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Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

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Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

Postby LOLtron » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:19 pm

Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

Judge Dredd would kick a puppy for littering. What happens when a city is flooded with adolescent arsonists?




Judge Dredd: Year One

Judge Dredd is a strangely iconic character. Hop the pond, and people know his name, but for some odd reason, the crochety ol' lawman has never quite gained traction here in the states. After reading this trade all I have to say is “What is wrong with us?!”

Year One is much like the title suggests, a rookie Dredd roaming the streets and busting heads with no hint of compassion. It is basically exactly what I expected. But then it took me a step beyond expectation, and I soon found myself genuinely intrigued and entranced by this peculiar bit of UK sci-fi.

The art does a fantastic job of creating a truly visceral and disturbing world. From faces to scene work, everything is bleak, gritty and harsh. There is heavy use of shadow work constantly, and it really does invoke some sense of this world. It is as if Mega-City One has no truly bright facet, there is no place where things are jovial and pure, and I love it. Artist Simon Coleby and colorist Leonard O’Grady manage to craft a world that I simply never want to live in. Page to page and panel by panel there was not a moment that I didn’t think “Holy hell, this world sucks…” and this is meant as absolute praise.

The story line itself is very fun. The narrative by Matt Smith is really well composed, and he does manage to give every character a sincere and unique voice. This is not an easily accomplished feat, and I know all the writers out there are nodding their heads in agreement. The idea of an unseen villain, some sprawling entity that gnaws away at society by infusing children with vast psychic powers is haunting. The fearless Judges find themselves trapped at a moral crossroad, when the opposition are nothing but children with a streak of bloodlust in them a mile long. It really is a well composed dilemma and Matt Smith executes it incredibly well. His invocation of a fledgling Dredd is about as spot on as I can imagine.

I really can only spew positives about this trade. If I were to sling out a complaint it would be that the ending did not quite explode as intensely as I had hoped, but it does leave room for mystery and further development.

In summation I loved the art, it manages to invoke a sense of misery. I loved the writing, the voices and storyline are all very clean and focused. I am made at Americans, because why the hell are we not reading Judge Dredd?

4 ½ out of 5.
 



Written or Contributed by CajunBean




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Re: Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

Postby GHERU » Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:21 am

Ever try and read the old stuff?
There's a reason it never caught on

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Re: Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

Postby achilles » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:41 am

GHERU wrote:Ever try and read the old stuff?
There's a reason it never caught on


I don't know. I've read this and the old stuff. I liked them both. The thing about Judge Dredd is that he's so versatile as a character, black comedy, sci-fi adventure, hero, villain, lots of things he can do or be.
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RE: Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

Postby Belle Tain-Summer » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:24 pm

"Ever try and read the old stuff?"

Yeah, its almost as goofy as all the other comics from the silver age.

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Re: Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

Postby GHERU » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:26 pm

achilles wrote:
I don't know. I've read this and the old stuff. I liked them both. The thing about Judge Dredd is that he's so versatile as a character, black comedy, sci-fi adventure, hero, villain, lots of things he can do or be.

I've read ~half of The Complete Case Files vol. 1 and was not very impressed
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Re: Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

Postby PDH » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:27 pm

GHERU wrote:I've read ~half of The Complete Case Files vol. 1 and was not very impressed


Well, that explains it, then. The first stories aren't very good.

Trust me, though, it gets A LOT better after that. The best way I can put it is: imagine if the first Robocop movie lasted over thirty years. That's how good it is. Wagner/Grant Dredd is up there with Lee/Kirby FF and Claremont/Byrne X-Men.

The early stories are full of a lot of Walter the Wobot bollocks that you have to sit through. I can't say exactly at what point it starts to get good because even after some important and awesome big stories there is a lot of shit, too but at some point it becomes one of the all time greatest comic book runs.

It's hard to recommend to new readers because it's difficult to know where to start with it (I wouldn't suggest starting with volume 1 of the Case Files). I mean, if you were trying to get into it properly you'd have to read the Cursed Earth storyline, for instance (you'd just have to), but if you got the volume of the Case Files in which that appears, I won't lie, you would end up reading some rubbish stuff, as well.

So maybe the best thing I can do is say to start with a couple of classics and then work your way back. Case Files Vol. 5 has some weaker stories but it also has Judge Death Lives, Block Mania and Apocalypse War. If you've read them you're allowed to say that you're unimpressed. Not before. So maybe the best thing to do would be to start with that volume and just read those stories and know that there are some absolutely excellent stories from before then, as well, which you can then catch up with at your leisure.

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Re: Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

Postby Herald » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:39 pm

LOLtron wrote:I am made at Americans, because why the hell are we not reading Judge Dredd?


I *was* reading Judge Dredd for awhile, CREEP!! :x

:P :wink:

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Re: Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

Postby achilles » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:48 pm

Herald wrote:
I *was* reading Judge Dredd for awhile, CREEP!! :x

:P :wink:



Ten years in an isocube for that!

And yeah, Dredd's all over the place because it's had so many writers IMO. Some hit it out of the park, and some fumble the call, (I just wanted to mix my sports metaphors).
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Re: Please America! Judge Dredd Year One Review

Postby UnionJack » Wed Oct 30, 2013 5:16 am

I think Dredd is the best thing in comics.

I think the format that UK comics have traditionally been published in doesn't sit well with US readers. Dredd has been running in 2000AD since #2 in 1977 (plus his own monthly in latter years) & our comics have always been weekly anthology titles with about 8-10 pages per story each week. This format was even adopted for the reprints we had of US comics like Spiderman, Avengers, Hulk etc. In the early days of 2000AD this gave the stories a very episodic quality & to be fair, UK comics were aimed mainly at kids more so than US comics were. The format, to US readers would be more akin to a newspaper strip than a regular monthly. This is particularly noticeable when reading things such as the Casefiles.
Yes, the early stuff is fairly juvenile (also some below par stories but then has every issue of Avengers, for example, been a masterwork?) but still with some great ideas & a fantastic world setting.

However, I've always been unimpressed with US creators attempts at Dredd - they just don't seem to quite get it. I bought the first couple of IDW's run and dropped it. Dredd is an American character but a uniquely British creation and I think that Brits just have a different way of writing comics than Americans, hence the influx of Brit writers in the eighties - they were providing a style of work that was fresh & different to American audiences. Can't quite put my finger on it but there's just something different in the way British creators produce comic strips. I think that's how imprints such as Vertigo came about - a very British style & an alternative to standard US comics.

I maintain though that there is nothing in all of comics to match Dredd at its best. Stories such as The Cursed Earth, The Day The Law Died, Block Mania/Apocalypse War, Origins - unparalleled. I've picked out some of the 'Epics' but Dredd stories are consistently high quality week in week out. I truly believe anyone not reading Dredd is missing out.

I'll have to have a look at Year One - since it's written by a former 2000AD editor it has to be more the Dredd I'm used to reading. I do look forward to IDW's Rogue Trooper next year.

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