by Duane SwierczynskiGrud on a greenie! It’s old stoney-face, Judge Joe Dredd! Mr Happy! Good ol’ JD!
Yup, Dredd is back, well, kind of - here in the U of K he’s never gone far but in the US of Ay? He’s not nearly the fixture he is to literally dozens of readers in Blighty. So IDW decided to relaunch the character in the US with the DC/Marvel approach of trade paperbacks of which this is the first.
Duane Swierczynski is the writer of all the strips here - and before I go any further, I’m not going to type his unpronounceable surname every time so I’m going to call him Chip here on in, alright? Cool.
It’s been a while since I read a Judge Dredd comic. Back when I was 12-13 years old, it’s all I’d read as I had a 2000AD addiction, and while the mag had lots of great stories (Slaine, Strontium Dog, ABC Warriors, Rogue Trooper, Vector 13, etc), it was drokkin’ JD we all loved.
So how was the reunion, you ask? Not bad. He’s still as fascistic as I remember - Chip gets that right - and the stories are as bonkers as ever. In this opening book the droids are rebelling for some reason and causing havoc on Mega City One where the billions of citizens rely upon the droids for their every basic need. There’s organ theft, murders galore... it’s how I remembered Mega City One being.
But the stories here never really rise above mediocre. There’s an ok crime story which is a literal version of Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me where an unaware judge contains the psychic essence of a corrupt murdering judge thought to be dead. The main story is about a clones and kidnapping and features a new character, Judge Tarjay, being framed.
I’ll say this for Chip - I like how he’s building Dredd’s world through each story. We’re not told through boring exposition or a narrative piece of how Mega City One came to be or what a lawgiver is and does, and all the minutiae - we get straight into the stories. And some of the shorter stories like the one about the man-killing woman, features a mind-wipe drug that’s the key to that story - then later on in another story, we see it used again but we already know what it’s for and the story doesn’t explain it’s use. It’s smart storytelling.
That said, the Tarjay thing is a bit stupid. So he sees he’s been replaced by an evil clone and instead of explaining himself to one of his fellow judges, he runs off and hides in the sewers, naked? It seems like he could’ve so easily avoided all of that. And Dredd fires at him for no real reason - back in the Killer Inside Me-type story, he never acted so rashly even in the face of overwhelming evidence. It seems strange that he would behave so differently in this story. It’s dumb storytelling.
You’re all over the stommin’ map, Chip!
Anyways, it’s a decent Dredd book - about as good as he’ll ever get. I love Dredd but there’s never been a truly amazing Dredd book. Some good collections but the famous storylines featuring the Dark Judges, the Block Wars, Dredd walking the Cursed Earth, fighting the Angel gang - they’re only just ok if I’m being honest. The stories here aren’t bad but aren’t that amazing. The art is ok but isn’t that impressive. I liked how artist Nelson Daniel was credited in the first issue as D’Aniel in tribute to the artist D’Israeli who used to draw Dredd.
I would’ve liked to have seen Dredd go a bit more crazy than he was in this book - just really cut loose and unleash hell on the perps on his beat - and it could’ve used more humour, something 2000AD was famous for, having little comedy scenes mixed in amidst the big action, but otherwise this isn’t a bad Dredd book. A decent place to start even though it doesn’t make me terribly excited about the relaunch. Good effort, Chip.
|Title||Judge Dredd, Volume 1|
|eBook format||Paperback, (torrent)|
|File size||6.7 Mb|
|Book rating||4.26 (148 votes)