Overall, I have been very pleased with the Judge Dredd offerings by Duane Swierczynski with Nelson Daniels on the art. The “13 Badges” story line began last month with a nice element of investigation as Dredd and his superiors are trying to figure out who is assassinating judges. The number one suspect is an old rogue judge named Tarjay who has had a past with Dredd. This past has caused the eyebrows to be raised by SJS, the regulatory body of the judges who had forbidden Dredd to investigate. But after the killing of a friend, the glove was thrown down and Dredd took charge in trying to round-up Tarjay, against direct orders. As issue fifteen begins, Dredd has been taken in for questioning by Judge Cal of the SJS who is not so friendly in his interrogation. Meanwhile, a precognitive friend named Anderson is working on the outside to track Tarjay and help to put an end to the killings.
The action and cuts from the interrogation room to the hunt for Tarjay are well done and orchestrated by Swierczynski perfectly. The balance is well-played and the reader will turn pages rapidly as the intensity level builds with each page about as much as Dredd’s levels during his questioning. Likewise, Nelson Daniels’ art has a strong blending of lights and darks as we cut back and forth to the elements of the story. I am always amazed that Swierczynski and Daniels always pack in so much action within typically about 18 pages or so of story. They both do a fantastic job and leave the reader wanting to read more as the “13 Badges” line continues. Things have gotten interesting at the end here.
For story number two, called, “Perp Walk”, we are given the tale of Bunker, a hardened felon who is also a mystic in an iso cube who may have discovered a way out of his plight. What we get in the story is his building, planning, and final attempt at freedom.
This story is also written by Swierczynski, but is drawn by Andy Belanger and like recent additions to the “second” story in the Judge Dredd title, we are given an almost “Twilight Zone” kind of feel in the tale. I must say that “Perp Walk” holds up well and helps to add additional substance to the world of Judge Dredd from other angles. Namely in this one, we get a psychotic mystic who has one desire and one desire only, to get out and destroy Dredd. I love the artwork in this one as in presenting Bunker; we are given great insight of his hatred to the judges and especially Dredd. The story is a nice blending of ancient mysticism in a high-tech world and is also quite an enjoyable read.
Judge Dredd issue fifteen continues to deliver an awesome punch in a wonderful relaunch by IDW that is true to the long history and is likewise true in carving out new territory for a classic hero. For $3.99, you get two great stories in a wonderful title.
Writer: Duane Swierczynski Artists: Nelson Daniel (“13 Badges, Part 2”) and Andy Belanger (“Perp Walk”) Publisher: IDW Publishing Price $3.99 Release Date: 1/22/14