Group Review – Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two #3 (of 5) (IDW)

JudgeDredd_MC203_cvrAPublisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Douglas Wolk
Artist: Ulises Farinas
Release Date: 2nd April 2014

Another week, another group review, and this time it’s the turn of IDW’s Mega City Two as Ceej, Jules and Ross cast their eyes over the latest issue.  And, as it often the case with these kind of things, they don’t quite agree.  Take a look;

Ceej Says…

Let me preface this reviews with a quick confession… (what, is it Sunday again?) I’ve never really been a huge Judge Dredd fan. I know, I know, cardinal sin and all that. But for some reason or other, the character never really resonated with me. That said, I was definitely intrigued by this latest series from IDW that sees the square-jawed perma-scowling Judge taken out of his comfort zone and thrown slap-bang into the middle of the vacuous, media-obsessed tinseltown of ‘Mega City Two’.

The humour here is cranked all the way up, with Wolk’s satire being fairly on-the-nose at times, but still guaranteeing a near-permanent grin on the face of the readers as Dredd grimaces his way through the teeth-gnashingly self-centred inhabitants of Mega City Two. The ongoing story is solid enough, if a little bland perhaps, but ‘fish out of water’ dynamic and overall comical tone of the comic more than compensates for any shortcomings in that particular department.

Farinas’ artwork varies slightly throughout this issue, losing detail just a little with the close-up panels while at the same time managing to put together some truly jaw-dropping, poster worthy splash pages (well, at least one, but it’s an absolute doozy for any lovers of mutated giant man-eating shrimps out there).

Overall, I can see this book appealing to both long-time Dredd aficionados as well as new readers like myself, and both Wolk and Farinas should be commended for putting together such a gloriously absurd and bitingly satirical piece of work. Cracking stuff.

Rating: 4/5.

Jules Says…

I’m not feeling this at all. My main problem is it just doesn’t feel like Judge Dredd. At least not to me. Instead of a sprawling future city, Mega-City 2 comes over more like a thin excuse for a stream of gags about the media and nothing else.

The art is a weird hybrid of ultra-cartoony characters and insanely heavily detailed environments and Kaiju that owes more than a little, if not everything, to Geoff Darrow. Derivative as they are, those sections are lovely to look at, so it’s incredibly jarring to switch to panels where Dredd and his supporting cast look like they’ve been drawn on Microsoft Paint.

Liking the Darrow bits, seriously not liking everything else.

Rating: 2/5.

Ross Says…

If there’s one thing that can be said about issue three of Mega City Two (of Judge Dredd One?), is that it certainly has a giant, mutated prawn in it.

There are other things, of course, but I must get back to GIANT, MUTATED PRAWN. Which Dredd must, over the course of the issue, fight. This is precisely as silly as it sounds, and yet is somehow ingeniously played – explained away with weapons-grade Douglas Adams pseudoscience that’ll surely make you chuckle, with Dredd deadpanning his way through it, like the proverbial boss.

The art of this series is another thing to note – a terrific balance between realism and cartoonish exaggeration, Farinas is knocking it out the park. Of particular note is the gloriously detailed two-page splash of said giant, mutated prawn, beach-goers fleeing in terror. It’s just…just awesome.

Wolk’s particular brand of satire is still pretty cutting, as is to be expected from Dredd – raising smirks with potential new citizens being ‘auditioned’ for the ‘role’ of citizenship, and white-collar criminals getting excited about being on TV when they’re getting arrested.

Pretty good fun all round – humour, action and Dredd gritting his teeth, all tied up with a neat, silly bow.

Rating: 4/5.

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