The Best of Judge Dredd Graphic Novel Review.

Published by Metro Books. From a ton of writers and artists.

Stories include: Meet Judge Dredd, Judge Dredd’s Nightmares, Don Uggie, Firebug, The Cursed Earth, Punks Rule, The Return of Rico!, Vienna, Judge Dredd – Hyper-Cop, The Judge Child, Otto Sump’s Ugly Clinic, The Fink, America, Mrs Gunderson’s Big Adventure, Bug, What I Did…, Origins.

In a previous column I argued that it is a travesty that the American audience is mostly unaware of Asterix and Obelix. I continue that America is missing out on some of the best comic stories they’ve never seen which is nothing like the infamous Sylvester Stallone movie.

I was absolutely amazed at how good the stories in this book are. The only negative is calling this the “best of”. Many of these stories are the beginning chapters of the best stories. Buy the complete graphic novels of those stories if you enjoy them here. Mission accomplished because some of these stories are epic.

The Judge is such an interesting character throughout these stories. Sometimes he’s the star and other times he is a background presence in a larger story. Mega City One is his Gotham City – the location becoming a character itself. He can be seen as savior or oppressor. He is justice, and justice can occasionally be blind, perverted, or twisted. Judge Dredd is an empty vessel of a character. He can be filled with whatever story the writer wants to tell – and it works!

“America” is now one of my favorite comic stories of all time, and the Judge is barely in it. A heart breaking story with good arguments on both sides but failures in execution. This should be a constantly in print story waiting for new readers to discover and debate.

“The Cursed Earth” was epic, and this collection only includes a small portion of it. Judge Dredd has a mission that takes him to the nuclear wasteland scarred earth in between Mega City One and Mega City Two on opposite coasts of America. This is a massive tale waiting for a large streaming service to throw millions at for an adaptation.

I was amazed at concepts of beauty, wealth, death, class and more weaving through each and every story over years. This is an absurdly smart comic hiding behind a helmet and a gun. I’m adding Judge Dredd to deep concepts that want the audience to think about society but instead there’s a segment that misses the point and obsesses over loving the violence.

The art is it’s own beast. These artists brought their British style over to America but they don’t seem to be influenced by what American artists were doing. There are not copies of Kirby, or Perez, (the Vienna story does remind me of Byrne though) or Extreme styles. It feels of it’s own world and influences. Super detailed, great use of inks and greys, sci fi but with a sense of reality to everything happening.

If you’ve never read Judge Dredd you’re doing yourself a disservice. Not only was every story in this book at least good if not great. This is also an eye opening way to see an outside perspective of America wrapped in the safe cloak of a fantasy story.

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