Sunday, March 16, 2014

Batman/Judge Dredd

Crossover comics are nothing new but in the 90's, an idea came up to to one with DC's Batman and 2000 AD cover boy Judge Dredd.  Both law-obsessed vigilantes (though Dredd is actually a licensed cop in a hellish dimension), the similarities between the two made it a quite enticing proposition.  This union generated four decent yet somewhat uneven comics which have been collected in our subject today...

This nice volume contains the four stories plus a bonus pairing Dredd with DC villain/anti-hero Lobo.

Judgement on Gotham

The first is the best as Batman is transported to Dredd's dimension after his nemesis Scarecrow teams with the horrific Judge Death (an evil being who is a member of a group called The Dark Judges who view all life as a sin punishable by death).   The two heroes don't get along at all and refreshingly enough, it stays this way with Dredd even trying to arrest Batman at the end of the story, much to the chagrin of fellow Judge Anderson.  It's a nice action oriented piece with interesting art work.  It's fill on Dark Age of Comics material so if that's your bag, this is a solid bit of gruesome fun.

Vendetta in Gotham

The sequel is a bit on the hit or miss side with Dredd traveling to Gotham, ostensibly to beat up Batman but in actuality he's there to save the Dark Knight from a bomb that will off thanks to The Ventriloquist and his dummy Scarface.  The stuff with the two heroes fighting is pretty great but once it gets to the plot with the bomb, it sort of flags a little as they really don't make that awesome of a team.  Going up against one of the second tier villains (though being second tier in Batman's rogues gallery is nothing to be ashamed of) also takes a little of the impact out.  The artwork is also a bit too washed out for my tastes.  Still, there is good stuff to be found. 

The Ultimate Riddle
The title makes the choice of villain obvious but to be honest, this one fells a little plain to me.  Batman and Dredd end up in a sort of Most Dangerous Game scenario with Batman being hunted by a bunchy of alien killers while Dredd tries to help out as much as he can.  It all turns out to be a trick by The Riddler and while the action and art is good as usual, the climax is a bit soggy.

Die Laughing

The last story covers more or less the same ground as the first with Joker teaming with Judge Death (as well as the other Dark Judges) to kill a bunch of people in Dredd's dimension (in his home town of Mega City 1 in fact) who are planning to lock themselves in a sphere so they can live their hedonistic lifestyles in private.  It's a solid enough idea but the story gets too bogged down in twists and while it's fun to see Joker as usual, the Dark Judges sort of end up being the same without a lot to define themselves and to be frank, you're never going to top Joker no matter what you do.  That being said, it;s a gory ride through hell that is fun, provided you don
t think about it too much.

The four stories sort of have a nice thru line in them as Dredd and Batman gradually go from hating each other to developing a mutual respect... Grudging, yes, but it's still respect.  All in all it's a solid collection and you also get a bonus story, as I said, with Lobo and Dredd that's... Uh, well, it's a late 90's comic book.  Take that for what it's worth.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.