COMIC REVIEW: Judge Dredd - Trifecta
Awesome Times Three...
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Judge Dredd: Trifecta is the most ambitious Judge Dredd story I've read yet from 2000AD. But that's the kicker: Trifecta isn't 100% Judge Dredd. It's more like 33% Dredd. That's because Trifecta is actually three separate stories, each starring a different 2000AD character, that eventually crossover and merge into one.
Judge Dredd is obvioulsy one of those characters, artist Henry Flint and writer Al Ewing delivering a very serious, stern Dredd - and rightfully so. Their story takes place right after the "Day of Chaos" storyline where millions are dead from the Chaos Bug and Mega-City One is in ruins. It doesn't help matters any that Dredd's Justice Department is dealing with major restructuring issues... as well as the threat of internal corruption. Not all is doom and gloom with Dredd, however. Fans of the quirky alt-rock group They Might Be Giants are in for a real dialogue treat. A TMBG song quoted in a comic? My mind has just exploded...
The next Trifecta character is Jack Point (Point, as in "get to the"), a hardboiled detective type that just happens to dress like a clown. Drawn by Simon Coleby and written by Simon Purrier, Point comes from the Judge Dredd spin-off series "The Simping Detective". Point's point of view is told in a very film noir-like style, the detatched perspective loaded with colorful metaphors and slangy jokes. He's all about the funny. The sexy ex-Judge Galen, bottles of whiskey and a vicious man-eating alien named Larf are his best friends. And the clown suit? Packing a few hidden surprises (explosive nose, bladed boots), it's more than just for good looks. An undercover Judge in seedy Angeltown, Jack Point suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the law and hunted down... as a rogue Judge! Can the Church of Simpology save him?
The final character in the Trifecta puzzle is Dirty Frank. Also a Judge, Frank comes from the Dredd spin-off series "Low Life". Artist D'Israeli and writer Rob Williams deliver the most surreal and zany story of the bunch. Frank is, well, weird. He speaks in third person and is prone to strange flashbacks. And he's dirty. Dirty Frank's story starts off with him waking up on the moon, finding himself a board member of a mega-corporation run by a half-man, half-Great White Shark named Mr. Overdrive ("I smell blood in the business waters!") and having absolutely no clue what his mission is. And he runs around in his underwear for most of the story. Weird, but oh so unique and engaging (and hilarious!).
So how do these three seemingly different stories and oddball characters connect to form Trifecta? Therein lies the beauty of it all...once you adjust to Trifecta's bewildering layout. Trifecta starts, in full color, with Judge Dredd. Six pages in and suddenly the world turns black and white (with the occasional splash of color) and it's Jack Point's turn. Six pages later and BAM!, straight up black and white storytelling with Dirty Frank. The cycle then begins again with Dredd. Trifecta alternates like this throughout the entire book and it's not until about halfway through were things start to connect and form "the big picture". Like I said, it's all so very confusing at first, especially the dramatic shift in how each character talks (with the exception of Dredd). The disorientation soon passes, however, once the compelling characters and their wonderful stories take hold of you (not to mention the incredible art). I quickly found myself turning the pages - sucked along for the crazy ride. And that thrill ride pays off handsomely as we reach the very end, a vibrant full-color story (art by Carl Critchlow) that brings together all the characters (and all three writers: Ewing, Spurrier AND Williams!!) for an epic, satisfying conclusion. It's a whirlwind of plot twists and turns all converging into a coherent "OH WOW" moment.
Judge Dredd: Trifecta is hands down the best Judge Dredd I've read and one of the finest stories 2000AD has ever crafted (Shakara is still my all-time fave). Trifecta has been described as “ground-breaking” and “mind-blowing,” media statements I typically shrug aside as overblown hype. In this particular case it's hype well-earned. Trifecta is awesome times three.
Judge Dredd: Trifecta is available worldwide as a digital release (Kindle Fire and Nook) through the 2000AD webshop (shop.2000adonline.com), as well as Amazon. A special hardback edition with a unique lenticular cover by Henry Flint (reviewed here) is available in the UK and Ireland.
Review by Jeff Saylor
Review Copy Courtesy of 2000AD