Written by: Duane Swierczynski Art by: Steve Scott Colors: Nelson Daniel Published by: IDW Publishing
Following on from the excellent Black Light District story arc, we arrive at issue 25 of IDW’s Judge Dredd adventures. Series writer Duane Swierczynski has done an excellent job on the book so far, so it is with a little disappointment that we hit something of a downbeat feel to this issue. Admittedly, following the face off between Dredd and the Dark Judges last time out, anything other than a drop down in the proceedings would be difficult to manage, but it does feel that this is a transition story and not a main draw.
Judge Dredd is Public Enemy No.1 presently, and the focus of the immense surveillance array that has been orchestrated by acting Chief Judge Cal. However, we begin with a very different character: Dubbie Cruz. The unfortunate Cruz is a doppelganger for Cal. So begins a story thread that runs through the majority of the book, of a man fighting the odds to reunite himself with his beloved Lolly. The concept of mistaken identity is a theme in this issue, with Judge Fred on the receiving end of some indignant rage from a group of citizens who mistakes him for Dredd. Taking the focus away from Dredd, however, the slow tempo does not draw you in. As you would expect from Duane, the story is well told and he’s paid good attention to his characters. As the issue draws to a climax, we have the main man in a problematic predicament, with doom firmly on the horizon. The lack of involvement of Dredd in this issue is a problem, it does give him a break in terms of his recent endeavors, and it does fit with the fact that he’s evading the evil overseer of Chief Judge Cal and their all seeing eye, but as a result, the sub story, that of Dubbie detracts from the book.
Taking over from Nelson Daniel on art we have Steve Scott. The transition is seamless here, Scott manages to cover the basics perfectly, so visually, this series is competently maintained. Hopefully, the established feel and drive of this book will resume in issue 26, where Dredd and the LAW will once again stomp their way through the pages.