2000 AD Prog Slog

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Prog 327

In Judge Dredd Rise of the Werewolf, Dredd enters the under city, old New York, which was concreted over and had Mega City One built over the top of it. It is from there, through a crack in the ground, that Werewolves have been entering Meg One and spreading their condition. Now, the city’s top Judge has entered old New York to stop the infestation at source.

The first thing to say about this story is that, for me, this is art robot Steve Dillon’s most memorable work on Judge Dredd. The mood is heavy with ink but he manages to maintain the dynamism that I associate with his 2000 AD work. It’s also interesting to see that Dillon, like Brett Ewins at this time on Rogue Trooper, seems to be interested in bold but simple page designs; small panels with, often, extreme close ups accompanied by a large, explosive, action splash. These close ups and big panels, however, can’t detract from how unique his werewolves look; they have box shaped jaws leaving me wondering if Dillon based his design on the dog Jock from the Fred Basset comic strips.

Rise of the Werewolf is a good example of how John Wagner and Alan Grant are scripting Judge Dredd these days. The story pacing seems extended out but every moment and line of dialogue is more considered and meant to be savoured. Their work reads like a more together ancestor to the twenty-first centaury trend in mainstream comics for story padding.

If this tale is a good example of anything, though, then it’s of the wide scope of Judge Dredd concept at its core. Although the character remains inflexible the thrill itself is strong enough to handle werewolves, visits into space, mutants, time travel, social and political satire and all the rest. There are 400 million stories in the city and Wagner and Grant seem determined to tell them all.

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