Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Brandon Easton
Artwork: Silvia Califano
Colours: Eva De La Cruz
Lettering: Shawn Lee
Release Date: 10th February 2021
Those fans of Old Stony Face able to successfully slog their way through issue four of Judge Dredd: False Witness probably felt Brandon Easton’s narrative technically lived up to IDW Publishing’s pre-release boast that it contained a “shocking conclusion.” However, whilst the San Diego-based company were presumably referring to their belief that the award-winning writer had penned a sense-shattering finale to his Teutonic tale of Mathias Lincoln going “toe-to-toe with Mega-City One’s most infamous lawman”, this comic’s readers were arguably highlighting its incredulous contrivances, erratic plot-threads and sudden inclusion of elements – such as the villain of the piece’s formidable super-strength – simply to give the book’s main cast something to do.
Indeed, it is genuinely doubtful that many within this publication’s audience could guess from one moment to the next what nonsense the American author was going to come up with. Judge Cassandra Anderson causes her prisoner to experience an anti-Christian religious reawakening using her mental abilities, Joe Dredd preposterously conjures up “a backup Mechanismo unit to follow us underground to escape detection” just as the Justice Department’s attack on Newton Block looks ill-advised, and Shannon McShannon develops the ability to literally punch this comic’s titular character straight off of his feet whilst he’s handcuffing her thanks to the treatment she’s receiving for venereal diseases..!?!
Disconcertingly however, this randomness and illogical penmanship does still lead to a couple of rather enjoyable action sequences, with artist Silvia Califano’s proficient pencilling of Dredd and Anderson storming McShannon’s robot-infested power base possibly proving to be the highlight of the book. Packed full of pulse-pounding laser beams, bullets and more metallic wreckage than you’d see on an episode of Scrapheap Challenge, there’s definitely plenty to entertain with this frantic gun battle, and it’s genuinely a shame that the fight is over almost as soon as it’s started; “For all their fascist bluster, Street Judges possess a freedom in being exactly who and what they say they are.”
Ultimately though, this twenty-page periodical’s script fails as a result of its deeply troubled ending which sees Lincoln inexplicably take his own life by jumping into a vat of toxic goo with a hand-grenade rather than face an Iso-Cube. Considering that this entire four-part mini-series has seemingly been about the illegal immigrant strenuously fighting for his very existence within the huge metropolis, such behaviour seems erratic at best, and appears to have been included, along with the youth’s aforementioned abrupt religious zeal, just to give the tale something of a sting in its tail other than Judge Dolphy’s eventual arrest.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]