Now THIS, is what I am talking about… The Mega City Manhunt reaches its second part in this issue. And in what has been kind of a ho hum run the last few issues, writer Duane Swierczynski and artist Stephen Scott with extra art by Mark Torres break out the ballistics and embark on a full frontal assault on the readers’ senses to reach maximum perfection. Judge Dredd is back baby… Not in the ooze…Not slinking around like some incognito low life…But truly back, taking the action straight to its source right at corrupt Supreme Judge Cal. Action ensues and entertainment is had to anyone who should read it. This is the best Judge Dredd issue in some while.
But before we get to Dredd and Cal, we have to have the build up, of which Swierczynski brings with to us with bold gusto. There is a death right off the bat that I must admit was not quite expected when it happened. There have been multiple issues with this character who has proven himself to be a survivor. But it all ends here (See Ya). I give big kudos to Swierczynski for not being afraid to pull the trigger on this death and in pushing on after it without missing a beat. The action simply does not stop.
With Judge Anderson stuck in Dredd’s head (a very long story with many issues), Dredd has the opportunity finally to enter into the Meg in full underneath all of the high brow and wholly determined security aimed at bringing him in…No wait…Scratch that…Of killing Judge Dredd on sight…That’s better…Even though this is the consensus of most of the judges involved with the hunt, there is one that has doubts to this and it very nearly costs her life. What must be done is another undercover drop by her to find Judge Dredd herself, and to get the answers that she needs. We also get more insight into the whole Dubbie Cruz story that was very prominent within the last issue. It all makes sense now thanks to this issue. Let’s just say that there is a reason as to why old Dubbie resembles Justice Cal. Everything adds up for a front to back thoroughly entertaining read.
I know with last month’s issue, I was up in the air in regard to the story not knowing if it wanted to be a serious one or a comedic one. It straddled the two and never quite found an identity. That confusion is wiped away with Issue #26 as the stone cold serious tone wins out and the comedic eases itself into the background, making for a truly balanced story. Duane Swierczynski nails this one to the wall creating a tightly written story that entertains throughout, and flows smoothly with no flaws that I can see. Past issues have been kind of shaky. But not here. All the mediocre has been wiped clean (Yes!).
And if that is not enough, there are two artists at work here bringing the heat. Mark Torres takes part in the intro covering pages 2-4, while Stephen Scott returns and flows through page 5 to the end. From what I see with Scott’s art in this issue, it is his best to date and continues to increase in stature and appeal. He is beginning to nail the characters and their ways. And in what better demonstration of this change, than with the Dubbie and Cal characters. These two are two different persons, but drawn in such a way to establish their differences over their alike issues. When the big reveal occurs in this one, Scott has it down and the art depicts Dubbie and Cal perfectly. But before all that happens, Mark Torres sets the tone with his bold renderings and hardcore action. Both gentlemen bring back to the table a title that had been slipping. It is slipping no more.
After reading this issue, my Christmas came a little bit early. I am about as big of a Judge Dredd fan as I can be and I look forward to this title with great enthusiasm month after month. But more often than not in recent months, I have felt a little bit let down with the stories. Not here though. I saw the elements there in the first part of this story last month, but it had not quite gotten there yet. It is now here and I am really stoked for the next issue. “Drokken A” I must say. “Drokken A”. . .
Writer: Duane Swierczynski Artist: Stephen Scott and Mark Torres Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/24/14 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital