Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham
|Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham|
Judgment on Gotham, cover art by Simon Bisley
Mean Machine Angel
Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham is the first of four Batman and Judge Dredd crossover comic books, published by DC Comics and Fleetway in 1991. It was written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, with art by Simon Bisley.
Judge Death makes a dimensional jump to Gotham City, murdering two lovers and a police officer. Batman defeats Death, who flees in spirit form. Among the remains of his host body, Batman finds a dimensional jump belt that he accidentally activates, transporting him to Mega-City One, where is confronted by Mean Machine Angel, who claims that he stole the belt for Death, but Death double-crossed him and left him behind.
As Mean Machine attacks Batman, they are both confronted by Judge Dredd. Mean Machine flees to Gotham using the belt, then wanders into the city looking for his erstwhile "partner".
Back in Mega-City One, Dredd arrests Batman and takes him in for questioning, charging him with possession of illegal weapons (the contents of his utility belt) and accuses him of vigilantism. Batman is frustrated as his inability to explain himself to Dredd, and telepath Judge Anderson enters. She scans Batman's mind to ensure that Death is not "hiding" in his brain, and explains Death's nature and motives to Batman. Batman insists he has to get back to Gotham immediately, and Dredd insists on Batman serving a twenty-year sentence for his "crimes" first. As for apprehending Death, Dredd also insists on waiting for orders from above before taking action.
In fury, Batman breaks his bonds and punches Dredd to the floor, before being subdued by several other Judges. Anderson resolves to break all the rules in order to re-capture Death as soon as possible. She breaks Batman out of custody and drives him to a Justice Department tech center with a functioning dimensional gate. A furious Dredd calls for them to be stopped and, when this fails, follows them to Gotham.
Meanwhile, in Gotham, Batman's enemy, the Scarecrow, and his assistant, Benny, break into the City Morgue to steal the raw materials for fear-toxin that will make people face their worst nightmare. Judge Death floats into the morgue looking for a new body, enters Scarecrow's mind and finds a kindred spirit (of sorts) in the twisted sociopath. Being promised a feast of fear in exchange, the Scarecrow becomes partners with Judge Death. Death inhabits a corpse in the morgue and Benny improvises a uniform for him. After killing Benny, Death attempts to turn on Scarecrow, who stops him with a dose of his fear toxin (exposing Death to visions of fluffy bunnies and My Little Ponies).
Death demands a "feast," and Scarecrow directs him to a heavy metal concert featuring a band called Living Death. Meanwhile, Mean Machine demolishes a bar and is directed to the same concert.
As Death slaughters the heavy metal band Batman, Anderson and Dredd appear on the scene. In the battle that follows, Death is on the verge of killing Dredd when Batman uses a batarang to destroy his physical body while Anderson imprisons his spirit in her mind. Mean Machine, stuck in a berserk frenzy that demolishes the stage, is subdued after a pinpoint shot from Dredd destroys the mood-controlling dial on his head. Scarecrow is likewise captured.
Dredd prepares to take Anderson and Mean Machine back to Mega-City One. He also insists that Batman come along to complete his "sentence." They are close to coming to blows when Anderson cuts in and tells Dredd to "give it a rest": for one thing, Batman saved his life; for another, they need to get Death back into a secure unit as soon as possible. Dredd grudgingly agrees to drop the charges against Batman.
As they are about to depart, Dredd admits that Batman is a "bit of a tough guy", implying some growing respect.
In this version the Scarecrow is given a ghoulish, almost phantom-like look, as compared to his contemporary appearance in DC comics where he was just a man dressed as a scarecrow of the sort seen in a farmer's field.
Unmasked, Batman has a number of distinctive grey hairs.
I also organised more professional press conferences before major signings and national comic book signing tours, which hadn’t really been done on a big scale in this country before. I remember the Judge Dredd vs. Batman graphic novel signing launch at the Virgin Megastore at Oxford Circus in London amazed even the police with the numbers that lined up around the block to get their book signed by Simon Bisley, John Wagner and Alan Grant. The store manager said it was a bigger draw than when David Bowie had done a signing the month previously.
Other Batman/Judge Dredd crossovers
This was the first of four joint adventures, all by the same writers – the others were:
- Vendetta in Gotham (1993) Art by Cam Kennedy
- The Ultimate Riddle (1995) Art by Carl Critchlow and Dermot Power
- Die Laughing (1998) Art by Glenn Fabry and Jim Murray
- Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham at 2000 AD online
- Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham at the Grand Comics Database
- Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgment on Gotham at the Comic Book DB