Judge Dredd: Trifecta – a Frank and to the Point Preview (light spoilers)

Judge Dredd: Trifecta – published by Rebeliion

Al Ewing, Simon Spurrier, Rob Williams

HenryFlint, Simon Coleby, D’Istraeli, Carl Critchlow

Chris Blythe

Annie Parkhouse, Simon Bowland. Ellie De Ville
Originally printed in Progs 1803 to 1812

Released simultaneously as a hardback edition for the UK and Ireland with a unique lenticular cover by Henry Flint and worldwide digital release through the 2000 AD webshop, Amazon, Kindle Fire and Nook. 15th August 2013.

Well the cat is out of the bag regarding the big reveal and won’t spoil this book, but if you hate ANY spoilers and haven’t read this story already you might want to skip to the bit I discuss the individual parts, less spoilers down there.

This story started in 2000AD Prog 1803 in the Judge Dredd strip Bullet to King Four. An issue later The Simping Detective, starring the Wally Squad under far too much cover Judge Point, joined the line-up in the Prog and an issue later so did Low Life, starring the sometimes not covered up enough Wally Squad operative Dirty Frank.

I must admit to a bit of ire, don’t get me wrong I like these characters but I like my Prog varied, 3 out of four strips Dreddworld… a bit Dredd-full (I’ve used that joke before, not apologising). But…

It is a big but so I’m continuing it in a new paragraph. After all writing can do that, it can play with the rules of writing itself, like I just did. And they did because without anyone suspecting in Prog 1807 reading Judge Dredd it ends with Dredd kicking a door in. Simping Detective starts with Dredd coming through a kicked in door and some data is transferred somewhere. Low Life, data is received on Luna 1.

No one saw he intertwined threads. Outstanding.

The stories diverge again until Prog 1812 where we get a full issue of crossover drawn by Carl Critchlow skilfully rendering each main character so very closely to the main artist from each title. Again outstanding, though not so much a surprise this time.

Yes cross overs have happened before – DC and Marvel do them a lot… and they get messy – but this, to go unguessed on any Blog or Review site. Outstanding.

All-in-all it shows the great writing skills of Messrs Ewing, Spurrier and Williams. It also shows the steely nerve of Matt Smith. Probably Michael Molcher will take credit for the radio silence… but however the did it – Genius!

So, on to a few words about the pages ahead of you. There are less spoilers below…

Judge Dredd: Bullet to King Four
Script: Al Ewing
Art: Henry Flint
Colours: Chris Blythe
Letters: Annie Parkhouse
Originally published in 2000 AD Prog 1803

Dredd has a meeting with a clone of War Marshall Kazan. It’s the immediate aftermath of Chaos Day and he wants to know why Kazan hadn’t warned them. After all he is supposedly on their side.

But there is more going on. Bachmann, a Black Ops Judge Dredd particularly doesn’t approve of is appointed to the Council of Five.

Set up, obviously, we know something is going to come out of this, we just don’t know what.

The Simping Detective: Jokers to The Right
Script: Simon Spurrier
Art: Simon Coleby
Colours: sparingly…
Letters: Simon Bowland
Originally published in 2000 AD Prog 1804-1811

Point is a mess, he’s a Wally Squad Judge. Deep undercover, so deep he’s hardly a Judge at all. He is almost completely what he looks, a Simp. But thee is more to this character than that, he is driven and haunted, a broken man who somehow continues to work his way through things.

Added to the above his main squeeze, Ex-Judge Galen DeMarco and his alien pet Larf… quite a hand of cards he is holding.

Simon Spurrier writes this insane drunk very well indeed, the character is extremely intense and troubled. The plots are as twisted as Point himself.

Simon Coleby’s art and the layouts, mostly black and white but random hints of color, usually one per page, Galen’s red hair, the gold of a badge. Simon Bowland’s lettering with the blocks of naration on black. It’s a great look.

Probably the only story by three Simons?

Low Life: Saudade
Script: Rob Williams
Art: D’Israeli
Colours: none…
Letters: Ellie De Ville
Originally published in 2000 AD Prog 1805-1811

Dirty Frank and his inner monologue’s, his third person references to himself, his dirty y-fronts… Again a Wally Squad Judge that’s gone far too deep into his cover. But oddly a reliable one, he comes up trumps more than he lets them out.

Rob Williams script is as zany as Mr Spurrier’s but less dark, Frank is good for a laugh. Supporting characters of Sensitive Klegg, great stuff!, and a man with a shark’s head… head of a shark? Almost all played for laughs but Frank is at his core a Judge, he knows the score.

D’Israeli’s art is full of motion and lends itself perfectly to the slap-stick humour.

Judge Dredd: The Cold Deck
Script: Al Ewing
Art: Henry Flint
Colours: Chris Blythe
Letters: Annie Parkhouse
Originally published in 2000 AD Prog 1806-1811

Dredd vs Bachmann. Its twist and turn and bluff and counter bluff. But we think Dredd’s playing it straight. There is supporting cast from all over, including Maitland, Accounts Div.

Henry Flint’s lines and Chris Blythe’s really are quite excellent together. Intense emotions and tense combat situations, all rendered brilliantly.

Script: Al Ewing, Simon Spurrier & Rob Williams
Art: Carl Critchlow
Colours: Carl Critchlow
Letters: Simon Bowland
Originally published in 2000 AD Prog 1812

1812 overture.

Three writers’ plots coming together seamlessly, all are given credit, no idea who typed it up. A whole Prog of one story to wrap up this convoluted tale. We’ve got a crowded support cast and more action than you can shake a Simp’s tickling stick at – but it all comes together.

For me it is Carl Critchlow’s art that is the best part of this episode. He not only cleverly keeps the other artists’ designs of their respective characters so accurately but blends their styles too. We have a full colour strip but the colours look like Coleby’s not Blythe’s. beautiful.

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