Since I started reviewing IDW's JUDGE DREDD, I've been separating the reviews by story. Both stories, the main and back up, each month, are written by Duane Swierczynski, but they always have different artists, so I feel this is always the best way to do it.
"The Long Fail"
Dredd finds himself in a part of Mega City One that's gone crazy. Climate control is either too hot or too cold, there's radioactive leakage, and the robots are really in a "kill all humans" mindset. Can Judge Dredd and thrillies creator, Lee Preteen, make their way out of this madness alive?
Writer Duane Swierczynski is doing a great job with this story line here. He keeps the reader invested in the story by raising the stakes. Sure, Dredd has defeated the robot gone mad, but now he has to do it all over again, but this time while guarding Lee and without his Lawgiver. Swierczynski knows how to put together a great monthly story here.
I've been a big fan o artist Nelson Daniel's work on this book from the beginning. He has the perfect mixture of fun and grit, and it fits right in with some of the older Dredd stories, style-wise. He doesn't get hyper-detailed within his panels, but he paints the picture extremely well with his own unique style.
"No Problem, Man"
A robot, who has served man, his entire existence, breaks down and tries to help his original owner.
I simply loved the art on this story. The team of Andrew Currie (art) and Ronda Pattison (colors) are a wonderous delight. To give you a bit of comparison, it's a good mix of traditional style with some Mike Mignola thrown into the robot design. This team does a great job with establishing shots and really fleshing out the panels.
In addition, there's a lot of variation withing the way the panels are set up and it keeps the story interesting. This isn't just static, medium shot, straight forward pieces, panel after panel. Pretty art alone doesn't make what we're looking at "amazing." There needs to be variation within the storytelling with Currie does well here.
"The Long Fail"
I got pretty distracted with the words lit up in the background of this story. It happened last issue, but I felt a bit more focused on them here. I found it a tad cheesy that when someone is dying, the words "Dead," "Criminal," and "No Good." Popped up in the background.
Quite a bit of negative space between panels in the opening of the issue. Nelson Daniel really works best here when he's utilizing more of the page.
"No Problem, Man"
While all of the back-up stories add to the larger story and thus add more to the world of Mega City One, I felt this back-up to fall short. In past issue, I felt like the back-ups added a bit to the overall story, especially last month's with the Judge's going through a Thrillie, but this one didn't grab me.
"The Long Fail" 4/5
"No Problem, Man" 3.5/5
Overall, if you're a new reader looking to get into this book, start from the beginning because this is a terrible place to start. Hopefully, since this is issue #6, it will be in trade within the next couple months.
JUDGE DREDD has been a fantastic series so far, and I really like what Swierczynski is doing with this property. While I wasn't the biggest fan of the back-up story here, the art was fantastic, and the same goes with the opening story as well. This is a great book for old and new Dredd fans alike.
Overall, I highly recommend this issue.