Judge Joseph Dredd continues his trip into the grotesque Californian nightmare that is Mega City 2 in issue #2 of five part miniseries ‘City of Courts’.
Last issue saw Dredd tailed by a vapid TV crew while he chased a perp through the streets. With its references to wannabe stars and inconsistencies on the legality of certain drugs, it was clearly a knowing piss-take of aspects of Californian culture. That snarky humour is still present in issue #2 as Dredd experiences another peculiarly Californian way of life when he goes undercover in a motorcycle gang.
The amusing take on biker gangs and their system of hierarchy and codes keeps this story firmly within the tradition of jet black humour and satire found within Dredd’s 2000 AD stories. The live fast, die young mentality is shown to be completely ludicrous, with one sequence involving a bike joust proving a brilliantly funny example of how expendable these gang members are in spite of their claims of familial bonds.
The artwork is brash and colourful with lots of details found in the teeming backgrounds. It’s like a mixture of blueprints, Where’s Wally? and manga and is fantastic at expressing the diversity and density of Mega City 2’s population. It’s well designed and pretty to look at and shows a respect for the work of previous artists on the character without attempting to copy them.
Similarly, writer Douglas Wolk shows a clear understanding of the character and he brings the subversive and satirical qualities of the series to the fore. It’s reassuring to know that whether in the strange streets of Mega City 2 or the less familiar pages of an American published series that Dredd still manages to remain Dredd.
INTERIOR ARTWORK PREVIEW
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The writer of this piece was: Joe Morrison
Joe is Freelance film journalist based in Glasgow.
You can also find Joe on Twitter.