John Burdis of the Cellar of Dredd Blog and Dr Jomster, who has reviewed real progs on here in the past, were both good enough to write up reviews of the new Dark Judgement book available online now and launching at this weekend’s Thought Bubble. Please note the reviews do contain some spoilers
John Burdis :
FIRE:- A great double revenge story that goes terribly wrong, with some lovely art from Conor. Some of the angles that he has utilised are quite exquisite and really give the reader a better look at what is happening as the story unfolds. By the start of the second page we know something is up when the computer points this out to us. From then on we sit back as Judge Hill rants about why it has come to this and due to his mind being overcome with this blind fury he doesn’t realise his basic mistake on releasing Fires body and so pays the price. Again Conor’s art portraying his demise is wonderful, that whole page is something else showing Hill being taken over in pure agony. We even have the Lawgiver getting in on the act, straight to the point the onboard computer manages to be the calm in the storm. I could imagine this in a film and getting a massive laugh from the audience.
MORTIS:- Nice opening to this fun story. You can guess what is going to happen by the end of the first page as the happy couple take their vows but that makes it all the funnier as the carnage ensues and you follow the happy couple. Its a chase movie in a block but the ending isn’t funny, well it was to me. I was impressed that Stuart really went out of his way to save Amy, even when it looked too late before the penultimate scene played out. Also the cutting of the wrist was always on the cards and made for sly smile from me as he had to do it.
DEATH:- This is my favourite out of the lot and not just because a certain Judge Wells is in it. This is a true horror story and it’s all done by Death playing with peoples minds. He takes over the security station of a Tower Block and starts to tell the citizens, who have barricaded themselves in a function room a few home truths about their lives and the Judges. This is powerful stuff that leads to the inevitable as the citizens come to the awful truth about their place in the city. It seems Death has finished his work but no the hero of the hour, Judge Wells eventually bursts in to save the citizens only to be confronted by an empty room. Before he can do anything Death starts his mind tricks on him and lets just say some of these Judges nowadays are not as mentally tough as they should be.
Dr Jomster :
Overall [Spoiler free]
Loved it. Prog level stuff.
Stronger writing and art than DJ1, which itself was pretty damn good. Some nice extra depth to how things work (Fear) and how the Dark Judges think. Some brilliant money shots, art-wise and a very competent overall level in terms of angles, design & panels.
I hope the lads make a pitch to Tharg off the back of the DJ books for something in the prog or the meg. Same kind of dark flavour, but maybe something creator owned? No pressure there then! 😀
Judge by Judge [Spoilers]
This feels like a high quality prog one shot. The scene unfolds, script and art are the business and we wrap with a storming Dredd punchline at the end.
Good nods script-wise to the Dredd procedurals. Luckily Judge “Worley” is on scene to explain what’s gone down. Very nice touch, the effect of Fear for those who only caught sight of his face in the corner of their eye. Poor ol’ Worley gets slapped back to his senses though, nearer the end.
VERY good punchline. Perhaps though one for the longer term fans. Gaze into the face of Dredd, indeed! The punchline feels a little fanziney, in that I couldn’t imagine it in the prog itself. However, having said that this IS a fanzine and it IS a cracking punchline!
Some very, very nice panels here. The opening stadium shot, the crowd scene as they gaze into the face of Fear, Fear revelling in his moment, transmitted to the big screen, visible through the wisps of smoke, the panel-in-panel close up of Fear on the same page, mirroring the big screen view, the way the leather folds on the judges uniforms. Good variation of panel style too. Very good.
For a moment I thought Fear was going to sing a number for the audience, Zombo style. Fortunately it was not to be.
Vengeance is a powerful motivator. Nice to see it pushing a judge into breaking the rules. Nice setup for this story, reminiscent of the installation holding Akira in some ways.
Nice to see Fire’s sense of humour. Why blast your way out when you can make the door open easily by wearing someone else’s face? Sweet revenge added to the mix too, of course.
Good foreshadowing of the final panel on the first page.
Again, art-wise the variation in panel layout is very good, as is the variation in camera angle. The high security base holding Fire looks great, design-wise. Found the lower panel of the multi-view possession both great and initially hard to follow at first. Probably me being dense though.
Nice ideas here. Till death do we part, the Vegas style Judge wedding, the husband’s true colours.
There’s a gorgeous large panel of Mortis near the end. You’ll know the one when you read the story.
The shot of hubby looking through the wedding ring is also very nice, composition-wise.
Interesting to see Death’s approach here. Literally explaining to his victims why they SHOULD kill themselves, rather than killing them all one by one himself. And of course, he sees through to the core of things… And is very convincing. It’s almost like he should be called Despair rather than Death. A nice development and perhaps needed additional depth for the original dark judge.
Art-wise, all is good. The folds on the leather of Death’s suit give him a suitably different look to the Judges’ suits. There’s a nice figure falling shot too, with nice background variation as we look down the page. A similar recent Jock Batman shot had just the one background, but I like the variation as we follow the falling.
Oh yes. Poor Judge Wells, eh? 🙂
This is really, really good stuff and an essential purchase if you have any interest in 2000AD or the dark judges. I would love to see a single story by the lads over the same number of pages, maybe with a prog style cliffhanger at the end of each section.
Thanks also to Tharg for allowing the fans to promote the 2000AD community by creating these excellent books!