In this dual review two writers (in this case Dustin and James) will take a look at the issue and give a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass. Before we begin here’s what the issue is about from IDW Publishing: Dredd heads Californee way! As part of a judicial exchange program, Dredd is sent packing to Mega-City Two, a sprawling city covering 5,000 square miles of the Californian West Coast and centered in what was once known as Los Angeles, where he soon discovers that they do things differently there.
I know that this isn’t for everyone. I know that hardcore Dredd fans will look at it and probably hate the story and dislike the art. In fact I can’t help but look at this issue and think that it was made for me. I got into Dredd with the latest movie. I still think it’s one of if not the best comic book movies ever made and hope for the day that a sequel is made. I know there’s the comic version, but I’m greedy and want both. I know that this story isn’t very Dredd like, I get that, but the charm of the character is that anyone can give their take and it kind of works.
Now people who haven’t or don’t live in California will probably not find as much enjoyment in this issue as I did. For those of us that do or did… this not only sums up California to the “T”, but I can actually picture this being the sister-city of Mega City One. The film crew, the casual drug use, the fact that city struggles financially… that’s California future or not.
The real drawl for me was Ulises Farinas. I’ve become a huge fan of his artwork ever since Gamma and his work on Catalyst Comix is one of the few reasons to read that series. His work here is bubbly and cartoonish, but at the same time he captures Dredd’s essence. I love Farinas’ Dredd and he was definitely the perfect choice for this series. He brings California to life and makes it look vastly different from Mega City One, which he also brings to life if only for a flashback.
This is one of the boldest things that IDW has done with Dredd since getting the North American license and I’m thankful they did it. I wish they would do more things like this with their other license because it won me over in a huge way. The story is strange, bold and entertaining while the art is just amazing. It doesn’t feel like them trying to sell a product to an existing fan base, but rather they’re just creating art. That’s what this is, art.
I am a huge Judge Dredd fan and have been real happy with the progression that our futuristic lawman has taken in recent years adding new life and momentum to a character that has stood the test of time. But with any good, comes some not so good too. Mars Attacks Judge Dredd comes to mind when I think of not so good. Even with duds like that however, I still devour any Dredd title with great gusto. When I heard about a mini involving Dredd in the little seen or published Mega City Two, well I just couldn’t resist to give it a go.
After reading it however, I am not quite sure how this story will be. It does have some potential as Mega City Two is vastly different from Mega City One and old Joe Dredd is out of his element here in dealing with neighborhood courts and such. Apparently there is “another” mission given to Dredd that we are not sure of, but this first go around, though creative and playful in its depiction of the much smaller, but every bit as bold Mega City. The chopper has been replaced by a glorified wienermobile, but elements of the man who is Joe Dredd are brought out in the writing of Douglas Wolk. Ulises Farina’s artwork hits the Dredd style and he details Mega City Two well, but I am wondering if maybe a little too much has been done here. This issue is just all right. I am not quite sold on it as of yet. I am very hopeful that things will pick up and the focus will shift from the uniqueness of the city and more to the strength of the story. We shall see
Score: Split Decision Buy or Borrow
Writer: Douglas Wolk Artist: Ulises Farinas Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/22/14