Saturday, April 21, 2007

Back to the Crusade

Where was I? Oh yes, cheap ethnic stereotyping in Judge Dredd: Crusade. A story so bad, I'm posting about it twice. With a shockingly long delay in between. Anyway, the Irish Judge turns out to be a traitor. You see, Ireland is a Catholic country, and is therefore in league with the Vatican. That's dead clever, that is. RRRRgghh.

Needless to say Dredd kills him. But before that shock twist, Dredd had to defeat two other bad guys. Vatican Inquisitor Judge and uber-tool Cesare:

OOOOoooh bullet-proof clothing. However will Dredd cope? I suppose there is some mild amusement to be found in the moustache. And, strangely, in a robotic mine-wagon, which provides several panels worth of incidental and generally endearing dialogue. Smart work from Mick Austin on the face as well. Millar's idea, Morrison's scripting? Who knows or cares.

I guess they were more interested in this than in showing Dredd punching people again. They really didn't think much of the character, did they? Millar in particular seemed to delight in only bothering to think up ways in which to make Dredd be mean to people or be extremely hard. As I may have said, sometimes this works a treat, but you've gotta give more to the man - as I believe Gordon Rennie said in an interview somewhere lately. For example, the gloves line here is actually funny, but given that the fight goes on for about two episodes with little rhyme or reason to the victor, it's never going to challenge 'gaze into the fist of Dredd' for all-time classic Dredd wit.

And what of Judge Eckhart, the God-struck Judge who is so sought after by these mostly atheist Judges? Well, Dredd finds him too. First, we have a rare good panel:

in which we see what effect meeting God might have on a man both physically and mentally. But then, Eckhart turns into the Swamp/Man thing, for no obvious reson.

Something to do with being inhabited by a God / demon? Certainly he speaks exactly like you'd expect a B-movie version of god-demons to speak. Frankly, I'd expect more from Millar, who is obviously interested in God in an intelligent way (see Canon Fodder and Chosen, for example), and Morrison, who is usually so good at being pretentious in an original way (see the Lloigor in Zenith, creators in Animal Man, most of the Invisibles and the Filth etc etc). Why can't they bring this stuff to Judge Dredd, one of Britain's greatest comic strips? Bad writers. Bad. And once again we get the patented Millar/Morrison Dredd joke. He's up against a super-beast who is really hard to kill. But Dredd is hard and has common sense, so he kills it with a knife/punch/bullet. Funny, clever, but not if over-used. And it's not as if Wagner and Grant haven't used the same trick themselves plenty of times of the years. It's practically a defining feature of the 2000 AD hero.

And with that it just remains for the whole story to be rendered even more pointless by locking away the evidence, and never exploring the God question that was the whole point of the crusade in the first place (again, fair enough, but it's a bit of a blatant Judge Child rip-off, no?)

Enough. Millar and Morrison never wrote another Dredd story, as far as I know. Go jump out of a plane, bad Dredd. As the foolish Irishman says, see you in Hell...


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