Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Francesco Gaston
Release Date: 31st May 2017
So the Funko Pop bandwagon rattles on, steamrolling all in its path. Taking everything we know and love and making it FUNKy (I can only apologise for the pun – I couldn’t help myself). And now it’s the turn of our favourite judge, jury and executioner.
I was intrigued by the look of this comic before reading, but I was a little confused as to just what kind of audience this book would be intended for. Funko Pops were initially designed for children, there is little doubt of that, but down in my local comic book store, a lot of the people I witness buying them are at least 16 years old. From asking around, it would appear that this trend is pretty widespread. I was also interested about the effect the Funko style of artwork would have on the story. In layman’s terms (no pun intended), what is the actual point of the IDW Funko Universe?
Reading the book gave me a solid answer to both questions. In my opinion, this book is largely style over substance. And unfortunately, it’s style for style’s sake. The Funko style of art – provided here by Francesco Gaston – plays no real part in the story beyond the unusual nature of artwork itself.
From the first panel I could tell that this book was clearly written for children, so I read it with that mindset. I personally think that the Judge Dredd character is a fairly strange choice for a children’s book, given his usual ‘adult’ themes. The resulting ‘child friendly’ version of the Dredd character is about as unusual as I had expected, coming across more petulant child than authoritarian police force. There’s also a little bit too much Eric Cartman in the characterisation for me (…and I do not respect his authority).
The book is split into three separate stories, and is truly the definition of a “mixed bag”. The highlight is the opening tale, “Crim Story”. There is nothing of real substance in terms of a plotline; a bad guy attacks, and, uh, that’s about it. What raises this story above the others is the humour of the narrator (and a narrator-based twist at the end!). Credit where credit is due, writer John Layman nailed this narrator character.
However, it’s with story two, “All Pupped Up”, that this book really goes wrong. The story is based around Judge Dredd saving a puppy from a tree. It fails to be humorous, it fails to entertain, it just fails.
All in all, while it’s an interesting enough idea, Judge Dredd’s foray into the Funko Universe is a massive swing and a miss.
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The writer of this piece was: Blair Stevenson
Blair Tweets from @BlairStevenson.