Thursday, December 29, 2011

"The End" Week: Judge Dredd #18!

That anti-mime sign is redundant, since I can't think of anywhere it shouldn't be...
The end of Judge Dredd? Say it ain't so! He's a British institution...and we're talking about the American version from DC, from 1996, Judge Dredd #18, "Art Attack!" Written by Gordon Rennie, art by Kris Renkewitz and Jamie Burton.

I know I read, and still have, most of DC's Judge Dredd (although I somehow never read their companion book, Legends of the Law) but in 2000 AD Dredd was able to establish the setting of Mega-City One over years of world-building...and more than a bit of trial-and-error. No pun intended. In the American version...I don't know what happened. Think Earth-2, alternate timeline Dredd, set closer to the start of MC1's judicial program; except mid-stream that idea apparently gets tossed and Dredd is transplanted, possibly via suspended animation, to a setting more closely resembling his normal continuity. (And if you haven't checked it in the sidebar, try Dredd Reckoning, where Douglas Wolk is working through every Judge Dredd book.)

This last issue, then, is a pretty straight-forward Dredd tale, then: Block Wars! Bloody grudge matches between neighborhoods! Unfortunately, instead of the long-awaited throwdown between Charles Bronson and Sam Peckinpah Blocks; it's the Boho Blocks, MC1's "resident artistic community."
Yeah, death to Andy Warhol!
Admittedly, Jackson Pollack Block versus those Andy Warhol scum has a few jokes. Several Judges are also pinned down and exterminated by the brutal Simon Bisley Blockers, while Dredd is faced with a surreal situation:
I...I don't know what to say to that.

In the end, thirty-seven Judges are lost, as well as over a thousand citizens and three full city blocks. Dredd explains the Judges are there to enforce the law, not figure out why citizens break it; and orders the Boho blocks rebuilt, renamed, and restocked with ordinary citizens. Oh, and the remaining artists relocated throughout the city and all further artistic activities outlawed...! Dredd may be overstepping his authority on that one, but it's his last issue, so whatever.

This story needed a bit more artistic variety, and while overall I like it, Renkewitz and Burton draw Dredd (and others) as spitting like Sylvester the cat most of the time, and outright foaming at the mouth on occasion. It's a bit of artistic license, maybe a bit overused there. Writer Gordon Rennie would go on to later write a drokking pile of Dredd stories for 2000 AD, making his way from this farm team issue to the big leagues. (I can't help but notice I didn't see this one in his wikipedia credits!)

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