Comics Review: Dredd, Hood, Venom, Shiva and Joker walk into a bar

(Source: IDW Publishing)

About time, by Drokk.

Finally we get Megacity One’s finest on this side of the Atlantic via IDW Publishing and I just want to say, I like where this is going. Ok, that’s an outright lie – that’s not all I want to say.

For the old school fans of Dredd, there’s quite a few violations. The art is different, but the characters are instantly recognizable. You see Dredd’s face and you recognize it instantly. The helmets, the reflection, the badges, the guns, the bikes – it’s all there. However the purist will recognize the awkward scrawny frames with skinny arms from the original art have been left behind which I can only say, I’m glad! Holster your Lawgivers please, to try to mimic the art from another artist would be wimpy. This take makes everything identifiable and it fits. While the citizens of Megacity One have different body types, the judges do look buffed because… well, they should!

Also, it’s all in color. Yes, original Dredd is black in white – but we know Dredd in color since he has been brought to the US shores in the past. I prefer my comics in color and the jump is well made. Specially in digital, it looks amazing.

The main plot Ripe is a throwback to old Dredd stories, and although it doesn’t give Dredd’s first antagonist a face, it does introduce us to Megacity One. I didn’t care too much for the short story in which Dredd only does a cameo, but it does fit with the overall theme they were going for. My only other gripe is that they give out Dredd’s name in the first comic. Let’s keep some mysteries. It’s the first date, no need to put out yet.

(Source: DC Comics)

The Red Hood and the Outlaws are finally back on Earth. I would’ve settled for a laid back chill-out issue but instead we bring in the blue and red boy scout. The Outlaws look like a bunch of brats here, specially since they can’t really hurt Supes – and they know it. It’s a promotion of the He’l on Earth storyline but for the big S, it was a weak cameo. For the home team, awkward and childish tantrum. Sorry DC Comics but this was just pointless.

You’d do best to skip to the second storyline which brings Jason smack down onto Bats’ Death of the Family arc. This one is worth the comic just because we know what happened to the second Robin has endured the New 52’s reboot and you can’t squander the chance of the Red Hood facing Joker.

My big gripe with the story is that Jason steps off a spaceship onto Isabel’s apartment. How does the Joker find him? How does he set it all up and suddenly is gone a mile away while Jason is in the shower?  The way it goes down makes Giggles appear to have the powers of Flash here.

Also, let’s make sure Isabel is ok? Just so we don’t fall in the overused Women in Refrigerators trope.

(Source: Marvel)

Over on MarvelMinimum Carnage continues… except that I haven’t really been following on the other comics and now I’m kind of wishing I had. It’s not a mega crossover but I’m just reluctant to buy issues all over the place. Not sure you actually need all the backstory to understand what’s going on. We also did get Part 2 on the previous issue.

There’s a lot of symbiote action on this offering with Venom and Carnage going at it. It’s well drawn and rather that the usual toss, tumble and lets-do-this-again sometime, the outcome is really messy and violent. I love how obvious it is to Carnage that Flash Thompson’s Venom is hindered. Yes, this is an underpowered Venom, but I happen to think it’s a stronger, more conflicted character.

I’m not sold enough on the Scarlet Spider to consider adding it to my list, but I may ultimately fall to get just the necessary issues to complete the Minimum Carnage series.

(Source: DC Comics)

Back on DC world, Nightwing finally faces Lady Shiva. This one was a much hyped up but ultimately barely a teaser of an issue.

Yes, we do get the two of the best hand to hand DC Universe combatants facing each other, but ultimately it’s a letdown since they both walk out of it. Dick is not holding his own, still mending his bruised ribs, and it’s obvious Lady Shiva is holding back. It’s kind of the battle in which they both do a lot of flash but nothing of substance. In other words, we’re back when we started when it all ends.

There’s a little bit of foreboding when Lady Shiva talks about masks. Although it may seem at first that Shiv is hinting at Richard’s identity, it does sound to me she could be hinting more at her own. Is it really Sandra Woosan under the mask? What’s with the glow? Hopefully they’ll put a spin on this one and make it interesting. Otherwise, another fight-to-the-draw will be an absolute bore. Will this be wrapped up before Death of the Family, ran parallel or actually be related? To be honest, none of those options speak well for making this a better storyline.

(Source: DC Comics)

And speaking of Death of the Family, let’s end on a high note. Yes, this is Batman #14 from a week ago.

It’s really good. I don’t want to sound like I admire the Joker. He’s off his rocker and he kills people viciously. But he’s an interesting character to have in a story because his only motive seems to be to find the sickest form of amusement and therefore will not follow whatever petty designs all other villains of the Dark Knight’s rogue gallery have. He’s out there to drive Bruce batty, and he’s one of the few that can rattle his cage.

The challenge on this arc is that we just got over Night of the Owls which proved to be amazing, so Scott Snyder really has his hands full trying to bring a Joker that has never been brought before. I’d say so far all signs point to awesome, but then again we haven’t seen an all out just yet.

This arc involves the entire family all the way up. The arc has started with Alfred already in Joker’s hands and Gordon recovering from an attack that Bats could not prevent. The cliffhanger makes it clear that every inhabitant of the batcave past and present will be involved. You should also pick up Batgirl #14 to see Barbara facing her worst nightmare. Heck, pick up Suicide Squad #14 and see Hayley reunite with her dear Mr. J.

That will do for now.

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