Judge Dredd #17
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Art: Nelson Daniel & Steve Scott
Colours: John-Paul Bove
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Publisher: IDW & 2000AD
One of the reasons Judge Dredd has been an iconic character for decades is the series’ ability to mimic any number of styles all within the same city. From sci-fi epics, to thought provoking examinations on the American Dream, Judge Dredd may encompass any style at any given time. But every once in awhile fans are treated to sheer chaos and horror in the form of the Dark Judges. The fan favourites from the 2000 AD line make the leap over the pond in IDW’s Dredd stable. But is this another classic or are the creative team in over their head?
Writer Duane Swierczynski wastes no time in getting to the carnage. From page one to the very end, Mega-City One is engulfed in chaos. As the body counts rise and the Judges panic, there is only one question on everyone’s mind: where the heck is Dredd?! Unfortunately for them, he’s on his way to the Titan penal colony as a result of the last arcs series of unfortunate events. There is no real plot to speak of, the Dark Judges are here and they are on a tear.
This makes the book proceed at a breakneck speed, and it’s one heck of a ride. Swierczynski even added a smattering of new Dark Judges to the mix, including Judge Fistula who uses a human centipede like shield to protect himself. Perhaps the scene stealer is Judge Metastasis, who uses human bodies to form a giant monster that towers over Mega-City One. It’s gross stuff, and it’s a lot of fun.
Nelson Daniel’s pop-art is as spot on as ever. His cartoony style juxtaposed with the carnage on screen helps to level the brevity of the chaos. His character designs on the Dark Judges are exciting making each panel a horrific treat.
The supplemental story in this issue, drawn by Steve Scott, follows Dredd’s arrival on the Titan Moon of Saturn. Dredd, looking to report for his sentence, finds a jailbreak in progress. Always the lawman, Dredd joins the guards to bring the rioters to justice. All is going well until Dredd comes face to face with former Judge Harvies who is not actually Harvies. He’s an innocent person Harvies switched bodies with… yea. Anyways, it seems that Harvies may be Dredd’s ride home, if he can survive Titan first. The supplement is a nice addition even if it means we only get to see a bit of Dredd, and more Dredd is always a bonus.
Is America ready for the Dark Judges? Whether they are or not, Swierczynski and Co. have unleashed hell on Mega-City One making Judge Dredd #17 a great jumping on point for newcomers. Stick with this one folk, the Dark Judges are just getting started.