Review: Judge Dredd #20

It has been no secret that I have been craving the current “American Way of Death” story arc.  I mean you got the return of Dark Judges and they are tear assing through Meg City One like it is tissue paper. With Judge Dredd and the surviving judges, they are too busy trying to argue with each other than on how best to destroy this menace. Some even seem to believe that Dredd is the true enemy at hand. Go figure. After three issues of awesome excitement, the grand conclusion has reached us and all I can say is that the expectation was way higher than the outcome. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I know that this wrap up felt kind bland and rushed as a new arc is set to begin. Sure, I enjoyed the interaction with Dredd and the other judges as they are regrouping in the Cursed Earth and their eventual confrontation with SOME of the Dark Judges. It all seemed just a little rushed though, like it was trying to get to the next chapter without really resolving anything that I can tell.

JudgeDredd-20-cvr copy 2Adding to the letdown was the “second story” between Judge Harvies and Pachoda who had switched bodies in a previous story that was brought back in this arc and played perfectly up until here. Once again, things felt rushed and the end result was way dissatisfying. As they are fighting together in Sector 1, there could have been so much more.  But it just kind of scurried on with no real resolve. Hopefully that will change once the new arc begins, but for here I think disappointing was the feeling that I had.  It just didn’t live up to the excellence of the previous three installments.

That said, I am more than willing to accept this as just a slight glitch in an otherwise wonderful story. Duane Swierczynski and Nelson Daniel have found a very solid grove in working together that has made the last several issues must read material.  They ebb and flow well with each other and depict a Meg City One that is gritty, raw, and harsh. Adding The Dark Judges to the mix only adds to that harshness.

Everything has been clicking on all cylinders, until now. It all just kind of thudded here. But as this arc ends, a new one begins and the possible return of a mainstay, at least in some sort of form. So, I have my hopes up that this one can be brushed away quickly and we head to the next one.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Duane Swierczynski Artist: Nelson Daniel Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/9/14 Format: Ongoing, Print/Digital