One of the joys when reading Duane Swierczynski’s version of Judge Dredd is how he’s used it to remark on the state of humanity and our reliance on technology. Imagine if robots were cognizant of how lazy and worthless most humans are? You could certainly understand their frustrations. This series ends its first story this week, as Dredd discovers who made the robots fail. Now that we’re in the home stretch, does Swierczynski succeed at delivering a good comic?
Judge Dredd #8 (IDW)
Dare I say this story is getting dangerously complicated? It went from robot uprising to people being cloned against their will, to clones being kidnapped, to, introduced in this issue, a terrorist organization behind it all. There’s so many elements it’s hard to think back and piece it together, which makes this issue convoluted. I can see how he’s building on his own story, and I commend him for that but, at least in this issue, things are feeling a bit too much like Jenga and the tower crashes down. That isn’t to say there isn’t stuff to enjoy outside of the main story though, as there’s plenty of Dredd fun and a promising turn at the end.
[Insert menstruation joke here.]
This issue splits between Dredd’s telekinetic coworker Anderson as she uncovers the terrorist organization known as The Circuit Court and their plan for Mega-City One and Dredd who interrogates a zombie Surgeon. The Surgeons are some weird, science fiction-y fun dudes and they’re a pleasure in this issue. When Dredd makes them bring back a Surgeon with knowledge of the Circuit Court it’s fun to see them cut into brains as the blood splatters. Unfortunately Dredd and Anderson both don’t do a lot of anything besides listen to the bad guys’ plans. It gets preachy and the exposition is so heavy I kept asking myself, “why couldn’t he filter this into the last 7 issues?”. I got the sense he was just sick of the story in general and wanted to get Dredd to point B by issue’s end. That’s fine by me, but it makes this issue more of a chore than a joy to read.
Robots need to stop trying to kill us.
Nelson Daniel continues to do stellar work on art however. The man can draw a mean panel that’ll make you laugh or cry out in awe with zero words on the page. He’s that good. His style is cartoony enough to make things funny, but edgy enough to be dramatic and be taken seriously.
Sound effects for the win!
The backup story, “Into the Cursed Earth Part 8” is wonderfully weird and maybe too odd for its own good. It’s to be taken seriously, but is so bizarre it’s hard to enjoy it. By story’s end it’s a bit of a wash and doesn’t slap you in the face like a short backup should.
Even dead people can’t get away from him.
- Nelson Daniel deserves an Eisner
- A tantalizing ending
- Slow paced, exposition heavy issue
It’s frustrating when a series as enjoyable as this delivers a dud. It’s been fun, exciting and fast paced the last seven issues, which makes me think maybe a lot of the exposition here should have been interspersed more equally throughout the rest of the series to let this comic breathe. Instead, we have an issue here that gets a laundry list of plot across and delivers answers to anyone wishing for them, but the joy of the previous issues is lost when you’re getting bombarded with exposition. A good single issue has to do a lot of things, and because of their brevity requires good pacing. When you’ve got so much exposition going it’s hard to get that well paced story. Artistically though this issue works and does things to curb the preachiness, but it’s not enough to save the issue.
Is It Good?
Meh. That said, I’m still going to read this series and I highly anticipate the next issue.
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