If there’s one universal truth when it comes to American summers, it’s that carnies will always be part of the conversation. Whether it’s a pulp novel like Stephen King’s Joyland or your local travelling amusement park, the bastards come and go with the summer heat. This week, Judge Dredd enters the wastes and by god, what does he find? Carnies! This series has been fun with an up and down story, but always with a healthy dose of purty pictures, but how does the latest issue read? Is it good?
Judge Dredd #9 (IDW)
If you missed our review of Judge Dredd #8 click here.
As far as this issue goes you don’t need to read a single issue that came before it to understand the story. Dredd has entered the “cursed earth” to find a hovercraft that may just save the city. Anyone expecting the usual mutant gang can hold their their horses because his search brings him to a comically violent amusement park. This issue sets up the creator of the park and what their deal is, which isn’t the most law abiding operation we soon find out.
That fly swatter ride looks fascinating!
Writer Duane Swierczynski is clearly having a ball with this series. Over the last eight issues he’s infused humor with science fiction to allow for some good laughs but also interesting commentary on society as a whole. This issue seems to lean more towards the humor side of things, but that’s just fine with me. The amusement park Dredd comes upon is clever in its killer rides, but also has a bit of a heart as far as the owner of the operation. He just wants to recreate the fun he had when he was little. If that requires killing anyone who might have resources he needs to build, so be it.
There’s the spirit.
It’s also helpful he has a group of carnies with mutant powers to go with his mind control abilities. It all boils down to some quirky elements that are just weird enough to work. Who woulda thunk instilling apathy into Judge Dredd would put him down for the count?
Artist Nelson Daniel continues to impress as well. The grit and grime of the cursed earth is clear, the carnies are unique from each other and his the design of the amusement park is inspired. I’m not sure there’s another artist who can juggle humor with science fiction as well as Daniel.
- Hilariously morbid amusement park for the win
- Interesting side story
- The main story from the last issue is put on the back burner
- Not a lot of Dredd
This is another issue of Judge Dredd where I think to myself, “there’s nothing else on the stands that can deliver this type of material.” Science fiction fans should enjoy the social commentary and anyone looking for a laugh should enjoy the black humor. That said, Dredd fans might be in for a hit this week as there’s more here about the amusement park and its creator than Dredd himself. Regardless, this new story arc seems to have legs and should be a fun ride.
Is It Good?
Yes. Dredd heads will have to wait a month to get more of their hero, but the amusement park story works.