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review 2019-05-08 00:00
Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 01
Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 01 - John Wagner,Alan Grant,Steve Moore,Carlos Ezquerra,Mike McMahon,Kevin O'Neil,Ian Gibson,Brian Bolland This nice book, much of it in colour, collects Judge Dredd stories from various 2000AD Summer Specials and Annuals between 1977 and 1984. Being culled from Specials and Annuals it features no long, continuing stories, only short one-offs. There are three scriptwriters: John Wagner, Alan Grant and Steve Moore, though a few individual stories are credited to unknown. It's mostly Wagner, which is no bad thing. There are ten artists listed on the cover, the usual competent 2000AD members and one John Byrne, of X-Men fame who drew a story called 'Block Out at the Crater Bowl'. All the art is pretty good, though in a few of the early stories the Dredd one seems a bit small bodied and big headed so he looks like Billy the Cat, of Beano fame.

Given thirty-four stories to choose from the best thing to do is pick out the highlights. The opening third of the book is pretty unremarkable but not unpleasant. The first story I really enjoyed was ‘The Fear That Made Milwaukee Famous’ written by John Wagner. Dredd goes out into the Cursed Earth with a warrant for the arrest of Rhode Island Red, a chicken-headed mutant. Milwaukee was nuked by ‘friendly fire’ in the Apocalypse war that created Dredd’s future and the grumpy citizens are rumoured to haunt it every night. The idea of Americans accidentally nuking one of their own cities is not far fetched for they said in World War II: ‘When the Germans shoot, the British duck; when the British shoot, the Germans duck; when the Americans shoot, everybody ducks.’ As true today as it was then. This enjoyable tale was greatly enhanced by lively art from Mike McMahon. ‘The Sweet Taste of Justice’ next in the book, has even better art, albeit in black and white, by Colin Wilson.

There is a recurring strain of black humour in the life of Dredd. In ‘Compulsory Purchase’ the city buys the heart of Norman Williams because its needed for a top defence expert. Norman objects even though he will get an artificial heart as a replacement. In ‘Anatomy of a Crime’ Bub “Jellybelly” Jones wants to win the coveted title of Mega City Fats but can’t afford the Flabbon supplements necessary as he is unemployed, like 87% of the population. He turns to crime. ‘The Beast in 24b’ has parents thinking the fang-beest that ate their son is their son, changed by some experiment with his chemistry set. This sort of thing is good fun.

Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 01 is not as good as the later volumes of Judge Dredd: Complete Case Files because by its very nature it doesn’t feature the epic continuing stories that have moved the big-jawed one into the top rank of comic characters. Even so, it contains some good yarns, some excellent art and is probably worth the 1200 pennies you can now buy it for online.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/
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review 2018-03-17 08:00
Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary - Garth Ennis,Carlos Ezquerra

Bloody Mary is a reprint of an original series from 1997. So, I assumed that at least some people thought it had stand up to time and was worthy of a new edition.

However, not often I've been able to say that I didn't like a book more convincingly than with Bloody Mary. It really wasn't for me. Neither style, story or art could bother me. A struggle to finish.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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text 2018-01-05 21:31
Reading progress update: I've read 194 out of 194 pages.
Judge Dredd Origins - Brian Bolland,Carlos Ezquerra,John Wagner,Kev Walker

Review to come later tonight.

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review 2016-08-01 16:52
Glorious mickey-take of WWII comics
Adventures in the Rifle Brigade - Carlos Ezquerra,Garth Ennis



The dedication is to all the UK WWII comic books of the 1970s and 1980s and this takes the genre apart with humour, exposing all the prejudices and stereotypes of the era. Yorkshiremen only say “Ey Oop”, Cockney, Glaswegian, upper-class stereotypes all talk in stereotypical style as well. The Marvel WWII comics of the 60s and 70s also come under the microscope. Lots of double-entendres add to the humour. The plots are incidental


It's a lot of silly fun and well worth a look. Writing and artwork are very good if not explicit.


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review 2016-03-27 15:46
[Book Review] Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary - Garth Ennis,Carlos Ezquerra

Bloody Mary / Garth Ennis & Carlos Ezquerra

Bloody Mary was first published almost 20 years ago, with a trade edition 10 years after.  It has just been republished under the Image imprint, with Bloody Mary and Bloody Mary: Lady Liberty together in the same volume.

Now, as is generally the case with a future story who's date has since past, the story does show it's age.  The art style has a sort of... crowding I associate with comics from the 90's and earlier, as well as a limited color palate.

It's best to take the story as an alt-history, taking place in 2012, during another Great War in Europe.  Mary Malone, AKA Bloody Mary is a top specialist agent and assassin.  She's known for getting in and out of situations no one else can, and in this war not all of the players are simply human.

Out of the two stories, I far preferred that of Lady Liberty, though the backstory of Bloody Mary is definitely a major factor in establishing elements of Lady Liberty.  The battle is more than just armies pitted against each other, but powerful players moving their own pieces around the board.  Lady Liberty has the stronger plot, action, and better connection with the characters.

The cover of the volume makes me expect more gun-toting nun than was delivered.  Story-wise, I get why this is the case, but... I still ended up disappointed.  Bloody Mary is a full story arc, present, past, and conclusion.

Lady Liberty takes place in the US, dealing with a sex-addict cult leader instituting a totalitarian regime of racial and ideological supremacy.  It connects surprisingly to the original story arc, bringing our protagonist back into conflict with a free agent.

I will say, that I was probably too amused by the references to Kurt Cobain...  They were darkly fitting.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Image Comics in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.

Source: libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2016/03/book-review-bloody-mary.html
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