2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, January 23, 2009

Judge Dredd The Megazine 1.11

Despite the name of this blog and the occasions when the obligation weighs heavy on me, I think of The Slog as a love letter to 2000 AD. Sometimes, I think of it as a love letter to the most underrated writer in comics of the last thirty years, John Wagner. I feel as if I’ve been writing a lot about him recently.

Judge Death The Boyhood of a Superfiend reaches episode eleven this issue. In it, journalist Brian Skuter has found the monster responsible for Necropolis hiding out in an apartment in the city using the non de plume of Sidney De’ath and has managed to secure exclusive interview rights with him. The story follows Judge Hershey’s investigation into Skuter’s murder cut with extracts from his interview with the evil Judge Death.

Peter Docherty does a great job painting the strip but, as in 2000 AD, the reproduction does seem to be murky in places making it difficult to interpret on occasions. The real fault in the strip however lies in Wagner’s decision to tell this story in the first place. Before, Death was a scary villain whose unknown past added to his menace. Seeing him as a boy murdering his dog and his family followed by him, as an adult, drinking tea with Skuter renders the character almost impotent. Of course, a not so good Wagner tale is better than most other writers’ best work but I’ve spent the entire story waiting for the terrifying moment when a black comedy about a sadistic boy switches cleverly into a horror about the undead slaughterer of millions and it doesn’t really happen.

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  • I enjoyed Young Death quite a bit at the time - it's very funny in a sick Wagnerian way (Judge Death stories were often unexpectedly humourous, come to think of it), and plays the 'banality of evil' angle pretty well. Must revisit, actually.

    By Blogger Joe, at 7:27 pm  

  • Joe, I enjoyed re-reading this again too. It's just that I feel that undoing the mystique of the character is damaging.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:42 pm  

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