5 out of 5
Plenty of folks have tried out the ol’ “here is a judge who is not Judge Dredd shtick,” and – excluding Anderson from this, since she’s absolutely grown into her own – I’m sure we all have our favorites, but they mostly don’t or wouldn’t sustain whole arcs on their own. I wasn’t around for reality-TV-star Judge Dan Francisco’s chief judge stint, but reading Arthur Wyatt’s take on the character – he’s stepped down post Chaos Day, out on patrol once more, camera in tow – I was blown away by how a typical rise-and-fall storyline allowed for what would seem to be a very complex character. Does he carry the arc, then? Heck yes.
For all intents and purposes, this is a redemption arc. A Chaos Day survivor, a homeless youth, pledges vengeance against Dan, and a local gang takes advantage of his anger to suit their own gang-ly needs. We watch, episodically, as Dan’s confusion over how to handle this – by the needs of the media, recording once again for his show; by the book; by trusting his gut – brings him closer and closer to Dredd black-and-white morality.
Some superbly cinematic work from Paul Marshall (who just grows on me more and more with each thing I see) and – fresh on my mind because I was just talking lettering with someone – ace lettering from Annie Parkhouse, never pulling us out of the building emotional turmoil.
Also included in this floppy is a precursor Francisco tale from Al Ewing, and a Future Shocks (also arted by Marshall) by Michael Carroll that, perhaps unironically, absolutely matches and exceeds all the must-dos in the accompanying Megs study of how to write Future Shocks.