Dredd Vs……… Part 2
The Judge, the Bat, the genetic freak and the Main Man.
So. In summary. So far, Dredd crossovers – a bit of a mixed bag. Dredd has come into contact with Johnny Alpha and Bats, with Bats clearly the most financially rewarding for the publishers concerned. “Judgement on Gotham” was hugely popular, leading to queues around the block at signings and sell outs.
The huge success of “Judgement on Gotham” meant a sequel was inevitable. Editorial chose an equally talented and heavy hitting artist for the follow up : Glenn Fabry was in the frame. Our Glenn is a fantastic painter, but not the fastest. So, a number of place holder crossovers to maintain the interest in the concept of a Dredd / Batman crossover.
“Vendetta in Gotham” written by Wagner and Grant and drawn by Cam Kennedy was the first.
Dreddy heads back to Gotham, ostensibly to settle a score with Bats, but actually with a secret agenda to safeguard the future of MC1. Co starring entertaining Bat baddies Scarface and the Ventriloquist, this is one extended fight scene interspersed with the villains moving the plot (such as it is) along. Cam Kennedy is not the superstar flashy artist that Bisley is, but his work just oozes class. He does some great work on what otherwise is essentially filler. Check out some of those splash pages (even with my poor quality photographs)
“Is that a Mignola cover Seth?” I hear you ask. Yes, chum – it certainly is. Lovely isn’t it? Spoilt only by Digital Chameleon’s colouring. But sadly, story wise, this is unessential.
However, this was classic fare compared to what came next in the meetings between Joe and Batboy.
In the meantime, 2000AD had reached the milestone Prog 900. To celebrate, a prog’ length story was commissioned written by John Wagner and drawn by the hugely underrated John Higgins. Starring Dredd and the “Friday” incarnation of Rogue Trooper “Casualties of War” is a bit of a curio, a little anomaly. It does Dredd justice, but takes a few liberties with Friday.
By this time Steve White and Henry Flint had taken over “Rogue Trooper” from the train wreck that was Michael Fleisher’s run, for more detail read this :
It seems Friday was considered a good investment. White and Flint’s work was good, and the strips stock was on the rise. Why not team the Lawman of the Future up with the Future of War?
Because it didn’t make much sense that’s why.Still, if we’re being honest no less sense than Dredd crossing over into the DC universe.
Wounded, concussed and suffering from memory loss, Friday finds himself an evacuee on a Souther troopship. Intercepted by Nort spacecraft the troopship escapes into time, and arrives at Earth 2116, landing at Mega City One.
Unfortunately, the over zealous commander of the Souther forces wants to execute a random selection of his troops for cowardice in the face of the enemy, as an example for the rest. Friday is unlucky enough to be one of those selected, he remembers little about the events that led him to be aboard the troopship and finds sympathy with JD.
The art is lovely – Higgins’ pastel period.Wagner hints that Dredd is more sympathetic to Friday due to their test tube parentage and the script is sharp, even though it plays a little fast and loose with Friday’s status as a “Rogue Trooper”. Good fun, and better than what was to come from the inter company cross overs.
In the meantime the true sequel to “Judgement on Gotham” was late.
Another “filler sequel”, presumably to remind us that Dredd/Bats was still a “thing”, was published in 1995. And really, I wished they hadn’t bothered.
Batman / Judge Dredd “The Ultimate Riddle” is the nadir of Dredd’s crossovers so far.
Wagner and Grant supply some nonsense about an alien capturing the greatest combatants from various planets and dimensions for a contest where one of the captured is hunted by the others. Cue the kidnapping of Bats and Joe. Throw the Riddler in for good measure and away you go.
With a twist in the end which is telegraphed well ahead of the climax (such as it is), and some of the worst examples of the nineties trend of painted art, this really is poor. ‘Phoned in by Wagner and Grant, with rushed work from Carl Critchlow (pre “Lobster Random” style) and Dermot Power. Just……………ew.
Still, the alien race name “Khund” makes me laugh. Have DC editorial led sheltered lives or are they in on the joke?
Much better and released the same year is “Lobo / Judge Dredd : Psycho Bikers Vs. The Mutants From Hell”. Unwieldy title perhaps, and as tiresome as the ‘Bo became, on re-reading , this isn’t that bad.
Lobo’s latest bodyguarding job all goes a bit wrong when a group of muties teleport in, kidnap his client and bug out again, heading for the undercity of MC1. Needless to say the Main Man is soon in hot pursuit.
However, the same mutie gang have stolen a ring which when coupled with its twin, grants unbelievable power to the bearer, and have consequently crossed Dredd. So after the customary initial misunderstanding, and with Mean Machine Angel in tow Lobo and Joe team up to beat the muties.
Script is typical Wagner and Grant, bawdy and over the top. The art from Val Semeiks and John Dell is lovely; chunky bold and slightly cartoony. Silly. But fun.
Meanwhile, the much vaunted, and hyped, sequel to “Judgement On Gotham” : “Die Laughing” was chronically late.
But Dredd’s next match up was against an extra terrestrial, rather than earth bound, threat.