By Laramie Martinez
It’s cliché, but I’m going to say it anyway. Science fiction has nothing to do with the future; it’s all about the now. Sometimes it’s a warning, other times it a thought experiment, but there is another aspect, one that I think gets overlooked and goes a little under appreciated. It’s when science fiction is a protest. And at its heart, I think Judge Dredd has always had a little bit of rabble rousing in its system. This annual gets that. It has everything I want in a Judge Dredd comic. Split into three stories; this issue is a fantastic clash of situations which make science fiction and Judge Dredd great.
Written by Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas these three stories don’t tackle anything new. If you’re a fan of sci-fi, you’ve seen these themes pop up time and time again. But what Farinas and Freitas do is take these ideas and boil them down, cutting right to the heart of what makes them so intriguing. And once they have them stripped down to their most basic concepts, present them in a new and surprising way. Because the authors are dealing with such universal themes, the stories feel nostalgic, harkening back to the glory days of authoritarian dystopias. Because of their length, the stories also have a breakneck pace that leaves little time for deep dives into the themes. These are not meditations, they are situations, and those looking for a philosophical delve into questions such as, “What makes a person human?” or “What is redemption?” will find lacking in these short plot driven stories. But despite their brevity, they still manage to pack a punch and leave you asking questions.
If the idea of getting great sci-fi stories isn’t enough to put this on your pull list then just give the issue a quick flip through. The artistic, creative teams for each of these stories give enough variety and cohesion to take this issue into must-buy territory. I liked how each style was a subtle nod to the content of the story. Populism pops while robotic uprisings are dark with hidden details.
This annual makes me want to read the Judge Dredd ongoing. It’s as simple as that. If you’re looking for a gateway into a new comic, give this one shot. If you don’t like great science fiction comics, then why are you reading this?
Judge Dredd - Annual 2017