Judge Dredd: The Complete Carlos Ezquerra, Vol. 1
Illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra
Colored by Carlos Ezquerra
Cover by Carlos Ezquerra
Edited by Justin Eisinger
Designed by Robbie Robbins
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Cover Price: $49.99
Confession of a comic book reviewer: I’ve never read a single Judge Dredd comic in my life. *Gasp!* It’s true. It’s never even been on my radar; however, having recently watched Karl Urban’s performance of the toughest Judge out there in the ultra-violent 2012 adaptation, Dredd, I have been clamoring to get my hands on some futuristic police enforcing material. Judge Dredd: The Complete Carlos Ezquerra, Vol. 1 is the perfect introduction to the world of Judge Dredd.
This massive 266-page collection pulls together a fantastic assortment of stories with illustrations by Carlos Ezquerra—the man behind the design of Judge Dredd. What better way to immerse myself into Mega-City One than by reading some of the earliest Dredd stories around, combined with the premiere character interpretations of Judge Dredd and the world he’s sworn to protect? I’ll admit that these comics aren’t the most well written works you’ll ever find. They’re campy, no-holds-barred action comics, but they can be really weird and out there, which is what made me enjoy them. Not only does Dredd issue out justice to wrong-doers and criminals, but he protects Mega-City from alien invasions, disgustingly mutated creatures and viruses, and undead villains, just to mention a few.
But I’m not here to talk solely about the writing, as Carlos Ezquerra’s illustrations should be the main focus. His drawings remain in black and white, offering a gritty feel to the totalitarian, dystopian world in which Dredd lives. Dark shadows and angry expressions on all of the Judges make you believe that they are to be feared by all people including the good along with the terribly immoral. Ezquerra has a strong understanding of how to make his drawings fit the world. When citizens are infected by strange viruses, Ezquerra makes them look hideously grotesque; if aliens are invading or plotting against Judge Dredd himself, the otherworldly beings not only look different from humans, but their postures and movements are also foreign; the rendered expressions make you feel anger, fear, pain, anxiety and distress personally. Not once did I feel as though his drawings were out of place or ill-fitting.
I absolutely loved Judge Dredd: The Complete Carlos Ezquerra, Vol. 1. I will now anxiously await the second volume, but in the meantime, I might just have to head over to the local comic shop and pick up some of the newer Dredd stories to satiate my newfound admiration for the character. I suggest—especially if you’ve never had a chance to read any Judge Dredd—that you pick up this collection as soon as you can.