Thursday, September 10, 2009

Judge Dredd: Heavy Metal Dredd

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of Judge Dredd: Heavy Metal Dredd (Rebellion, 2009)

In April, Rebellion released the collected edition of Heavy Metal Dredd, with all twenty blood-spattered episodes of this early nineties series. It's not really essential. There have only been a pair of Rebellion books in the last five years which I would advise readers skip on account of production issues. This is the first one I'd advise readers skip on account of it being completely awful.

Basically, around the time of Judgement on Gotham and Simon Bisley's brief turn in the limelight, the European metal mag Rock Power got together with Fleetway and commissioned a few Dredd episodes by Wagner, Alan Grant and Bisley. These were Dredd one-offs with the volume turned up to twelve; overcharged, simplistic, hyper-violent stories of motorcycle maniacs, testosterone-fueled beatings and over-the-top exit wounds. There's nothing subtle about them, and they're entirely subplot-free. They were designed for thirteen year-old meatheads and filled their gore-and-leather remit with abandon.

These were reprinted in England in the Judge Dredd Megazine and proved popular enough to warrant commissioning a few more episodes. Most of these were written by John Smith and painted by the likes of Colin MacNeil or John Hicklenton, who contributed this collected edition's new cover.

Rebellion does deserve some points for making this a very solid collection on its own merits. It does include all the stories in their original order, with good reproduction, full credits and an introduction by Hicklenton. However, there's very little wit or humor anywhere in these dingbat stories, and there's no reason for anybody other than completists to pick up this book. That Rebellion released this instead of a complete Stainless Steel Rat is a huge shame.

(Excerpted from Thrillpowered Thursday.)

No comments: