Judge Anderson is haunted by visions of Judge Death as she helps put a stop to a kidnapping. Is it good?
Judge Dredd Classics: The Dark Judges #3 (IDW Publishing)
Alan Grant, John Wagner, and Brett Ewins start the story with a harrowing vision. Brett Ewins really grabs your attention with his depiction of Judge Death reaching out of the darkness to put his long yellow fingers around Anderson. It is extremely clear who the villain of the issue is going to be and that he has been a threat in the past.
However, Wagner and Grant decide to leave the main plot line and switch to a typical day in the life of Judge Anderson. She is tasked with bringing to justice a group of men who have kidnapped a baby. Wagner and Grant rely on exposition to detail what is happening to the Judges, who they are, and other events and happenings that are occurring. It can definitely help out new readers to the Judge Dredd world, but can be old hat for veteran readers of the series or even those who have read the last two issues.
The characterization of Anderson in the first story progression is intriguing. They depict her as strong and innovative. She is able to find creative ways to solve dilemmas she is facing. This continues as she puts her detective skills to work in the second progression. However, her strength fails her in the third progression as she goes off the book. She is easily deceived and the buildup of her mental prowess comes crumbling down.
As mentioned above, Wagner and Grant use a massive foreshadowing on the first page. They tell a story where you know what the outcome will be. It stirs up those cringing emotions where you feel yourself yelling at the character in Admiral Ackbar’s voice, “It’s a Trap!”
Brett Ewins introduces an interesting way of describing Anderson’s psychic power. He uses a close-up of her eyes that Charlie Kirchoff colors a very bright green. It emanates power. He even uses this powerful image to depict Anderson’s corruption, twisting the green into the form of Judge Death’s helmet. There were some images that were just strange. In the first progression Anderson’s neck is comparable to a baby giraffe’s and there is a panel zooming in on her mouth that gives the impression it is not part of her face at all. I did enjoy the style of the citizens of Mega-City One. The kidnappers have a 90s punk rock look with multicolored mohawks while the more elderly citizens are decked out as churchgoers.
Is It Good?
Judge Dredd Classics: The Dark Judges #3 is a fun and entertaining story. However, I was disappointed in Anderson’s gullibility. There weren’t any twists and the plot was very straight forward with no surprises. Ewins’ artwork had some oddities with the length of Anderson’s neck in one panel, but it also was evocative in depicting Anderson’s psychic abilities and their corruption.