• Judge Dredd #7

    Judge Dredd #7
    Released by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: June 29th, 2016.
    Written by: Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas
    Illustrated by: Dan McDaid
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    Dredd and the surviving girls – Quill and Lolo accompanied by Pug Dredd! - paddle their way to the refuge where a blonde man named Charles greets them as friends and offers them food and shelter. Dredd immediately notices something odd on his hand – when asked about it, Charles tells him it’s a personal security drone, everyone in the refuge gets one. When Charles corrects one of the girls’ grammar they decide to split, this is kind of weird, but he eventually calms them down and they accept his offer with some understandable trepidation.

    And then Lolo flips out, taking out the drone and assaulting Charles. Dredd tries to calm her but it only kinda-sorta works. She’s suspicious of the way Charles keeps talking about how grateful everyone will be to see some new able bodies to help out. She’s worried they might be cannibals. But then they make their way into the place and get a chance to check it out – it’s pretty huge. But when someone asks them if they’re lost, seemingly offering to help, the girls flip out and go on the run again. Back and the shoreline, Dredd hears Charles mention ‘Berger’ and he grabs him, demanding more information and wanting to know immediately where she is. Charles tells him ‘Oh Berger’ is just an expression

    Quill and Lolo wind up in a room, away from harm, and they’re really starting to wonder if the people in this place are all members of some sort of strange cult. An older man tries to calm them, tells them this is to protect them, and the girls call for help. Dredd can’t hear them. He’s too far away. The old man tells them they’re put away for now not just for their own protection but to protect the other citizens, while they figure out what they’re all about, to make sure they’ll play by the established rules as they’re explained to them. Assimilation is a big deal, the girls are assigned their own drones.

    Watch your tone. Check your inequality. Administer re-assimilation.

    The girls see first-hand what happens when someone breaks a rule, why the drones are really there. And they learn what happens when they use improper grammar! Lolo flips out, Quill goes to get Dredd…

    The Mega-City Zero storyline goes in a new direction this issue as Dredd and the two girls literally find refuge. Of course, it’s not what it seems but it’s also maybe not what they think it is. The jury is still out on that but we’ll get there in due time, have faith in that. For now, the story is setting up some interesting things to come. Is Lolo right or has she snapped? Has Dredd’s influence on her been positive or negative? Are the rules that this place operates by really to preserve the greater good or is there something more sinister at play? We really don’t know yet, but it’ll likely all come out in the next few issues. It’s fun to speculate, but we no heavy spoilers here, the last third of the issue is pretty intense and you don’t need to know anything more about it than that at this point. Once again, there’s interesting food for thought scattered all throughout this issue. There’s social commentary aplenty as we’re asked to question the reality of what the characters experience and what they’re asked to abide by in order to ‘fit in.’ This series has been clever from the start and it seems to be staying that way – it’s great to see Farina and Freitas taking Dredd in such unexpected directions here. As great as the writing is, the artwork is just as strong. McDaid is really making this series his own, putting a pretty distinct spin on the look of the story while still keeping Dredd instantly identifiable and just as iconic as you want him to be. There’s lots of nice detail here throughout but so too are there some interesting panels that are sketchy enough to look alive. Heavy black lines keep things shadowy in spots, where it should be, while the facial expressions and body movements of the various characters looks nice and lifelike, never too posed or static. Ryan Hill deserves a high five for the great coloring job he’s been doing on this run too, because it fits McDaid’s art like a slightly puffy green protective glove.