Judge Hershey was introduced as a distinctive looking young Judge to accompany Judge Dredd during The Judge Child Quest, and she eventually became Chief Judge. The position came with secrets that eroded the trust between her and Dredd. Now she’s caught an alien disease and is dying from it. How that was apparently resolved is seen in Judge Dredd: Guatemala, where it was handled rather touchingly. So, in one sense it’s a shame Rob Williams and Simon Fraser begin with the revelation that Hershey faked her cremation in order to drop undercover and rectify an injustice that occurred under her watch.

This occurs in Comuna 13, a place of hope that some may make it to a Mega-City, but mostly of no hope, because that’s not going to happen in a banana republic set up with technology supplied by a corrupt Judge enabling a cruel ganglord to take control. Hershey’s last, secretive mission is to rectify that situation.

‘Disease’ is not a happy story, and Hershey being at death’s door is the least of what she puts herself through. The mixture of Fraser’s strong, clear art and what’s supposed to be a grubby cesspit defined by poverty and cruelty is occasionally at odds, but he supplies a great panoramic view of it, and by basing his pages largely on foreground figures he defines the action well. He uses a very faded colour scheme, perhaps a metaphor for Hershey’s fading condition.

There’s an abrupt ending to the opening story, which is the first of two provided, Hershey staying on in Comuna 13 with more crime to mop up. She’s helped by Wally Squad member Rijkaard, who has his own ghosts to lay to rest, and with a semi-cliffhanger ending, it would seem Hershey’s going to outlive her illness for some time yet.

Hershey’s is a marketable name, but Williams and Fraser have considerable artistic credibility, and the nagging feeling is that they’re hedging their bets by forcing square pegs into round holes. The stories read well enough, but besides the contrivance of Hershey needing restitution and resolution there’s not any great reason she needs to feature. There are a few flashbacks to her past, but they’re window dressing, and both outings would be equally readable featuring a new character without a legacy.