Judge Dredd: Traumatown (pkgd. w/ JD Meg #429) – Michael Carroll

3 out of 5

Collects two Dredd thrills, one from the mag and one from the meg – Traumatown and The Gyre, respectively – linked by writer Michael Carroll, the appearance of Dredd-adjacent Judge Joyce, and the painted art of Nick Percival.

These aren’t that old, and are kind of random choices for a collection, but it’s good to revisit them all the same, even if my opinion on each hasn’t changed much. Traumatown is definitely the better of the two, with a good fit for Percival’s horrorful art, as Dredd is afflicted with violence-strewn dreams that the artist can appropriately goop up. The “twist” in this tale, and Joyce’s involvement, and the buildup and payoff are all effective, even if – as usual for painted art – the visuals can’t quite keep up when the scale becomes too large or requires a lot of momentum. This effects things moreso in The Gyre, as Dredd’s / Joyce’s visit to a storm-swept floating city is just a muddle of blues and grays and dreck. Its mutant inhabitants look cool, but the brutal visuals seem mismatched to Carroll’s script, which is a somewhat more typical Dredd story – tracking down a signal that emanated from within the city, which is known to generally block electronics. The concept of the city is cool and the general pacing of the story is good, but the discordance of the “epic” visuals and the smaller scale of the tale make it a bumpier read.