Since I have lost faith in Marvel comics (& DC for that matter; though I don't dive into too many of their titles), I have sought out other outlet...moreSince I have lost faith in Marvel comics (& DC for that matter; though I don't dive into too many of their titles), I have sought out other outlets to satisfy my desire to read comics. I thought Image would be a company who could provide me with some alternatives--& to their credit they have--but I've grown bored with the titles they have to offer; The Walking Dead becoming stagnant with the constant whining of the characters.
Having a huge collection of 2000AD titles & trade paperbacks (many of which I've already read), I decided to go back & treat them as if I was discovering them for the first time.
I'm glad I took this approach because not only am I re-discovering my love of these 2000AD titles, but my love of comics as well (insert a big "Thank you" to the Brits right here). Over the next few years, I plan on reading nothing but "The Great Tharg's Gallery of 2000AD Misfits"--Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog, Rogue Trooper, RoboHunter, etc., etc.--& just immerse myself into their worlds; ignoring all else in comics (except for the occasional indy title or two).
Okay, with that said, I've just re-read Judge Dredd: Brothers of the Blood & I found myself giving it a new "*"-rating--knocking it down from 4-stars to 3. Why? I'll get to that.
The first strips in this collection introduce a new clone of Dredd's who is given to him for a field test evaluation--being on the chopping block & has to prove he is Judge material. Throughout his evaluation, the clone rookie learns about the fate of Dredd's clone brother, Rico, & how Dredd, in the end, had to pass the ultimate sentence on his own brother. It's a great addition to the Dredd saga & the best part of this book's collection.
The problem I had with this collection is the inclusion of a strip involving Dredd's niece, Rico's daughter, Vienna. The first strip involving her is great--bringing forth character development of Dredd himself through his conflicted feelings for Vienna's well-being. We learn Vienna wants to get to know her uncle better--& we discover she already knows a lot more about him than we think--but it's Dredd's reluctance to provide her with the emotional support she craves from him that drives the story. This is good stuff.
But when the next strip comes along, with Vienna in Brit-Cit getting involved with a Satanic cult, that's when the collection goes south for me & makes me wonder why I didn't pick this up the first time I read it? The story is just... just bad. There's no other way to describe it & nor can you argue in favor of it. They've done the same thing with Judge Death stories--involving cults around Death, worshipers, rituals, etc.--& even those were rather weak. So to have a lesser character be a Satanic Cult Leader, & all the trappings which go with the title, it just doesn't work.
The collection on the whole is a good one but I believe there are better Dredd collections & stories out there. I am interested to see where the "New" Rico clone goes with his career as a Judge--will he go bad or finally will Rico's name be redeemed within the Halls of Justice? That's where this collection really shines.(less)
I have spoken before about book series based on table-top/RPG games, movies, etc., & I have given my opinion many times about this "sub-genre" of...moreI have spoken before about book series based on table-top/RPG games, movies, etc., & I have given my opinion many times about this "sub-genre" of publishing. I am usually against it--especially when it comes to D&D or video games (Gears of War, StarCraft)--but Dan Abbnet's Warhammer 40K novels turned that opinion around. But even with that said, I have a hard time with a novel series based on a comic. On one hand it should work because comics are written with the idea of the words & images appearing in print, thus tying them more closely with the prose book. But on the other hand, you are denied the art from the illustrators of the comic's characters. In other words: You don't get to "see" it. I'm sorry but I can't bring myself to read a Spider-man NOVEL or an X-Men NOVEL because I want to SEE the action while reading it. Superheroes need to be seen doing what they do best--action! But Judge Dredd is another case altogether.
Being a sci-fi based comic strip (yep, it's a strip--not a complete comic like here in the U.S.--that appears in the anthology comic mags, 2000AD & Judge Dredd Megazine) that has virtually a universe that rivals Marvel's, DC's & Image's even on a bad day, makes the possibility of a Dredd novel more plausible. Superheroes are non-existent in Dredd's universe & if they were, they would be judged by Dredd as soon as they were apprehended.
But, once again, I digress.
The prose novel favors Dredd's comics because of the sci-fi factor being in the forefront with it's social & political satire more ready for reading than seeing. With that said: I went into this novel with an open mind & because I'm a big fan of "Old Stony Face".
I could start off with a rundown of the plot but the description provided on its goodreads page is sufficient. Yes, there is a summit meeting among Senior Judges around the world to establish a network of extradition of perps to other Meg-Cits for crimes committed within their population. But this isn't the main plot. Yes, there is a devastating new weapon that will effect millions of civilians of Mega-City One, but the Judges as well. Again, it's not the main plot. The main plot is Judge Dredd vs. Jesus Bludd. Bludd wants to blackmail the planet's Judicial Systems for astronomical sums which would allow him to hold the world's economy in his hand to do with it as he will. He is a man without scruples--as most of Dredd's perps are--& is just another perp in a long list of Dredd's enemies.
Was it good? Let's just say I've read worse Dredd stories in his comics written by better writers (Garth Ennis & Grant Morrison come to the front please). Seriously, I have. & fans of Dredd know what I'm talking about. This is not a time-waster, but it comes close. It could have used more action but this is forgivable because Bishop's prose is not bad--but it's nothing earth-shaking as well. I would love to see Dan Abnett (Warhammer 40K novels) write a Dredd book because he would set the bar for other writers & he knows how to approach the subject matter because he also writes comics. As for Bishop? Bishop gives us a great Dredd story & I believe it could possibly earn a fourth star if it was in graphic novel form.
I liked it. It was good filler between the epic 1,000 page novels I'm reading when I wanted a break from being overwhelmed by them.
Will I read more Dredd novels? I am right now. (less)