Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges

51-0It9SvjL._SY346_I dimly remember a friend at primary school always used to bring in his latest copy of 2000 AD. I also remember being fascinated by the Dark Judges- Death, Fear, Fire and Mortis. These Judges existed in another plane of existence and had come to the conclusion that all crimes were committed by live people ergo life was a crime. After exterminating all living creatures on their world they break through into Dredd’s universe (specifically Megacity One) and wreak havoc on those living (and hence) guilty.

This collection contains three sets of stories:

Issues 149-151 “Judge Death”: The first appearance of Judge Death during which Judge Anderson is introduced in order to employ her psychic powers to defeat the first Dark Judge. This story arc ends with Anderson, who has been possessed by Death, encapsulated by Boing (a miracle plastic) to keep Death from threatening the citizens of Megacity One. Artwork by Brian Bolland.

Issues 224-228 “Death lives”: This story arc introduces three other Dark Judges, Fear, Mortis and Fire who assist with the escape of Death (and Anderson) from the Boing. This leads to a confrontation between Dredd and Anderson with the Dark Judges ending in Deadworld. Anderson harnesses the energies of the millions slaughtered there finally putting an end to the Dark Judges. Artwork by Brian Bolland including the classic scene shown below.

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Issues 416-427 “Four Dark Judges”: For this story arc, 2000AD published the story under the “Anderson Psi Division” heading so largely contains Anderson accidentally releasing the Dark Judges then working to banish them into the “Void”. The artwork for this arc was done by Brett Ewins, Cliff Robinson ¬†and Robin Smith and I felt that Anderson was much more defined with the style that she’s most known for. (Hair etc.)

All three stories do a great job of getting across the futility of combatting the undead and sheer scale of the slaughter possible using extremely warped logic. The work of writers Alan Grant and John Wagner has stood the time and I enjoyed these stories as much as I remember enjoying them as a kid.

Iron Man: Hands of the Mandarin

Before reading this collection I hadn’t really much of a clue about War Machine and had never heard of the Force Works.

I found the story a bit hackneyed and the characters quite two dimensional. I’ve not read a story with the Mandarin before and his anti-technology stance is quite interesting but as a character he’s a pretty dull cookie-cutter villain.

Not sure if I’ll knock myself looking for any sequels to this series…

Superman: Earth One Volume 1

Superman_Earth_OnePicked this one up at the library and was very pleasantly rewarded for trying a pure Superman yarn. This book contains a retelling of the origin story but gives much more detail about some of the finer points of why Clark Kent chose to become a report at the Daily Planet. He shows that he could have had any job he wanted and finally to have fitted in with society. It also explains why he doesn’t wear a mask…or rather the mask is the nerdy persona he has to be when he’s not Superman.

The basic story is very similar to “Man of Steel” although Zod is not the antagonist but a character called “Tyrell” who had links to Krypton. As this book came about in 2010 and MoS started it’s process in 2008/2009 with the film released in 2013.

The artwork of Shane Davis was very good too and I will be definitely be keeping my eye out for any of his work in future.

I found this story well worth the read and a fresh imagining of the Superman origin story. I might take a look at another volume if one if I find it at the library but for now I feel that this was a good story and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Batman: Arkham Unhinged Vol 1 & 2

Batman_Arkham_Unhinged_Vol_1_1Pick up Volumes 1 and 2 of “Batman: Arkham Unhinged” and thought it worth a look. These are based on the game storyline for Arkham City (which I have yet to move onto yet) and involves all of Arkham being annexed into one giant penitentiary.

The artwork in this series is pretty good and some of the stories are better than others. I especially liked the Killer Croc origins story as I was unfamiliar with his story-line.

One thing I found tired was the interplay between Catwoman, Ivy and Harley. They (predictably) ended up at each other’s throats once a bloke (Batman) got involved and the writer could have been a bit more innovative.

51Z1UnRA0UL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Throughout the series is a vendetta between Penguin and Joker which looked as though it could get quite interesting.

I may pick up any future volumes at the library but I’m not going to knock myself out with them for the moment.