• Judge Dredd: The Blessed Earth #7

    Judge Dredd: The Blessed Earth #7
    Released by: IDW Publishing
    Released on: November 8th, 2017.
    Written by: Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas
    Illustrated by: Daniel Irizarri
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    “Judge Dredd awoke a thousand years in his future to find Mega-City One in ruins and its 800 million citizens gone without a trace. After a long, strange journey, Dredd managed to locate and free them all. And now, ten years later, society continues to pick up the pieces…”

    A robot family hides a human baby in their shack. They know they don’t have much time – and they don’t, because soon enough those men in red hoods – The Neon Knights - kick down the doors ranting about how the Judges are coming to ‘trash these bots.’ The robot family is shot dead and the gunmen stand there confused and surprised by the presence of ‘biosim baby.’ They look and act just like us, we’re told, but they’re not.

    Elsewhere, Quill talks to man in a red hood, he wants the files she has, files that prove Dredd has an artificial skeleton – does this make him a robot? She hands him the files on the condition that once Dredd is dead, she’ll get to meet the Grand Master.

    Not too far away, Dredd and Lolo escort a few others through what looks to have once been a robot town. They know that The Neon Knight will shoot Judges on site. They’re shot at but make it through to the train tracks to find that the Mega-Train has already left. They might be able to follow it and if they can catch up, get Dredd’s bones back. Dredd’s more concerned with following orders, however, and his orders are to bring Quill back. Given that Quill is now riding with The Neon Nights, that might be easier said than done, until she decides to quit, she doesn’t like their methods. This coincides with Dredd and company’s attack. Quill is saved by an unlikely masked hero who takes her back to the Refuge, but then… well, there’s mines everywhere. All Quill ever wanted was justice for Carla Rossa – she never thought it would be this complicated!

    This issue really makes you think about the difference between vengeance and justice, of an individual’s place in a society that can seemingly replace you at will, of the hopefully never-ending fight against fascism and about the value of life regardless of origin. Like the issues that came before it, it’s heady stuff. The script by Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas is smart, humorous and literate but at the same time, challenging and unique. These guys have been taking Dredd into uncharted territory for a while now, this issue continues that course.

    “Every free man will eventually become a tyrants if his freedom is threatened.”

    Daniel Irizarri’s artwork, colored once again by Ryan Hill, is solid stuff. Cartoonish in all the right ways but still able to really effectively portray darkness and seriousness and grittiness when the story calls for it, which in this issue is often. There’s a nice sense of flow to the action while some of the more ‘wide open’ panels really do a fine job of pulling you into the futuristic western setting.