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Judge Dredd: Crusade & Frankenstein Division
Grant Morrison & Mark Millar, illustrated by Carols Ezquerra & Mick Austin
2000 AD/Rebellion, 96 pages

Judge Dredd: Crusade & Frankenstein Division
Grant Morrison
Grant Morrison is the biggest name in today's comic book industry, bar none. After his break-through work for 2000 AD, Zenith, in the 80s Morrison went on to create mind-bending cult classics such as The Invisibles and Doom Patrol for DC, before reinvigorating the world's most famous superheroes -- Superman, the X-Men and Batman -- in award-winning runs. He is also a counter-cultural spokesman and expert on the impact of technology in society.

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Mark Millar
Mark Miller is a cult media superstar whose work has been turned into major Hollywood movies while his writing regularly garners mainstream media attention. He is known for his comic book writing on titles such as his award-winning run on The Authority, as well as The Ultimates, Marvel Knights, Spider-Man, Ultimate Fantastic Four and Civil War. His titles, Wanted and Kick-Ass, have both been adapted into major feature films.

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A review by Sandra Scholes

Mega-City One is a post apocalyptic nightmare vision of the future where every citizen is a potential criminal who could run riot on the mean streets with only one man who can stop him, and countless others -- Judge Dredd. Each judge including Dredd is the law and judge in one person, they have the power to end the lives of criminals if they are deemed to be dangerous enough. Though what do they do against another Judge who has turned to evil?

When an expedition spaceship from Mega-City One has been missing for fifteen years, there is a cause for concern until it crash lands in the Antarctic and has to be investigated by the judges. When Judge Dredd has to investigate the crashed ship, he finds opposition in the form of Judge Cesare, emissary of the Vatican. His heart has been turned black by the evil and corruption he does, and has become Dredd's enemy. He also wants to keep secret what he found in the ship.

In this graphic novel there are two stories, one as gripping as the other, Crusade, and Frankenstein Division. The latter has the Russians experimenting on humans to create the perfect killing machine, the ultimate warrior judge, and now it has escaped the confines of the compound; and to add insult to injury, it is already dangerous and runs on revenge for what other scientists have done to it during their ruthless experiments.

Judge Dredd has been a long running comic book character who started out in the ever successful 2000 AD magazine. Known as Joseph Dredd, he was the product of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra when they wanted to come up with a character who resembled a hard man along the lines of Clint Eastwood, who was a no-nonsense type of cop in the Dirty Harry movies. It became a horror strip called Judge Dread originally, but was changed to Dredd and made less horrific for a teen audience to enjoy. Interestingly, writer Wagner wanted Dredd to always wear his helmet that hid most of his face, as he saw the law as faceless, and it also kept the mystery as to who he was for years. As it was, readers couldn't wait for the Judge's new stories in each issue, and it wasn't long before a full length movie was made of it, but, as a lot of fans noticed, it had Dredd's face exposed, leaving little mystery as to who Dredd was, at least in the movie.

For a double bill of Dredd, this has enough one-liners and TV and movie references to keep the interest. As it is supposed to be aimed at young teenagers, the swearing is replaced with Drokker or Holy Grud as expletives, which if you are an adult it sounds funny enough.

In Crusade, Judge Cesare is the ultimate foe, mad, bad and no one wants to know him except his henchmen. He has the usual traits of being brash and overconfident as well as being a downright megalomaniac, but he will find he is no match for Dredd. I thought the story looked dark, doom-laden and as post-apocalyptic as it could get, had some excellent humour in it, and great artwork from the masters that is the reason why kids and adults alike want to read it so much.

Copyright © 2012 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes has had her work published in many magazines, on websites and blogs, and never tires of her writing; Active Anime, Love Romance Passion, The Zone and Fantasy Book Review are just some of the magazines, both online and otherwise she writes for.

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