Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two: City Of Courts #1
Would You Like Fries With That Judgment?
The closer we get to the future, the harder satire becomes. When Judge Dredd started in 2000 A.D. -- a title writer Douglas Wolk notes wryly is already outdated -- making fun of where the U.S. was headed, especially from the U.K., was easy and outrageous. It was just too far off and funny -- oh, and original writer John Wagner pretty much wrote off the West Coast in a nuclear war off-panel.
But in IDW's American relaunch (DC had tried several years ago), Dredd has gone back to its early days, and Wolk can now explore what became of Los Angeles -- with a hint of San Francisco and Las Vegas. Folks, it's not too far off from the truth.
In Wolk's Mega-City 2, the traffic is wild, and the computerized cars cop an attitude. (Hi, Google -- I think we'll be seeing this sometime around 2019!) And everything is fodder for reality television.
Much to Judge Joe Dredd's chagrin, that includes him, because of a loophole caused by him being on an officer exchange program from Mega-City One.
Though a plot is forming, it takes a backseat to Wolk's breakneck tour through the neighborhoods of Mega-City 2, each one named after a celebrity. But Wolk himself has to defer to his collaborator, artist Ulises Farinas, whose linework is deceptively simple.
At times the characters appear cartoonish, but each panel pushes against the borders with little details. A two-page spread of Dredd in traffic bears repeated study, partially because of a suspicion that there just might be a plot detail or two hidden in there, but mostly because it's just so stuffed with jokes. If Sergio Aragones and Geoff Darrow merged, they might become Farinas.
As might be expected, Dredd finds himself on the trail of a narcotics dealer, but the laws are different in Mega-City Two. In fact, they vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Can the most uncompromising lawman in comics stay on his feet when justice shifts beneath him at all times?
Undoubtedly. This is Judge Dredd after all. And Mega-City Two: City of Courts is a fun detour in his unyielding pursuit of The Law -- not unforgettable, but fun.
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