Judge Anderson: The Psychic Crime FilesA comic review article by: Zack Davisson
Judge Anderson was always an anomaly in the world of the Judges of Mega City One. First off, she was sexy -- modeled after Blondie singer/complete and utter sex-bomb Debbie Harry, Judge Anderson had long, flowing blonde hair and -- in complete contrast to Judge Dredd -- never wore a helmet. I think they made some excuse for that, like the helmet interfered with her psychic powers, but we knew that was a lie. She was just too good looking to cover up with a Judge’s helmet. But aside from her sex appeal, the thing that made her stand out from other Judges, even Psi Judges, was her humanity. Judge Anderson was never completely remade by her Judge training, and in some cases she even let perpetrators go out of sheer pity for their plight.
Judge Anderson: The Psychic Crime Files collects a wide range of stories featuring the Psi Judge. There are seven stories in total, starting with "The Random Man" from 2000 AD Prog 657-659 (1989) all the way to "Cadet Anderson: Teenage XXX" from 2000 AD Prog 1734-1739 (2011). Most of the stories are newer and are collected here for the first time. One story is from 1998, and the other stories are from 2008 onward. Judge Anderson didn’t get too many solo stories in the old days of 2000 AD, largely due to her being frozen inside a large block of Boing and on permanent display in the Justice Museum.
Because Anderson is a Psi Judge, her stories are less straightforward than Judge Dredd’s and involve her psychic powers in some way. In "The Random Man" she hunts a chancer, a citizen of Mega City One who has become so overwhelmed by the choices available in daily life that he surrenders control of his decision making to the random roll of a dice. In the 1998 story "Lawless" she tries to discover the identity of a protestor against the strict Judge laws, and finds herself in conflict as she sympathizes with his ideals. One of the longer stories, "Wiierd" (2008), has Anderson entering a virtual world where rich citizens go to live fantasy lives away from the grit and grime of reality. Another story, "The House of Vyle" (2010) shows magic in Mega City One, as Anderson battles with an old cursed house and a demon-summoning rockstar. But my favorites were the two "Cadet Anderson" stories from 2010 and 2011 that showed a very young and sensitive Anderson in her days as a cadet trainee.
These aren’t the best Judge Anderson stories. Those are found in a different collection. The character was created for a single purpose, as a solution to the amazing Judge Death storyline in the regular Judge Dredd comics. That epic battle against the Dark Judges, collected in Death Lives, is really the best Judge Anderson story. In too many of the stories collected in Judge Anderson: The Psychic Crime Files it seems like writers had to go out of their way to create a story that required bringing in a Psi Judge. Some, like "The House of Vyle" story dealing with the supernatural, seem out of place in Mega City One. The cadet stories were interesting largely because you got to see how a young, sensitive girl was ground down by the Judge training system and molded into a future lawperson.
I wouldn’t put this collection high up on the "must have" lists of 2000 AD collections, but it is still pretty good. And if you have an affinity for the hot blonde Psi Judge Anderson, here is the place to get her.
Zack Davisson is a freelance writer and life-long comics fan. He owned a comic shop in Seattle during the '90s, during which time he had the glorious (and unpaid) gig as pop-culture expert for NPR. He has lived in three countries, has degrees in Fine Art and Japanese Studies, and has been a contributing writer to magazines like Japanzine and Kansai Time-Out. He currently lives in Seattle, WA with his wife Miyuki. You can catch more of Zack’s reviews on his blog Japan Reviewed or read his translations of Japanese ghost stories on Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai.