Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Judge Anderson: Hour of the Wolf (2003)

Authors: Alan Grant / John Wagner | Illustrators: Barry Kitson / Ian Gibson / David Roach  |  Page Count: 128

‘...always in the background, the pained static generated by the desperate, homeless dreams of 400 million unhappy people.’

There's 2 main parts to this book; there's a few short pieces too but I’ll be focussing on the 2 two multi-part stories that have been collected together, despite being written 2 years apart (1987 and 1989).

The first is the titular Hour of the Wolf, penned by John Wagner and Alan Grant.
PSI Judge Cassandra Anderson begins to experience unsettling visions of a wolf attacking the City.  Naturally she sets out to find the reasons why.
The story unfolds slowly, and while it doesn't really go anywhere satisfying it sets up events for something that’ll resurface further down the line.
I enjoyed it for one very specific reason that I can’t even hint at because it’ll be major spoiler.  All I can say is that it has ties with something that significantly shook Mega-City One in the past.

It highlights the only real problem I have with the Anderson PSI stories in general: they occasionally rely on knowledge of the larger Mega City.  If you've not followed her adventures when she teams with Judge Dredd in his own stories, you’ll be a little lost at times; this is one of those times.  Fortunately, I did know what was going on but I can sympathise with readers that don’t.

The second story, Helios, written solely by Alan Grant, is much better if all you want is a self-contained narrative.  It teams Anderson with her close friend Judge Corey, and pits her against a different kind of threat.
The two stories couldn't be more different.  Put side by side they present a contrast that helps the book just as much as it divides it.

I’d forgotten how much I love black and white comic art.  It’s much more dramatic than coloured work when done correctly.  Each of the artists has their own style but the focus is always the same, which ties it all together.

3 ricochet bullets out of 5

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