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Judge Dredd #4

Written by Duane Swiercynski

Art on “We’ve Got You Now” by Nelson Daniel

Art on “Fugitive Daze” by Inahi Miranda & Eva De La Cruz

Letters by Shawn Lee

Review by Joey Braccino

Part 2 of “We’ve Got You Now” kicks off right in the middle of the tense stand-off between Dredd and Tarjay. The twists and turns that follow are, in true-Dredd fashion, filled with brutal violence, destructive explosions, and hard-boiled intrigue. Writer Duane Swiercynski succinctly catches readers up to the action of Part 1 in two terse narration boxes in the first panel, dropping readers new and old right into the suspense of the book. The story moves from revelatory flashbacks to vicious hand-to-hand brawling to murderous medical malpractice, and Swiercynski paces out the issue perfectly to afford each sequence the proper amount of time and just the right amount of terse dialogue and narration.

Nelson Daniel’s artwork on “We’ve Got You Now” is reminiscent Daniel Acüna’s pop-horror aesthetic. The heavy inks and diverse color pallet result in a distinct visual style that is perfect for the non-stop action of a Dredd comic. Daniel’s character designs for the homicidal surgeons in the comic’s climax are especially bizarre.

Swiercynski also writes a back-up for this issue entitled “Fugitve Daze” that provides insight as to how Judge Tarjay became the “villain” that he is in the main feature. The background information is welcome, but Swiercynski is careful to write without much exposition, instead relying on character beats and a clever, mind-twisting conceit at the very end to reveal all that we need to know about Tarjay in six short pages. The main highlight of this back-up, however, is the stunning naturalistic artwork of Inahi Miranda and Eva De La Cruz. The art is similar in style to Nelson Daniel’s work on the main story, resulting in a welcome regular aesthetic for the book, but Miranda swaps think ink-lines for moody shadows, while De La Cruz includes more tone to her colors instead of Daniel’s solid washes. The difference is subtle, but it makes the back-up just as worthy a read and look as the main story!

Verdict

Check it out! Even if you haven’t been reading the new Judge Dredd ongoing, Swiercynski and Company catch new readers up quickly before jumping right into the brutality, explosions, and thrills that I expect from a Dredd book. The writing—just like the action—is blunt and the artwork is stunning. Between the main story, the back-up, and a hard-boiled procedural prose piece by Douglas Wolk, Judge Dredd #4 is definitely worth a look.

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