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The Batman Judge Dredd Collection s/c

The Batman Judge Dredd Collection s/c back

John Wagner, Alan Grant & Simon Bisley, Glenn Fabry, Val Semeiks, Cam Kennedy, more


Page 45 Review by Jonathan

Memory is a funny thing. I bought all four components of this collection as they came out and what I hadn’t forgotten was just how completely average the middle two parts were, in story terms at least, although the art is damn splendid. What I had forgotten though was just how great the two main book-ending chunks were, both in terms of the story and the art. The basic premise is pretty simple, of course, and follows the standard conventions for any good heroic team-up. The heroes meet then have a punch-up before teaming up to defeat the bad guys. And this is no different, but it’s written with such comedic panache by Wagner and Grant that it just works perfectly. A pissing contest par excellence between our two alpha males that’s never really going to get settled definitively because in each of their heads, there’s no question who is the top dog. The fact that they have bad buys to deal with is merely the side-show...

I really had forgotten just how ridiculously funny this first story was. But what really takes it to another level compared to the finest 2000AD fare is Bisley’s painted art. Again, I had completely forgotten just how truly impressive it is. It’s totally over the top with Batman’s ridiculously pointy ears and near-infinitely long cape plus a Mega-City One that’s never looked quite so completely insane. But that is precisely what’s required to make such a totally unbelievable story like this work. There’s no point getting into explaining the plot overmuch; suffice to say it involves Batman, Judges Dredd, Anderson and Death plus the Scarecrow with excursions to both Gotham and the Big Meg. Cue much wise-cracking and headcracking as the lawmen vie for the last word just as much as the knockout punch.

Parts two and three are, well, pretty weak stories frankly, and definitely have the feel of more run of the mill weekly 2000AD type material than a special event. Both seem primarily to function purely as teasers for the fourth part that brings the Joker and the rest of the Dark Judges into action, and which as I did clearly remember, whilst it is good fun, it’s not quite as strong a story as the first one. And that may well be why, in part, it was the last excursion for our dysfunctional duo. I can’t say I’m desperate for them to revisit the premise again, though no doubt if this hardcover collection shifts enough copies they will undoubtedly do so.
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