Review: Judge Dredd #25

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Judge Dredd 25 Cover

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Story: Duane Swierczynski

Art:Steve Scott

Inks: Karl G. Waller & Steve Scott

Colours: Nelson Daniel

Letters: Shawn Lee

Editor: Chris Ryall 

Cover & Alt Cover: Mark Torres

Subscription Variant: Blank Sketch Cover

Having dealt with the horror that is the Dark Judges in the last issue, this month we find Joe back to more Earthly problems in IDW’s Judge Dredd #25.   Looking to escape from Sector One in order to take down Chief Justice Cal the only problem is the ever present, all seeing, Sky-Eyes.  The mobile drones that monitor not only the Citizenry of Mega City One’s every deed but their very thoughts too.

Before having to deal with the very personification of evil that is Judge Death and his cabal Joe had found himself on the wrong side of the law.  He and the rest of the Justice Departments power players were framed and exiled to the prison colony on Titan so despite his heroics in vanquishing once again his life hating foe he is a wanted man.  No time for rest (not even in the accelerated sleep chambers of the Halls of Justice, not that he could find his way to their respite right now anyway) he is the number one target not just of the city’s dark underbelly of crime as usual but of his brother and sisters Judges and the good honest citizens of MC1 who are outraged by his crimes which number the murder of the very Justice Department colleagues he was exiled alongside.

But in the grand tradition of the mother comic from which Dredd was born 2000AD it is not Joe that we find ourselves spending time with initially in this new arc “Mega City Manhunt: Part One” but with titular “The Most Hated Face of the 22nd Century” the poor victim of the genetic lottery Dubbie Cruz.  For poor Dubbie is cursed to share a very similar face to that of the power mad despotic Chief Justice Cal and so cannot leave the confines of his cramped apartment for fear of his fellow citizens.  As the pressures of Cal’s totalitarian grip begin to boil over to block war Dubbie must leave his safe haven for the sake of love to rescue his adored Lolly from the Alfred Matthew Yankovic Pleasure Mall.

And so it is that issue 25 feels more like a brief pause following the hectic pace of the past half dozen issues.  Swierczynski is taking a breath before plunging head long into another epic battle for the very soul of the city.  Giving us a chance to spend some timew with the folks that Joe is putting himself through all these dire situations to protect.  Getting things back to street level and to a more personal set of stakes.

Regular series Artist Nelson Daniel also seems to be taking a bit of a holiday too, passing the responsibility for drawing the issue to Steve Scott and instead returning to once again provide the colour palate for the tale.  Karl G Waller assists Scott with the inks and the combination gives the book a very old school 2000AD look and feel.  Just as the focus of the story itself would be eminently at home in the Megazine or 2000AD the art could happily sit alongside the British offerings too.

This months offering from the excellent IDW made for America series may not be hitting the heights of earlier issues but there is plenty here to love and we are certainly going to be in for another wild ride as we watch Joe and Dubbie make their way across the city in pursuit of very different goals.

Judge Dredd hits the shelves on the 26th of November.

Be sure to check out our sneak peek of the issue and the rest of this weeks new comics over in the Preview Section