COMIC REVIEW: Judge Dredd - Crusade
My explosive introduction to the future lawman...
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I have to hand it to the British, they know how to produce some extremely cool science fiction. From the time traveling escapades of Doctor Who to the dystopian battlefields of Warhammer 40K, British sci-fi ranks as some of my all-time favorite geek-out material. Lately I have had the extreme pleasure of adding 2000AD to that list, the "Galaxy's Greatest Comic" easier to find than ever thanks to a new U.S. distribution deal with Diamond. I dove right in with some Slaine, Shakara and ABC Warriors, but it wasn't until last month's release of Judge Dredd - Crusade that I got to experience the popular future lawman himself. Let's just say I'll be coming back for more...
Judge Dredd - Crusade sees superhero legend Grant Morrison (Batman and Robin, All Star Superman) team up with Mark Millar (Kick ***, Wanted) and acclaimed artist Mick Austin (Doctor Who) in a new collection for the US and Canada – that has never been reprinted before. After reading the bios in the back of Crusade, it's simply amazing to see how all these renown writers and artists got their start with 2000 AD. And what a fine start.
Crusade spins the tale of a scientist returning to Earth after 15 years in space claiming to have a message from God. That's a pretty heavy piece of information, so the best judges from all of the world's Mega-Cities race to Antarctica to try and claim the secret for themselves. Judges, for those not in the know (and as Crusade quickly teaches you), act as super police of the future. They have the power not only to enforce the law, but also to instantly convict and sentence offenders... and execute them. "I am the law," indeed. With that in mind, Crusade provides one excellent excuse for some judge versus judge action; a battle royal where only the toughest judge(s) will survive. There is no shortage of fighting and violence in Crusade, from Vatican-Cit Judge Cesare's psychotic determination to get to the secret first to Sov Judge Spassky's hellbent hatred against Dredd. Limbs get lopped off, flesh is melted and the bullets fly. There's even some twisted dark humor involving poor 'ol Judge Rameses. Unfortunately, the promise of a deeper story line with the intriguing "God" message is almost completely overshadowed by this all-out conflict; the conclusion left me wanting more. Still, for being an introduction to Judge Dredd's character being one mean hombre, Crusade more than delivered.
A bonus story, The Frankenstein Division by Mark Millar and Carlos Ezquerra, delivers more of the tough-as-nails Judge Dredd in a plot that pits the American lawman against an unstoppable creation by the judges of East Meg. As the "Frankenstein" in the title indicates, this creation is more monster than man; a collection of body parts from the Sov Judges that died by Judge Dredd's hands in the Apocalypse War. While the outcome of this fight is rather obvious from the get go, the fight itself is epic and entertaining to the last bloody page.
As someone who is new to Dredd, Judge Dredd - Crusade acted as an explosive introduction to the futuristic hero. With fast-paced action, gorgeous art work, and engaging (though not very complex) stories, it's easy to see why 2000 AD is the "Galaxy's Greatest Comic". Judge Dredd: Crusade is available now wherever fine books are sold priced at $16.99 (US)/$19.99 (Can).
Review by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample by 2000AD
Last edited by JeffSaylor; 06-28-2012 at 08:46 AM.