Story by: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art by Mike McMahon and Ron Smith
Colors by Charlie Kirchoff
Last Year’s Dredd In 3d (to give it its full title) has, despite being considered a colossal commercial failure, been hailed as being one of the greatest comics to films adaptations of all time. And while it is undoubtedly a fantastic piece of work, missing from its ultra-violent depiction of the near future dystopia was the humor that infused the early days of the series. Clearly I wasn’t the only one who was hankering for a fix of those early strips as IDW have seen fit to provide us with a series of reprints of classic thrill power, rejuvenated by a new color job.
The starting point of these reprints, Block Mania, is typical of Dredd stories of that period: Mega City citizens get caught up in some hair brained fad and the Justice department has to clean up the mess. Also typical is the fact that this story is really just a staging ground for the next big Mega Epic: The Apocalypse War
The world of 1980’s period 2000ad was certainly well known for its left field sensibility and Judge Dredd in particular was notable for being nuttier than squirrel crap. The offbeat sense of humor was very much of its time and place, so how does it hold up decades after the fact? Very well as it happens. Whilst some of the references are a bit dated (I barely know who Esther Rantzen is any more, and I was there for flips sake) the humor retains a timeless quality. Thanks to Wagner and Grants rock solid scripting the anarchic spirit of the early eighties is captured perfectly here just as it is in programs like The Young Ones all at once being both classic and yet still feel as crisp and fresh as the day it was released 30 years ago.
The artwork here is the most problematic aspect of the re-issue; Mike McMahon’s art was crafted specifically with high contrast black and white printing in mind. With this recolor the chances were always high that his tight and precise well defined monochrome style might lose some of its impact. And while to a certain extent something is different it doesn’t necessarily lessen the impact, merely changes it. The same is true of the later portions drawn by Ron Smith. Nice cover by Ron smith too, channeling the spirit of Brian Boland
The years have been kind to “Old Stony Face”. Block Mania is as good as it ever was. If you haven’t read it you’re in for a real treat, and even if you haven’t, the new coloration serves as “ sauce for the goose” so to speak. We like this.
4 out of 5 Nerds