Judge Dredd: Superfiend
From Adi Shankar
Written, Directed & animated by Luis Pelayo Junquera and Enol Junquera.
Two years in the making and until recently it was thought to be Live Action, then a seven part animated series, Adi Shankar’s “Bootleg Universe” Judge Dredd ‘short’ is here in the form of a six part animation released in one day.
A series suggests a gap between episodes but as it is supplied to the internet on You Tube as a Playlist you can watch it all in one.
Below the film is a link to an interview with the Junquera Brothers on IGN and after that a review of the series. My review is Spoiler Light but I encourage you to watch the film before reading the review.
There is an intro from Adi Shankar before the animation. If you watch each episode in full you get a clip of the next episode before the next episode – this is easy to avoid that by clicking the link that will pop up before the ‘next episode’ trailer.
The start of this series is based on Young Death: Boyhood of a Superfiend by John Wagner and Peter Doherty. In that series, published in twelve parts in Judge Dredd Megazine. The story shows us young Sydney’s home life with his Dentist father and follow him through the Academy culminating in him becoming Judge Death. His colleagues Fear, Fire and Mortis are in that series as are Phobia and Nausea. The full origin of the Dark Judges.
Elements of that story are in this series but as with most adaptations it his greatly truncated and not a true adaptation. Most different is in fact the original story took place in a different dimension. In this cartoon Judge Death and Judge Dredd occupy the same dimension, Judge Sydney is a Judge in Mega-City One. Remember that when Judge Death first appeared in 2000AD he came from an other dimension, and in later stories Dredd and Anderson went to his dimension, Deadworld.
Some of what is missed out from the original story actually appeared in the ‘dream sequence’ with Vienna. Ah Vienna… including Vienna and Rico may have been interesting but it wasn’t required, not to mention Rico being a coward and hiding from Joe. Plus the Angel Gang were used as throw-away punks which was a bit of a waste. That said it was fun to see a cameo of Mrs Gunderson, though seeing Fergie in that club was a little odd.
So it is a different dimension to 2000AD’s Judge Dredd and a different dimension to Judge Death’s. That’s fine, it fits with Judge Dredd in that way, we’ve seen other dimensions in 2000AD some with and some without Dredd, some where Joe died and Rico is still a Judge.
Ultimately it is the parts of the source material that isn’t adhered to that often draws criticism but as I say, 2000AD uses alternate dimensions in Judge Dredd so this is one of them. Personally this is closer to the feel of Judge Dredd in 2000AD than the 1995 film or the IDW ongoing series.
Over all I enjoyed this animation, it wasn’t Judge Dredd as it is in 2000AD but it was recognisable.
The style of animation suited the story that was told, though already I have seen a lot of criticism of this. For me this style worked I particularly liked how Phobia and Nausea were portrayed. I was a little concerned with parts f the scene with the rapist, Sydney had his gun in his right hand, then no gun, then the rapist’s throat and his gun in his left hand… slightly sloppy there.
There are errors in the credits, worst of all a miss spelling of one of the creator’s names. That is pretty bad. Also as it took quite a bit from Boyhood of a Superfiend Peter Doherty’s name should have been included.
It wasn’t perfect but as I said earlier over all I enjoyed it. I’d watch another Judge Dredd story from this team.