Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Judge Dredd: Under Siege #2 - IDW Publishing

JUDGE DREDD: UNDER SIEGE No. 2, June 2018
Mark Russell’s treatment for Issue Two of “Judge Dredd: Under Siege” clearly shows the Eisner Award-nominee taking up the “chance to step into the role of sci-fi social commentator” by focusing far more upon the fall of Patrick Swayze Block into an insular, self-serving community than it does Judge Beeny’s firefight with attacking mutants. Indeed, in many ways this twenty-page periodical’s narrative is all about Tiger Whitehead’s exploitation at the hands of Kidney Hut, and her young brother’s subsequent rescue before the organ harvester’s body-armoured bully boys can remove it, rather than a story about Mega-City One’s greatest lawman defending a band of his metropolis’ hapless citizens from the multi-limbed machinations of the Cursed Earth’s mutated denizens.

Fortunately however, that doesn’t mean that “the author of God Is Disappointed in You” hasn’t penned an enthrallingly entertaining tale, as his plot-thread involving the examination of “fine print” and giving a corporation your liver “when someone turns seventy” proves itself to be a disturbing, disconcertingly engrossing read which in some ways arguably harks back to the horror of Malcolm Shaw’s April 1977 “2000 A.D.” story “Frankenstein 2”. Certainly, it’s not hard to cheer Gilberto on as the (then) young man desperately engages a pair of the corporation’s mean-spirited internal collection agents with a hand pistol in order to give his purple-haired friend an opportunity to both find the infant Jerome and “destroy all the records for Swayze Block.”

For those within this mini-series’ audience more interested in the exploits of its titular character though, such advantageous abuse of the underprivileged by greedy, money-making executives, are impressively also interspersed with action-packed insights into Judge Dredd’s current battle against the building’s invading host. Hauntingly illuminated by Whitehead’s “light jacket”, these pulse-pounding panels not only show the lawman at the very top of his game, as he dispatches numerous heavily-armed mutants courtesy of the various settings available on his lawgiver, but also manage to convey the sense of unease between the judges and their lawbreaking allies, “a small local gang, under the command of an enigmatic man known as The Mayor.”

Perhaps this book’s only disappointment is therefore some of Max Dunbar’s pencilling, which whilst top notch and sense-shattering when used to convey all the dynamism of the publication’s pitched battles in the near darkness of a church and shopping mall, strangely lack that ‘something extra’ when depicting family life within Tiger’s household and the sterile environment of the Kidney Hut offices.

‘First published on the "Dawn of Comics" website.'
The regular cover art of "JUDGE DREDD: UNDER SIEGE" No. 2 by Max Dunbar

4 comments:

  1. I'm pleased to see Dredd teaming up with Beeny, whom I've always had a fondness for. Indeed, I even converted a figure to include her in my collection of 28mm scale MC1 Judges. We don't see enough of her in action.

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    1. Tbh, I’m new to Beeny Bryan, but you are far more into “Judge Dredd” and “2000AD” than I. She is certainly in action in this one, so I hope you’ll enjoy this as a TPB should you purchase it.

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    2. Judge America Beeny has risen through the ranks from an exceptional cadet who graduated after only 11 years. The average length of service before graduation is 15 years. Dredd graduated after 13 years, which tells you a lot about how good Beeny is. On numerous occasions since then she has partnered Dredd. In 2137 she was appointed as a member of the Council of Five, following Dredd's recommendation.

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    3. Thanks Bryan, as I say, you know far more about these characters than I. guess that means she shouldn't die in this mini-series either, which is good to know as I like her.

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