• Judge Dredd #2

    Judge Dredd #2
    Released by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: January 20th, 2015.
    Written by: Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas
    Illustrated by: Dan McDaid
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    Judge Dredd Mega-City Zero: Part Two – Flame Wars picks up exactly where the first issue of this new series written by Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas and illustrated by Dan McDaid left off. In that issue he woke up in a field, met some troublemaking kids and wound up trying to make his way into an organic looking Mega Block referred to as Ang Avi, but not before going toe to toe with some big robots in charge of keeping people from getting in Ang Avi in the first place.

    Once he gets in, he realizes that Ang Avi is a whole lot like the Angela Davis Block where he was working on his last case… before he woke up in whatever world it is that he’s in now. Dredd, with some help from the kids, makes his way through the hordes, determined to find the person in charge. He’s pointed towards a Sys-Op, a mammoth dude on a floating chair but when he asks the Sys-Op what has happened to Mega-City One he’s accused of ‘trogging.’ Dredd tries to put everyone under arrest but it’s no use, the citizens really just make fun of him.

    This changes when one of the citizens, Trog Lody, a devout follower of PJ Maybe, realizes who Dredd actually is. He can’t tell him what happened to Mega-City One, he really doesn’t know, but he explains the Trog system, the emergence of the Sys-Op’s and how and why anarchy has taken over. When Dredd enlists his help, Judge Trog, complete with an ‘old school’ Judge costume, suits up and is ready for action. He likes the power that he feels from it and understands immediately why ‘you guys couldn’t stop.’

    And off the two of them go to find out what happened to the kids, recently missing, who led Dredd into all of this in the first place… BAD IDEAS MUST BE REMOVED.

    Is this the future we’re headed for, or are we already there? Deliveries made by done on the second, selfies and smart phone interaction taking precedence over observance of the law? Trends catching on and changing faster than social media updates can allow for? Usernames replacing birth names? It’s a fine line between Blockmania and anarchy, it would seem. There’s a lot going on here, this issue has a lot to say about how online culture, which isn’t really online culture in this future world but culture itself (there’s no longer a distinction) affects judgment, literally, and rule of law, the role of cops in society and the very need for enforcement. Both Dredd and the citizens of this new world soon learn the hard way about the differences in their respective views on the law. Dredd, towards the end of this issue, busts into action. He’s going to enforce the law, no matter the cost, while those whose heads are busted and/or blasted can’t help but wonder why he took this route instead of trying to ‘intellectually upset their point of view.’
    It’s much heavier stuff than you might expect, but soooooo worth reading and likely only to get heavier from here on out. The very meaning of ‘judgment’ is, in a sense, debated here as Judge Trog comes into conflict with Dredd, shows his true self and then in turn forces the opinions of those around him to, if not evolve, at least differ. But we don’t want to spoil things here.

    As heady and genuinely thought provoking as the story is, the artwork from Dan McDaid is just as strong. Here he hits a nice mix of sloppy, sketchy, anarchic and hyper-detailed, often all on the same page and occasionally even in the same panel. Ryan Hill’s over the top coloring complements the character design and refreshingly awesome looking backgrounds that McDaid conjures up with plenty of style and even the lettering, courtesy of Shawn Lee, stands out. The first issue was great, this second issue was better. Bring on issue three.