First published in Prog in 2111 in 2018.
Artist: David Kendall
Running Scared looks at one of the storylines coming out of Damned which was Patti Halliday and Harvey ‘Spike’ Roman running into Judge Fear during Jess’ rescue of ex-Judge Fairfax. This is one of the shorter stories in the Fall of Deadworld series, at just ten pages long, and only features Fear, Spike, Patti and Tucker. However, it does continue Kek-W’s development of Judge Fear’s character, showing what a master of terror and paranoia he is.
This is a great story, with some real humanity shining through from the unrelenting psychic assault. Kek-W has a talent for making the reader care about the supporting characters in this sage. David Kendall’s work here is fantastic also. Especially the memory scenes which look glorious in grey and red.
Running Scared is easy to pick up, as the whole series is printed across two collected volumes, and so we highly recommend it. At the time of writing this, this is the latest Fall of Deadworld tale and it does leave you wanting more.
The story begins with Spike reliving some unpleasant memories. He has always been running away his whole life. Then he’s back in Sector House 13, the current base for the Dark Judges. He’s with Patti who tells him that Judge Fear is messing with them.
She then remembers when the Judges came to her home and killed her husband. They keep remembering things but where Spike is crumbling from the psychic pressure, Patti is determined to kill Judge Fear.
She confronts Fear again. She still knows that body as being Walt Tucker, one of the resistance fighters but now the host for Judge Fear. However, the Dark Judge pulls Tucker’s face out of his mask, holding it up for Patti to see. He tells them that he is still digesting Tucker.
We then see Tucker’s memories. He was commanding a penal unit, a group of soldiers forced to enlist as a sentence for crimes committed. Spike is under his command and they are battle a horde of those robot horse machines that Byke is now hosted in. It’s not going at all well though and is a source of PTSD for Judge Fear to feed on.
Outside of the memories, Fear has released two of his walking head creatures. They latch onto Spike and Patti, rendering them powerless to resist him. Spike, who his whole life has been a coward, makes a promise to hold onto Patti, to stop her from succumbing to Fear’s will. As he holds her hand, she drifts into a dream that she is with her husband.
Loose in the colony of Dominion with Mortis and Fire. Judge Fear trapped by Dredd and Anderson (in main timeline).
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Thankfully, this story and the rest of Kek-W’s Fall of Deadworld series was re-printed as two hardcover collections. You’ll need the second one, Fall of Deadworld: Book Two to read this story.