Judge Dredd: Cry Of The Werewolf
Released by: IDW Publishing
Released on: March 22nd, 2017.
Written by: John Wagner, Alan Grant
Illustrated by: Steve Dillon
Purchase From Amazon
Originally serialized in 2000 A.D. Progs 322 through 328, this five part adventure of the universe’s toughest lawman has long been a fan favorite. And for good reason – it mixes all the typical Dredd topes that we know and love with some interesting horror elements and the end result is a wickedly entertaining read. This reissue from IDW Publishing features a one page forward courtesy of Glyn Dillon, brother of the late Steve Dillon, the man who illustrated this story. He notes the importance of the story in his brother’s career and also points out that it’s a rare chance to see Dredd in action without his helmet. He also tells some great stories about visiting his brother and seeing this art as it was being made.
And from there, we’re off. The story opens with a splash page where a werewolf howls up at the night sky, a full moon poking out of the darkness. Nearby, Dredd makes his three hundredth arrest of the day. Given that the full moon is out, Dredd’s required to keep working, even though he’s been going for thirty-six hours straight. Ten minutes in the sleep machine solves that, and then he’s back on the streets completely unaware that a werewolf really is stalking the Mega-City One. Two young lovers, Ramone and Rene, are the first victims. Dredd and a few other Judges show up to investigate the carnage – the figure a wild animal must have done it. Elsewhere a couple out for a drive hit the werewolf. They get out to check on what’s happened, only to almost fall prey to the beast. Thankfully for them, Judge Fogg arrives just in time. He opens fire and after switching to incendiary, bags himself a wolfman.
Unfortunately, there’s more than one afoot. Dredd arrives to help Fogg and they learn this the hard way. Boot knives and Lawgivers are used, but more victims are claimed. One of the werewolves they manage to kill has a badge on its chest… BRAM. Forensics runs some tests but Dredd figures more of these creatures are about. They look into Bram’s history and learn that he was one of the Judges who made the ‘long walk’ where, when a Judge is coming to the end of his life, he could choose to head into one of the many lawless areas around Mega-City One and hope to bring some semblance of order to said land. Essentially a suicide mission. When they find a scar on one of the werewolf bodies that matches on that the records show Bram had, they realize what happened. Meanwhile, one of the Judges who was bitten in the line of duty is starting to turn, as are some of the citizens of Mega-City One that have come into contact with the lycanthropes. Judges are called in to deal with the situation but it’s too little too late, this is starting to spread like a plague. When they figure they’ve snagged the last of the werewolves Dredd is savvy enough to ask that all the victims be gathered up and locked away, just in case.
Soon enough, the holding pens are full of hairy, nasty, fanged beasts! Scientists are rushing to try and find a cure and after finding traces of radiation in the werewolves’ blood, they might be on to something. But to sort all this out they’ll need to find the source of the radiation. This brings them back to patient zero, Judge Bram. His long walk took him to the undercity, and who better than Dredd to follow suit? He makes his way into the subterranean underbelly of the city and after clearing the way of some mutants, starts to put the clues together, eventually finding his way to a white werewolf chained up by a gang of robots in the middle of old Times Square! Knowing that he needs to bring this in, Dredd orders the robots to halt but this is what they were working towards and they’re not going to give it up easily. In the fray, the white werewolf escapes but Dredd gives chase all the way through Central Park, and in doing so learns that there’s an entire gang of werewolves down here. Will Dredd be able to neutralize the root of the problem and take out the lycanthropic hordes or will he, like Bram, be turned into one of their own?
“Clear the way boys, you’re messing with a Mega-City Judge!”
Classic Dredd through and through, this serial is a lot of fun. The quality of the reproduction on the PDF sent for review isn’t so hot, and as such, the text is soft and fuzzy (hopefully this isn’t the case with physical versions), but the fact remains that this is a pretty great storyline. Yeah, fine, no one is all that surprised by the outcome of the story but getting to that outcome is a lot of fun. Grand and Wagner obviously have a great handle on the character (Hell, Wagner helped create him!) and they write him like the unstoppable, unflappable unmovable force for justice that he is. Rightly so. Steve Dillon’s artwork in the serial really is every bit as good as his brother’s introduction makes it out to be. There’s a wonderful amount of detail crammed into every panel, it’s amazing that he was able to turn around work this good under 2000 A.D.’s notoriously harsh schedule, but he did. Loads of atmosphere and just a great sense of movement and action here, and while Dillon would only get better as he got older, here at just twenty-one years of age the guy’s work is just absolutely killer.
This collected edition not only brings together each chapter of this storyline and even throws in some new pinups from the likes of Duncan Fegredo, Brenden McCarthy, David Lloyd, Garry Leach and Mike Spicer, PJ Holden, Gerard Zaffino, Eric Canete and Mike Spicer and last but not least Phil Hester and Mike Spicer.