An IDW Dredd. What can possibly go wrong?
For reasons best known to the prognosticators I ended up with the Archie cover variant featuring the aforementioned juvenile in a back alley. He’s on a powerboard in this narrow passage and he’s not alone. There is Dredd too. Joe is carrying an enormous weapon as compensation for something, Instead of staring intently at Archie or reacting to him, he instead looks like he has been told some bad news that morning.
So, you have to wonder about a comic that tries to capture the essence of Dredd and yet takes him entirely out of the settings that define him. I’m not sure how this is meant to attract new readers and though it is a brave step, I feel that it doesn’t help. There are classic tales where Dredd was removed from the city (The Cursed Earth, The Judge Child) but the connections to other Judges, the tenets of the Law and how it applies in the present situation and the basic characterisation were all still there.
Artwise the colours are fine throughout and there’s a nice panel of Joe breathalysing himself for drugs after he wakes up. That’s a good compliment to how well his mind works in this scene.
It’s decent enough work throughout if you overlook the basic fuckups like the holster on the hip or Dredd using gold handcuffs on page 4 but then these switch to silver on the next page.
I liked the dilapidated Robo Judges and the HUD on them that displayed McGruder’s name on the bottom. That was a nice touch.
The script starts with a mystery and goes on from there. After a spate of disappearances at Angela Davis block, Dredd wakes up with no knowledge of how he got there. He has a limited number of Lawgiver rounds left and is cut off from the rest of the department but luckily he has the plot convenience of a portable MAC unit.
With Mega City One apparently gone or overgrown to the point where it is unrecognisable, he hooks up with some eyeball stealing juves and then heads to Ang Avi.
As the more observant of us have already guessed, this is of course a V’ger style corruption of Angela Davis and this block is one of the pockets of civilisation in this wilderness.
There are a few issues here. A “mega block” is referred to instead of it being a city block. Confusing too is the characterisation of Dredd. This is way off and he comes across more like a Special Constable than a Judge. “Now what are you names? Do mummy and daddy know you are out?” is the style of dialogue we get from the iron man of Mega City Law.
The one funny highlight of this is Joe being called Judge Dad.
It’s not a bad tale, but it just doesn’t feel like a Dredd story.