Judge Dredd 18 (April 1985)

Judge Dredd #18

Not a lot happens this issue–well, there’s a lot of block warring and very little the judges can do about it–but there doesn’t seem to be an overarching story. Except why everyone wants to fight in a block war. I was sort of hoping Wagner or Grant would lay out the battles with some connections, but they just hop around.

The blocks all have memorable names–everyone and everything in Judge Dredd has a memorable name–and the initial conflict does have some block vs. block motivations, but pretty soon everything goes crazy and they don’t much matter.

There’s a lot of good art from McMahon and Smith and the writers definitely keep the comic moving–not the easiest task as it’s a compilation–but it’s all action. There’s personality, sure, and some great details, but there’s not a lot of ambition (even measured, Dredd ambition) going on.

B 

CREDITS

Writers, John Wagner and Alan Grant; artists, Mike McMahon and Ron Smith; colorist, John Burns; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

Judge Dredd 17 (March 1985)

Judge Dredd #17

The issue has two stories–one from Mills, one from Wagner, both with art by Ron Smith. The first story, Mills’s, has a regular citizen turning into a were-dinosaur. It’s kind of dumb, but Mills’s plotting of the story is fantastic. The way he starts external to the eventual characters and moves in–presumably from chapter to chapter in the original 2000 AD progs.

The big showdown between Dredd and the monster happens in Old New York City, which looks a lot like seventies New York City (fire escapes, rooftops). It’s good Mega-City One has so many locations because the showdown wouldn’t look good in the futuristic settings… but tragically haunted man wandering rainswept New York? It works.

The second story has Dredd investigating a television game show. Wagner does a great job with both the mystery and the solution. The setup is rather imaginative too.

Excellent issue.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writers, Pat Mills and John Wagner; artist, Ron Smith; colorist, John Burns; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

Judge Dredd 16 (February 1985)

Judge Dredd #16

One of Dredd’s cases comes back to haunt him, with the sole survivor of a criminal family hunting judges. He’s a Cursed Earth mutant–with an evil super rat as a pet. McMahon draws them both very creepy.

And Wagner’s script plays up that creep factor. The villain is methodical, with Wagner showing his aptitude for the crimes. It creates a sense of foreboding, especially after the villain successfully assassinates a judge. Between the action itself (which Wagner immediately sets up as a big deal) and the eventual kidnapping of Judge Hershey, Wagner definitely implies this story–a collection of chapters from 2000 AD– has high stakes.

There’s a lot of action in the story too, with McMahon toggling between suspense and brawling. It’s an excellent longer story.

The other story, with Garry Leach on art, is short, to the point and successful.

Overall, it’s an excellent issue. Rather excellent.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, John Wagner; artists, Mike McMahon and Garry Leach; colorist, John Burns; letterers, Tom Frame and Tony Jacob; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

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