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2000 AD Prog Slog

Friday, March 26, 2010

Batman Judge Dredd Die Laughing

Some say this is the second, or the third, but I say this is the fourth team-up between DC Comics’ Batman and 2000 AD’s Judge Dredd. The reason there is ambiguity is Die Laughing was years in the making, work on it supposedly having started around the time that Judgement on Gotham came out. My God, that was years ago. Two more team-ups were written, drawn and published in the meantime.

In Die Laughing, The Joker has managed to partially beam over to Mega City One and free the four Dark Judges. Now immortalised through Judge Death’s Dark Judge making process, Dark Joker and his new friends get sealed up inside a nuke proof dome with ten thousand hedonists. Thank God that Batman followed him to the Big Meg and got inside with Dredd before the shields came down.

Die Laughing, despite being bigger than earlier team-ups, is a little under whelming. The story by Alan Grant and John Wagner feels as if it was written years ago. It ticks all of the right boxes but lacks the vitality I associate with their early parings or the depth that Wagner’s more recent Judge Dredd stories have since developed. Clearly, the advantage of a team-up such as this is it’s an opportunity to sell Judge Dredd to the Americans (us British readers don’t need Batman selling to us) and that’s how this, and all the team-ups feel. It’s not helped by the fact that by this time Dredd’s perception amongst comic readers is on the descent thanks, mainly, to the movie from a few years before. Die Laughing feels like a contractual obligation, probably because it is.

I’m not so sure that the art is as great as, in theory, it should be. Glenn Fabry’s pages look too dark to me, which is surprising given the paper that it’s printed on, but then I have the smaller sized American editions and, for all I know, the UK version might look fine. It’s down to Fabry, I understand, that Die Laughing was so long in the making and, although I don’t know why, it doesn’t look like he had much fun on this gig as this doesn’t look like his best work to me. I much prefer Jim Murray’s pages. They’re bright and even garish in places but I can pretty much see what’s going on.

On the one hand, I’m relieved that Dredd’s meetings with Batman are over, but on the other, I still like the idea of him taking out Superman with a Kryptonite bullet or The Incredible Hulk trashing Mega City One. I guess I’m just a sucker for this sort of thing.

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6 Comments:

  • I never quite understood the DC crossovers (including the Alien ones.) the universes seem just too different, although I enjoyed Johnny Alpha in Mega City, even though it took some liberties.

    For me it's like playing with lego and playmobil at the same time, similar toys, but poles apart.

    Rgds

    l

    By Blogger OrLoK, at 1:41 pm  

  • There's often a bit of conflict in a team-up but usually this is because each publisher is pushing for more page time for their character. i didn't get the sense that this was the case with Batman/Dredd especially as Grant wrote both.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 4:39 pm  

  • Hello there,
    I did enjoy the batman crossover, but not do much the aliens one.

    But being Dredd, and how he's treated jaywalkers in the past, I can't Imagine him being as lenient with bat man as he was (again, this is all from memory and I do believe Anderson helped smooth the way).

    Perhaps, as per usual, I'm being too harsh and am thinking of the pure DC run of Dredd ofseven or eight issues, which no one can defend. ( in my twisted rose tinted mind). If you've never encountered them, really, don't bother.

    Although, for me, the crossover wasn't quite right, I did kinda like it, in a Conan way, rather than a Lord of the Rings Way.

    I did giggle at the "let's dress judge death" part, but I'm not sure if that's part of the slog.

    It's actually interesting to be corrected/told to re read/take it in the spirit it's ment by yourself and other folk as it makes me see it from another point of view and has made me go "yeah, that's not bad at all, In fact i quite like that".

    But, you (dear reader, by now) must realise I'm a grumpy old conservative (progwise only).

    Dante on the other hand.... There's a pint in it for you and all other lurkers an contributers if you can change me mind!

    Btw, once the slog is over, will you continue to the present day?

    Obviously there's a gap tween your bulk collection and "now" but do you think you'll eBay the rest of em?

    I'm also hoping for a tintin slog, or is that to much to ask?


    Rgds

    lok

    By Blogger OrLoK, at 3:43 am  

  • I've been thinking about this and I still intend to end The Slog with 1188. I will read some GNs etc but they will be for pleasure and not for review.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:47 pm  

  • I'd guess that Fabry was making too much money from doing covers for Hellblazer and Preacher to be too bothered about Die Laughing.

    By Blogger Derek, at 6:55 pm  

  • I didn't want to say that Serke but there is that possibility I suppose.

    By Blogger Paul Rainey, at 5:50 pm  

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