Review by Frank Plowright
An early Judge Dredd epic The Judge Child Quest concerned Dredd tasked with returning a kidnapped child to Mega-City One as the future of the city hinged on his presence. Ever the maverick, Dredd instead chose to abandon the child, considering him evil, having brutally dispatched his abductors, the Angel Gang.
The popularity of the Angel Gang with readers took writers John Wagner and Alan Grant by surprise, and they realised they’d made a particular mistake in killing off the psychotic Mean Machine. No matter, when the time came for the Judge Child to plot his revenge he was able to resurrect Angel, who was then sent to Mega-City One to reunite with his brother Fink, the only Angel to survive Dredd.
The story isn’t Wagner and Grant’s finest moment. Oh, it bumps along well enough with the efficient Fink frustrated by his brother’s impetuous hunger for action, the growing frustration of the Judge Child in entrusting his revenge to such an idiot is funny, and Mean Machine butting Dredd’s bike is great. The story, however is all gravy and no potatoes. It’s wrapped up very quickly, as if the writers realise it’s not going anywhere, and the menace of the Judge Child is also dealt with in perfunctory fashion.
If Mike McMahon couldn’t be on board to draw the Fink Angel he created, then Carlos Ezquerra is the next best choice. The lumpy characters and grubby world Ezquerra supplies is ideal. It’s also a complete contrast to the precision of Robin Smith on two brief tales added to bulk out what would otherwise be a very slim volume. Both look back into the past of the Angel family, living in their shack in the cursed Earth, and the better of the two is Angel’s wedding. Again, neither is essential reading, although give an indication of the route Grant would take when writing the equally nutty Lobo. The entire content was later absorbed into Judge Dredd and the Angel Gang, while the title strip is also encompassed into Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 06.