Friday, March 8, 2013

Judge Dredd: Inferno

 I've always loved Judge Dredd, but I have a special spot in my heart for the Judge Dredd EPICS....stuff like The Sov Block War, The Dark Judges, The Judge Child Quest....Dredd is almost always a good time, but plug yourself into one of the really massive Dredd storylines, and're in for a treat.

 I bought JUDGE DREDD: INFERNO because it was written by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, and although Morrison is getting a little too heady for me lately, his old stuff is right up my alley. (Millar seems to be a pompous prick, but he can generally tell an entertaining story...) I was expecting a collection of short trifles, like most of the Garth Ennis Dredd collections, but what I got was a sneaky epic....

 JUDGE DREDD: INFERNO collects two long-form story arcs: PURGATORY, by Mark Millar and Carlos Ezquerra is the set-up for the title story: Imprisoned former Judge Grice, whose backstory I am totally unfamiliar with, plans and executes a mass breakout on the Prison Moon Titan, a massive Penal Colony for disgraced Judges. The story is typical Millar...a lot of bluster and gore, but this was early Millar, and he doesn't seem to have acquired his gift for making his stories interesting. PURGATORY is filled with loathsome characters, as are all of Millar's stories, but there's absolutely no one to root for. Guards and Prisoners alike are equally bad. Grice escapes, taking every scumbag on Titan with him, along with a nasty Virus that could wipe out life on Earth altogether, and heads off to get revenge on Dredd....which leads directly to......

 INFERNO!!! Where Grice and company crash down in Mega-City One, and declare war on The Judges. Morrison wastes absolutely no time on characterization, plot, background....none of that matters. This is balls-out, wide-screen action at it's finest. Morrison causes massive property damage, kills untold amounts of Big Meg citizens, and has Dredd get in the greatest one-liner I've ever seen him utter. INFERNO is pure, unadulterated magic. Violence, chaos, ass-whupping, and quite a few laughs. Mean-spirited laughs, but laughs nonetheless.

 The book concludes with a couple of one-offs by Millar, which are amusing, but Morrison's story is the meat and potatoes here, and is not to be missed. Highly recommended.

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