Judge Dredd Treasury Edition from IDW – Spoiler Light

Judge Dredd Treasury Edition
Published by IDW
19th March 2014

72 Pages
Comic Bound
$9.99

Cover Art: Cliff Robinson
Cover Color: Chris Blythe
Back Cover Art: Nelson Daniel

This volume collects some rather good classics from the 70s and 80s.

There isn’t anything from Ezquerra but other classic Dredd artists are on show, Gibson, McMahon, Robinson and Smith. As well as the unique style of O’Neill.

The scripts all come from John Wagner, with or without Alan Grant, mostly under pseudonyms. T.B. Grover was usually used when the scriptwriters worked the plot together but John Wagner typed it up. Though the rules on which pseudonym was used weren’t always adhered to.

Interestingly instead of colourising the original black and white pages the colour has been removed from the centre-spreads. Some readers might forget that there were colour pages in some of these stories.

This comic is in UK format, so the stories haven’t been re-sized. No lettering has been moved, sometimes when re-sizing that does happen. So in this we see the brilliant skills of Tom Frame who lettered each story. Granted the artists left him room most of the time but budding Letterers ought to look at how Tom Frame did it.

I’ve reviewed this from a digital advance copy so the print version may be different. In this version a few pages are slightly deformed at the top or bottom left corner. It doesn’t detract from the enjoyment but I noticed it. That is however my only negative comment on this edition. (Edit 19th March ’14 – bought this today everything looks really great it is huge due to old 2000AD format being so wide)

A brief discussion of the stories follows, spoilers are light.

The Law According to Judge Dredd
Script: John Wagner & Alan Grant (credited as T.B. Grover)
Art: Kevin O’Neill
Lettering: Tom Frame
Originally in 2000AD Prog 474-475 June 1986

Out in the Cursed Earth. in the town of Radburg, is the court of Judge Dredd… which is news to Judge Dredd.

Even without a credit card you can see this is Kevin O’Neill on art duty. The buildings, the vehicles, the characters. Giving O’Neill something odd to include like the mutants of Radburg you guarantee getting some odd characters indeed. There is a hint of Termight in some of these fellows.

Dredd has met some odd balls but a mutant with a prosthetic chin who thinks he is Dredd… that’s nutty.

Judge Minty
Script: John Wagner (credited as John Howard)
Art: Mike McMahon
Lettering: Tom Frame
Originally in 2000AD Prog 147 January 1980

This story gets top billing on the back cover when it comes to name checking who is in the stories, Santa comes last. It is a great story with the first mention of the Long Walk but that isn’t why it gets the mention on the back cover. This tale was retold, and expanded upon, in the fan film Judge Minty.

Judge Minty has been on the street for a long time, he’s getting old and he’s seen enough.

Monkey Business at Charles Darwin Block
Script: John Wagner & Alan Grant (credited as T.B. Grover)
Art: Mike McMahon
Lettering: Tom Frame
Originally in 2000AD Prog 184-185 November 1980

Mad Scientists are always good for a story. Professor E. Northcote Fribbs has been studying the origin of the species and developed an enzyme that helps sort out where humans come from.

McMahon makes the hominids and apes in this story look like characters and avoids making them look like chimps, gorillas or some other existing great ape. There is an energy to this story that really pulls the reader along.

Zombie Barbecue
Script: John Wagner & Alan Grant (credited as T.B. Grover)
Art: Cliff Robinson
Lettering: Tom Frame
Originally in 2000AD Prog 470 May 1986

Mad Scientists did I say? Well this is more mad science. Zombies are genetically created lifeforms that AGG Bio infect with diseases and test for cures. Thomas Zedd is a disgruntled employee..?

Mega-City One drives the humanity out of many of its Citizens. It can be worse for those that retain their care and compassion.

Battle of the Black Atlantic
Script: John Wagner (credited as John Howard)
Art: Ron Smith
Lettering: Tom Frame
Originally in 2000AD Prog 128-129 September 1979

I’d forgotten this tale till I re-read it in this volume. 37 years of Dredd in 2000AD plus all the Megazines… a lot of stories to remember. So rereading this was great, it was fresh and familiar at the same time.

Mega-City One Criminal Code, Section 59(D) – better known as a Crime Blitz. Is Citizen Sweet too clean?

East-Meg One using an Anti-Polution Ship just outside the Forty-Mile limit of Mega-City One’s border. Doesn’t stop Dredd bringing justice.

This story includes one of the rare occasions where Dredd is referred to as an American, or in this case a ‘Yank-side Judge’. Mega-City One ceased referring to itself as being part of America after fighting President Booth.

Vienna

Script: John Wagner (credited as John Howard)
Art: Ian Gibson
Lettering: Tom Frame
Originally in 2000AD Prog 116 June 1979

Vienna, a sweet little girl growing up in the care of her Foster Mother Mrs Pasternak. The thing is Vienna’s surname is Dredd, she is Rico’s daughter. Don’t worry too much about the fact she is too young to be Rico’s daughter as he has been off on Titan for 20 years and killed by Joe on his return to the city. That gets cleared up in the future, this is the past. I didn’t care about the anomaly back in 1979 – I was just really impressed that Dredd had a niece.

Held by Harry Carmen, a perp Dredd had sent to the cubes, as a pawn to get to the city’s to Judge. This is a tale that shows Dredd’s humanity.

Vienna is a great character and when she was re-introduced years later she led the way for characters like Dolman.

And Ian Gibson’s art is perfect for this story. Note the earlier Dredd uniform having a left shoulder pad more similar to the 2012 movie than the comic of today.

Uncle Umps Umpty Candy
Script: John Wagner (credited as John Howard)
Art: Mike McMahon
Lettering: Tom Frame
Originally in 2000AD Prog 145 December 1979

Uncle Umps Umpty Candy… candy that was just too good. The sweets made by Uncle U,p are simply the best taste ever discovered by humans. So good it causes riots. People become so fixated on the taste… only one course of action for Dredd.

Freedom comes at a price, and that price is Justice.

A simple little story and yet it struck a chord and I think it has been very fondly remembered by fans. Ump himself is a kindly and honest character.His punishment harsh to the extreme but explained away perfectly with the rationale of the setting.

It’s a cracker of a tale. Or should I have saved that superlative for the next story?

A Real X-mas Story
Script: John Wagner & Alan Grant
Art: Cliff Robinson
Lettering: Tom Frame
Originally in 2000AD Prog 502 December 1986

The newest of the selection and if I mentioned that right shoulder pad earlier being more like the 2012 movie than the comic today I guess I ought to redress the balance and mention that in this tale it is pretty much as up to date as it gets.

Narrators come in many forms, one popular form is the naive narrator who knows less than the reader (see my review of Kingdom). Then there are untrustworthy narrators, in stories where we can’t always be certain we are getting the full story. This story, well maybe a subversive-manipulating narrator. So much so the story changes as it progresses, getting worse for the guest character, Bill Hudnut and his fiance Juliet Bouvier.

A witty little tale with a sickly sweet outcome. The best part to this story is a major spoiler so I won’t mention it.

Judge Death Pin-up

There is also a Judge Death ‘pin up’ by Brian Bolland, coloured by Charlie Kirchoff. To me this is slightly out of place, given the decolourised pages. It is in the list of contents so here it is in the list.

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