Out of the 48 reprinted Judge Dredd 'progs' from '2000 AD' collected in this volume, 26 are taken up by 'Oz'. Chopper was imprisoned after his breathtaking win in the deadly 'Supersurf 7' skyboard race (think flying surfboards). He luckily escapes & flees Mega City One, travelling across the globe towards Oz for Supersurf 10 - but Dredd is waiting for him at the finish line...
Most of the story centres on Chopper's journey & the big race. It was a bold move by Wagner & Grant to have their main character play second fiddle for so long but Dredd still manages to stick his chin in as he too heads down under, on the trail of the Judda - mysterious assassins who share his DNA.
'Oz' is a fun, action-packed story with some imaginative sequences during the big race finale. There are a few cliches (I guess they assumed that 2000 AD's young audience wouldn't have seen the film 'Dead Calm') as well as some holes in the plot that are more noticeable now I'm older than they were the first time around but if you turn your brain off & enjoy the fun, you're in for a wild ride with a very satisfying conclusion.
But Chopper's exploits are not the main reason to buy #11. 'Revolution' may only be 3 episodes long but it had a much greater impact on Dredd's world than 'Oz' did. A year after Democrat Hester Hyman's terrorist attack on a TV studio, she is being hailed as a martyr & millions of oppressed citizens are getting ready to march on the Grand Hall Of Justice. Dredd is given carte blanche to crush the revolution by ANY means - and is prepared to use every dirty trick in the book. This thought-provoking story was one of the first to give Dredd a bold, political angle. No longer is he merely a 2-dimensional action hero, but also a significant member of a totalitarian police state - a complex man in an ethically murky world.
Meanwhile, martial arts master Stan Lee is back in town & Dredd is eager for a rematch. And 'Bug' sees 12 year-old PJ Maybe commit his first murders, right under Dredd's chin. Like 'Revolution', this brief story seems insignificant in so large a volume but the charming psychopathic genius quickly became one of my favourite villains & a reoccuring thorn in Dredd's side for over a decade.
As ever, there is also a smattering of quirky & fun, although less memorable, short stories. The one drawback of these collections (if you can call it that) is such stories seem weaker than they really are when compared with the likes of 'Revolution' but the consistency of the writing & artwork is much higher than in the earlier volumes. There are far more diamonds than rough in this volume.