Judge Joe Dredd has been relocated from the mean streets of Mega City One to the sunnier, celebrity obsessed city of Mega City Two in this miniseries from IDW.
Carrying on the grand tradition of Judge Dredd comics presenting different post-apocalyptic cities as heightened caricatures of their contemporary locations (Mega City One is an amped up version of Travis Bickle’s nihilistic New York) this story offers a look at Mega City Two: an insipid and shallow Californian megapolis.
With Dredd chasing down a fleeing suspect in possession of future-drug Stookie Extract, he is horrified to find himself followed by a TV crew and armed with non-lethal rounds. To make matters worse, the laws are very different in Mega City Two and their stance on controlled substances is far more complicated than the black and white rules Dredd is used to.
The artwork is vibrant and cartoony, a weird fit for Dredd but something that works quite well, particularly in the context of the LaLa Land of Mega City Two. Wide angles of the city are highly detailed and densely populated, bringing to mind Darick Robertson’s art on Transmetropolitan or the work of Geof Darrow. At times it can all be a bit overwhelming, a total sensory overload, but this is very much in keeping with the story which puts Dredd in an unfamiliar and garish new setting.
It’s a fish out of water story featuring one of the most humourless, stoney faced protagonists in comics. Where better to put him than the sunshine state where everyone walks around with an insincere grin?
The writer of this piece was: Joe Morrison
Joe is Freelance film journalist based in Glasgow.
You can also find Joe on Twitter.