First published in Megazine 239 in 2005.
Writer: Gordon Rennie
Artist: Carlos Ezquerra
This one barely qualifies as a Judge Death story as it only features Death in three panels and then only as a memory in a part of the story that has nothing to do with the rest of it. Ordinarily that’d mean that while we were obliged to catalogue this appearance, we wouldn’t much care about it. But Cursed Earth Koburn: The Assizes is an otherwise very enjoyable story. It’s a reasonably amusing tale of justice out in the redneck infested Cursed Earth.
Rennie’s writing is a funny mix of Jerry Springer and Judge Judy (the American TV judge, not some member of Mega-City One’s law enforcement). Death’s cameo at the end is brief but does set up Malachi, a non-Death series that would appear in Megazines 241 to 244. We’ve included his entire appearance at the bottom of the write up below.
Overall this is an enjoyable story with some really fun writing from Gordon Rennie. Carlos Ezquerra’s art is, of course, excellent too. While the story has no real bearing on Judge Death’s main timeline, it’s worth checking out.
Cursed Earth Koburn refers to Judge Koburn who, along with his partner Judge Bonaventura, is making his regular trip out into the Cursed Earth where he settles all manner of local disputes for one day every few months. A much more relaxed proponent of the law, Koburn has a laid back approach that he deliberately uses to keep the locals on side and gives them enough of a taste of justice to stop them murdering each other.
He hears various cases from a patron of a saloon where the owner is watering down the whiskey to a neighbourly dispute where the plaintiff’s cows are being “diddled” by his neighbour. It’s all very random and silly.
That’s the first six pages covered. While Koburn hears lots of cases, none of it really has any major impact on anything going on in the Dredd universe at this time. But on page seven, a mysterious figure with rotting flesh is talking to a man about how he got to be that way. He explains that he was sold some land by the locals but it was irradiated and caused him and his family to get ill.
He went into town to get help and medicine but everyone was dead thanks to Judge Death (presumably during The Wilderness Days). Then he ran into Death who saw him as being half dead anyway and spared him but not before infecting his mind and sending him out to kill people in the Cursed Earth. This man would become known as Malachi in his next story.
Trapped in hell. Fire, Mortis and Fear captured.
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This story shows up in The Carlos Ezquerra Collection.