And the scenes shared between them have been scripted so that Drago San questions everything, while Dredd follows the law to the letter no matter what the outcome. While Drago Sans is portrayed as the black sheep of the story it is Dredd's mindless sheep characteristics that are put under the microscope.

However, Drago Sans intelligence is later brought into question (as most villains is once they've trapped their nemesis) when instead of killing Dredd he decides to leave him stranded. Doesn't Drago Sans know anything about Dredd? He should have killed him. But, then what would Big Finish do in 2004 for its Judge Dredd range?

I'm not sure whether it was intentional, but there is a rousing section of music for this story that sounds not dissimilar to music from Blake's 7 - seemed too much of a coincidence for my liking, what with Greif guest starring.

It's also worth pointing out that India Fisher is extremely sexy as Shamthri and brings to this production one of the best characters to be introduced to the series.

I was also amused at how the conclusion has a slight nit-pick - events earlier in the story could have been sorted quicker thanks to a revelation at the conclusion. But, writer Dave Stone addresses this issue very tongue in cheek.

A great way to conclude Big Finish's 2003 series of Dredd audio productions. Let's hope that 2004 brings stories of equal merit.

Darren Rea

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