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

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Batman / Judge Dredd: Judgement on Gotham (1991)

Authors: John Wagner / Alan Grant | Artist: Simon Bisley | Page Count: 61

I can't stop! I'm goin' into an uncontrollable butt frenzy!"

As a young Faustus, picking this off a shelf in '91 was the most excited I've ever been for a ridiculous comic crossover event. Joe Dredd and Batman! Comic boner. The personality clash could be like two worlds colliding. While it's not quite that good, it's still pretty awesome and revisiting it again despite being 20+ years older gave me a similar kind of joy.

Batman has faced some very twisted minds in his own world, but he's never encountered anything like Judge Death before, so when the Superfiend D-Jumps from Mega-City One to Gotham it's going to take more than just a guy in a winged mammal suit to save the city from being Judddggged.

You'll need to be a fan of both characters to get the most from it. Wagner and Grant had more experience writing for Joe, and it shows. They don't do Batman an injustice, they capture his personality well and don't compromise his integrity in any way, but when weighed out it's mostly Dredd's story.

Each of the worlds has their own social problems. Dredd policies his with a stern take-no-bullshit attitude, and Batman does his best to keep the darkness from overtaking his in the usual pained, vigilante way. There's no buddy cop team up here. The two men don't even like each other, but that's usually what happens when two over-inflated egos are forced to occupy the same space.

There's a lot of humour throughout. Simon Bisley's fully-painted, blood-splattered style is able to be both aggressive and hilarious. He was the perfect choice to illustrate and highlight the severity of the story.

The easiest way to get a hold of this one is in the recent Batman / Judge Dredd Collection (2013), but it's been reduced in size, making it closer to a typical American comic.  To soften the blow, the collection also includes all 3 sequels, Vendetta In Gotham (1993), The Ultimate Riddle (1995), Die Laughing (1998) and the hard to find Lobo / Judge Dredd: Psycho Bikers Vs. Mutants From Hell! (1995).

4 swansongs out of 5

*Click the pic above for a wallpaper of the wraparound Biz cover.*

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