Review: Judge Dredd Classics: Dark Judges HC

JudgeDredd_CLASSICS_DarkJudges-e1441736448370-659x863I remember growing up in New York City, that when it came to comics, you could buy it at your local bodega, as they had a stand just for comics, and often stocked a good variety, so there really was no need to go to your comic book store unless they did not have something you were looking for . One of the first comics I remember picking up was Judge Dredd, which instantly grabbed me with its wild visuals, futuristic setting and procedural storylines. Soon after picking up my first issue, I wanted to know where it had been all my life . Eventually, I had to go to Jim Hanley’s Universe in Staten Island, to pick up back issues and then I found out there were other series which had Judge Dredd in it including 2000AD.

Eventually my interest in Judge Dredd waned due to the emergence of Image Comics, which offered even more interesting characters than I had been accustomed to in Dredd’s storylines. My interest was not helped by the lackluster movie starring Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider, which only reduced the character in mainstream media’s eyes as cartoonish mediocrity and a ripoff of Demolition Man (which I really do not see the connection?) It would not be until the superior Dredd starring Karl Urban, that my interest in the character and the comic was piqued again. It had been an almost 22 year time gap, since I picked up my last issue of Dredd, and picking up the Judge Dredd Classics single issues were the way to go, as they captured the essence of who the character was.

No storyline showed who Judge Dredd was more, than The Dark Judges. Within this volume, Judge Death, his brothers, Fear, Fire and Mortis, have judged that every life within Mega City One is sentenced to death and serves as the origin story of Judge Death in three separate stories. Within these stories collected for the first time in color versus the standard black and white in which it was originally published, you will not find better protagonists than Judge Death and his brothers. The most intriguing part of this collection is the way John Wagner and Alan Grant, writes Anderson, in this series, as I feel this is the first time she actually finds her voice. The collection ends with the Judges marooning Judge Death in limbo, and Anderson evading an enquiry.

Overall, this is definitely one of the better storylines written by Judge Dredd’s creators and definitely fits the title of “classic”. These stories by John Wagner and Alan Grant, shows us why everyone who reads these stories, are utterly engulfed in them. The art by Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins and Cliff Robinson, is gritty yet beautiful. Overall, an intriguing collection of stories which introduces newcomers to one of the better protagonists to come out of comics.

Story: John Wagner and Alan Grant Art: Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins and Cliff Robinson
Story: 10 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review