Tripwire Reviews Rebellion’s Judge Dredd: Guatemala

A Final Sense Of Dredd

Tripwire’s contributing writer Tim Hayes takes a look at Rebellion’s Judge Dredd: Guatemala, out now…

Judge Dredd: Guetamala
Writer: John Wagner
Artists: Carlos Ezquerra, Dan Cornwell, Colin McNeil
Rebellion

The day when John Wagner retires from writing Judge Dredd gets ever closer, and the rate of his contributions to the character he co-created has already slowed right down to one or two stories per year. The fact that they are habitually still among the best stories of each year just proves how good Wagner is at writing this character, how his view of Dredd’s world differs from that of other writers, and how fundamental the shift in the strip will be when his name stops appearing in the credit box permanently. The title story in the Guatemala collection is Wagner’s 2019 2000AD story drawn by Colin MacNeil in which something significant happens to a Wagner co-creation who isn’t Dredd himself, but this book also contains the writer’s final Dredd collaboration with the late Carlos Ezquerra, a Henry Flint-drawn story, and a Megazine story continuing a family tale Wagner’s been telling for thirty years. It’s a concentrated dose of late-period John Wagner Dredd, drawn by some of his regular artistic collaborators, to be appreciated while it’s still current rather than pulled from the archives for nostalgia purposes.

Guatemala starts with the death and ceremonial cremation of a long-term Dredd supporting character, and whether the comic does right by this individual in shooting them into the sun like this is debatable, not least since it’s hardly a spoiler to say that they have since got better under the control of a different writer. The transfer of a Wagner creation from his stable across to someone else’s feels like another sign of this era ending, but the better news is that it then leads to Dredd taking a team to Guatemala, where a crazy robot chef with a god complex has taken over as El Presidente with his finger on the nuclear launch codes.

Wagner still has a knack for absurdist comedy wrapped in satire, but he also understands that Mega-City One is swift and terrible. Several other current Dredd writers now show the Judges as fallible or a bit useless, constantly missing the shooter behind the door or falling into holes in the ground or not spotting the massive conspiracies under way in their own ranks, in case the reader should be under the impression that totalitarianism works; but Wagner has the Judges invade and annex the nation of Guatemala in an hour or two, and as a humanitarian liberation of the oppressed at that. Whatever else Wagner’s Judges may be, simple fascists they are not.

The other big beast in this collection, drawn by MacNeil and Dan Cornwell, is The Victims of Bennett Beeny, which continues the multi-generational tale that Wagner began in the America story back in 1990 while also displaying the writer’s ability to have six different things all happening together at one hundred miles per hour. The anti-Judge group Total War go on a murderous rampage against anyone they believe has supported the Judges, most of whom seem to be much-loved showbiz performers. Violently cancelled actors and entertainers go down in a hail of supposedly liberal gunfire, and there’s no way Wagner isn’t thinking of current cultural tendencies. Judge America Beeny, vehicle for some of Wagner’s typically thoughtful plots about family and duty, gets simultaneously confronted with her past and caught in the crossfire. Unlike that other Dredd colleague in Guatemala, it seems Wagner might not be finished with America Beeny yet – good news for her, and the rest of us.

Judge Dredd: Guatemala is out now from Rebellion

 

The post Tripwire Reviews Rebellion’s Judge Dredd: Guatemala appeared first on TRIPWIRE.

A Final Sense Of Dredd Tripwire’s contributing writer Tim Hayes takes a look at Rebellion’s Judge Dredd: Guatemala, out now… Judge Dredd: Guetamala Writer: John Wagner Artists: Carlos Ezquerra, Dan Cornwell, Colin McNeil Rebellion The day when John Wagner retires from writing Judge Dredd gets ever closer, and the rate of his contributions to the
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