Oh dear, IDW are at it again . Is this as Dreddful (guffaw)as their recent efforts, or does it hark back to the promise of the “JD Year One” and “Mars Attacks Judge Dredd”?
Judge Dredd : Under Siege #1
By : Mark Russell, Max Dunbar, Jose Luis Rio & Simon Bowland
Review by Luke Williams
If I were to be polite, IDW have a “patchy” track record with their 2000AD licences. If I were being more forthright, I would say that it’s goddam awful.
I’ll be a little more positive. I didn’t give the original Duane Swierczynski series much of a chance, but thrilling it was not. But then, the aforementioned “Mars Attacks Judge Dredd”, “Judge Dredd : Year One”, “Anderson” and “Rogue Trooper” series were great. I thought that Rogue was a particularly good run, and was disappointed that it didn’t get past the first 4 issues, it was the best version of the character for years. The common factor with all these series is that the writers are all Brits. Are Brit’s the only writers that “get” Dredd and the 2000AD sensibility? Or is it more the case the the US doesn’t understand the wares from the House of Tharg, and what IDW are trying to do is dilute it and make it more marketable in the states? Discuss. But not right now….
I’d heard a lot about Russell from his work on the “Flintstones” and “Snagglespuss” for DC. I hadn’t actually read the comics themselves. But what I had heard was encouraging. So “what the hell”, I thought, “I’ll give it a go, can’t be any worse that “Mega City Zero” or “Aliens vs Predator vs JD”, I hadn’t bothered with “The Blessed Earth”.
This is back to basics Dredd. Joe is sent to Patrick Swayze block to find out what happened to Judge Beeny who was sent there on an assignment and communications have been lost. Swayze block is part of an unfinished sustainable housing project on the outskirts of MC1, since become a slum with high crime rate and lawlessness. Dredd finds Beeny and that the block has been invaded by a heavily armed mutant gang who have locked down the block and have designs on the city. Dredd and Beeny team up with the remaining residents who haven’t been taken hostage to free the city block and turn back the mutant horde.
The plot echoes “Aliens” spliced with the 2012 “Dredd” movie, not really original, and not exactly compelling, but enjoyable enough. It’s difficult to draw any conclusions on Russell’s take on Joe’s character, he hasn’t really had a chance to strut his stuff. This issue is mainly set up and most writers take a bit of time to get to grips with a character or environment new to them, but it didn’t quite feel outlandishly MC1 enough,perhaps that’s the US factor again. He hasn’t committed any embarrassing faux pas so far, but some humour wouldn’t go amiss (although the Church of the Holy Question Mark made me laugh).
I am liking Dunbar’s art, though I do get the feeling he’d be happier drawing capes and cowls. Very clear storytelling, nice dynamic action sequences, good figurework, inspiration and references derived perhaps more from the 2012 film than the progs.
Not an unqualified success, but it’s good enough for me to pick up issue 2 and to make me think that perhaps I’m just being a little too cynical of IDWs Dredd output.