• Judge Dredd #10

    Judge Dredd #10
    Released by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: September 21st, 2016.
    Written by: Ulises Farina, Erick Freitas
    Illustrated by: Dan McDaid
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    OK, where were we… last issue Dredd and Quill left the refuge while Lolo came face to face with the very person responsible for the bizarre vegetation experiments that were going on under everyone’s noses. Lolo had hoped this would allow them to find, or bring back, their dead friend Iggy.

    Dredd is being called to task by some of the populace, there are those who would prefer anarchy to the death that has occurred since Dredd came around. He and Quill get into a scrap, it doesn’t go so well, but before it can get worse a barrage of arrows takes out their enemies. It seems that the descendents of ‘the most distant penal colony in Mega-City One history’ are concerned for the safety of Pug Dredd and will do whatever it takes to prevent animal cruelty! These militant vegans oppose the puppy kickers of Ang Avi and all that they stand for. Their leader gives Quill a quick history, explaining how their population almost went extinct when, faced with no other option, they started feeding on one another until they eventually ‘found balance.’ Given that Quill and Dredd are friends of the dog, the vegans offer them safe haven, time to heal.

    Quill and Dredd are offered a permanent spot with the vegan tribe, but Quill refuses it. They have their mission, and once Dredd and the dog are better, they’ll be on their way. When Dredd heals, he finds his way to the armory where a stash of weapons designed only to work when connected to a genetically registered Judge have been laying dormant for years. While Dredd is loading up, Quill uncovers the truth about what this tribe really uses for sustenance.

    “We found balance! Balance with our bodies, we changed our bodies. We are what we eat.”

    Dredd authorizes Lawgiver #442 to work with Quill’s DNA, and utters five simple words:

    “This is where it stops.”

    There is only the law and the law must not be forgotten. This one builds to a pretty fantastic conclusion, seeing Dredd back in Judge mode and with a vengeance at that. He might still need a shave and he might have lost his shirt somewhere along the way but Dredd is still Dredd and even if justice isn’t served, the law will be enforced. While he and Quill go about their business, we also learn just what it is that Lolo has uncovered on her own, but we’re not going to spoil that even if issue nine dropped some serious clues as to where that plot line would go. As is the norm with the series thus far, there’s some heavy but appreciable social commentary throughout the book. If past installments have dealt with totalitarian regimes and law enforcement related issues, this time around Ulises Farina and Erick Freitas dabble in the politics of food. Veganism is explored through the panels that detail the tribal history of those that would be the saviors of our lead characters, though it takes some interesting and darkly humorous turns. Eat organic, it’s better for you!

    Dan McDaid goes pretty wild with some of the character design in this issue, really delivering some gritty detail in the vegan’s war outfits and continuing to give Dredd that big, tough presence that the character needs to work. Lots of great detail showing off the filth and the fury of the story’s dystopian landscape, and a great sense of action and movement when it all hits the fan. Ryan Hill’s coloring is still the perfect accent to McDaid’s artwork, heavy on red in this issue, but that’s fitting given that red is the color of meat.

    This one ends on a pretty solid cliffhanger, the kind that pretty much guarantees you’re going to be back next issue. And when the quality of the series is as good as this latest incarnation of Judge Dredd has been from the very start, why wouldn’t you be?