JUDGE DREDD: DARK JUSTICE

PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley

During their far too-long leave of absence (brief sojourn to the inside of a wine bottle in Day of Chaos aside), it's been a while since Judge Death and his Dark Judges graced the pages of 2000AD. That changes for Dark Justice, in which John Wagner resurrects his popular supervillains to set the fearsome foursome on a gruesome vengeance trip against Dredd and Psi Judge Anderson... this time, in deep space. Although maybe 'resurrects' is a poor choice of words. You cannot kill that which does not live, after all.

Hopes were high for Dark Justice, with Wagner overcoming his famous reticence at writing another Dark Judges story, promising a return to the characters' scarier roots (fair point: Judge Death as a time-travelling old lady did no-one any favours). With the wonderful Greg Staples on art duties, it should have been must-read Dredd, for new, faithful and lapsed readers alike. And, in terms of art and action, it certainly doesn't disappoint: Dark Justice might just be the best looking mainstream superhero comic book (both terms used lightly) you'll read all year.

Lushly hand-drawn and painted and looking impressively cinematic (modelled in real life by the Judge Minty team for Staples), it's the next best thing you'll get to a live-action Dredd vs. Death movie. There are places (mostly around Anderson's face) where it approaches photorealism, and that extends to the violence and action too. Not since Brian Bolland's original stories have Death and his cronies looked so good – from Fear's Game of Thrones-esque fur cape to the burning hot Judge Fire (who must have been a pain in the arse for Staples to draw and paint), the attention to detail is perfect. Dredd and Anderson's encounters with the creatures are even better – most notably a headbutt from Dredd to Death that would have made the Mean Machine himself proud.

Alas, it's on the story front where Dark Justice falls short. Wagner speaks in the foreword of his boredom with the Dark Judges – of wanting to avoid yet another tale in which the monsters wreak havoc for a while before being incapacitated and captured by Dredd. Unfortunately, while it might all unfold in outer space, that's still the case here. We're teased with appearances from the Sisters of Death and PJ Maybe, but these all come to naught – what we have instead is a simple tale (inspired quite a bit by Aliens) of vengeance and violence. Even the setting isn't that original – an isolated, lawless capsule, full of citizens escaping the oppression of Mega City One – entirely reminiscent of the pleasure dome of Batman/Judge Dredd: Die Laughing (which Wagner had a hand in co-writing, so should have remembered). The writing, too, is slightly disappointing. While Dredd, Anderson and the cannon-fodder supporting cast are fine, Death and the Dark Judges seem to have very little to say, spouting the same old lines we've heard them do so many times before.

Dark Justice is too fun and too good to look at to be considered a failure – not by a long shot – but it does feel as though it could have been so much more. In spite of some fantastic action and the hilarious use of a woodchipper, it makes for lively but inconsequential reading. The game remains resolutely unchanged by the events depicted here, but, oh, what a game it is.

JUDGE DREDD: DARK JUSTICE / AUTHOR: JOHN WAGNER / ARTIST: GREG STAPLES / PUBLISHER: 2000 AD GRAPHIC NOVELS / RELEASE DATE: JULY 16TH

 


Suggested Articles:
2000AD has always had an interesting approach to comedy. The world famous anthology comic rarely rea
Showtime is the story of a magician told by a journalist and relayed by a rodent. Not only is the co
Back in 1986 Frank Miller changed the landscape of the comics industry with the release of the semin
Over a year in the making, the fourth, final and double-length issue of the simply yet magnificently
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Comic Book Reviews

SURVIVAL GEEKS 12 September 2017

SHOWTIME 12 September 2017

BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT: THE MASTER RACE 31 August 2017

VIETNAM ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST #4 30 August 2017

GRIFF GRISTLE: THE SIREN’S SONG 28 August 2017

WONDER WOMAN VOL. 3: THE TRUTH 23 August 2017

THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T REMEMBER #1 17 August 2017

SALTIRE: LEGEND ETERNAL #2 01 August 2017

ALEX AUTOMATIC #1 30 July 2017

BUST #3: A SACKCLOTH SMILE 30 July 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner