The Dark Judges are back! And they are wreaking some serious havoc on the near helpless citizens of Meg City One. Not even the powerful Judges sworn to protect the fare city have been able to stop this menace who has now returned with even more power than before. How in the world could this have happened? Weren’t they trapped away in the nightmarish Deadworld dimension? To answer that question, I would say a big yes. Yes that is, until Judge Anderson began snooping around and teleported over, unleashing this new and latest wave of doom and death at the hands of this morbid fearsome foursome. Death, the leader and most personable of the group, hell bent on eradicating all humans as to live is to be guilty. Fire, one flaming madman burning a swath of charred bodies in his wake. Mortis, his bony touch causes instant decay to anyone unlucky enough to feel it. And finally, Fear, gaze into his mask and die a thousand deaths before being silenced forever. The Dark Judges are most certainly back. And the Meg looks to be doomed. Can anybody stop them?
Enter once again the perpetrator of this mess, Judge Anderson of Psi Division who once again is the focal point of this entire Classics volume thus far. The stories in this rendering cover Judge Anderson Psi Division stories featured in 2000 AD Progs #420-423. As for Judge Joe Dredd himself, he makes a very small cameo in an initial response to the Dark Judges and that is it.
But all is good as these progs offer a particularly good and solid look at one of the more underrated female characters in comics. Anderson is smart, tough, talented, and brave. She is a perfect partner to Dredd in many episodes. But she also is a character who can hold her own as one hardcore super psychic cop. Through the course of this Classics run, we see more of Anderson’s resourcefulness rather than the flaws that were placed on her during the last Classics issue. Here, we see a lady who made a mistake and is not afraid to suffer the consequences. But at the same time, we also see a lady who will not sit idly by as her City is being destroyed by bad guys. Much like Judge Dredd himself, Judge Anderson is not afraid to get dirty and has convictions to service that overshadow her personal risks. A pretty cool character trait I must say.
The stories here are written by Alan Grant and John Wagner (who is credited under the name of “Grover”) with art provided by Brett Ewins who unfortunately recently passed away (RIP Brother) and Cliff Robinson. Like Judge Dredd progs, these Judge Anderson Psi Division progs are extremely fast paced and brisk, flowing quickly and evenly. The action is fast. The story is furious. And Grant with Grover write these stories with excellent bravado, worthy of the character. Anderson has her vulnerabilities, but she has to put those to the side as she tackles the current threat even though she is under quarantine and likely will be sent off to Titan for a long long time for her poor decision.
I have always liked Brett Ewins’ art style and his Dark Judges are damn near sinister. They are nasty and the carnage that they unleash is just as equally nasty as the progs move forward. The only bad thing I can say is that Anderson’s 1980s style hair doesn’t quite work. But hey, when he drew these, it was what it was. Hairdos aside, the art holds up to the test of time and is quite pleasing both from Ewins as well as Cliff Robinson.
You add the new coloring applied to these Classics by Charlie Kirchoff and you have what has been the best issue of this Classics 2nd Volume. I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. This is a must for Judge Dredd fans as the reissue color just pops with the classic story.
Judge Dredd Classics Vol. 2 #4 Writers: Alan Grant and John Wagner Artist: Brett Ewins and Cliff Robinson Colorist: Charlie Kirchoff Publisher: IDW Publishing/2000 AD Price: $3.99 Release Date: 04/15/2015 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital