Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Cursed Earth Saga review

This is another reprinting of the classic Judge Dredd series, this time it is in a smaller, pocket book size volume more akin to Manga books than the traditional 2000AD size.
Does it work? I shall get to that presently, but first, for those of you who don’t know, I’ll give a quick review of the story.
Mega City 2 has been hit by a terrible plague, and the inhabitants are turning into crazed cannibal creatures. It is up to Judge Dredd and a crack team of Judges to deliver the vaccine before time runs out!
To do this, they have to negotiate the ravaged radioactive hellhole that is the Cursed Earth – basically everything between the East and West coasts of the United States.
(The reason for not flying is given, but frankly, it is not a good one!)
This tale, mostly written by Pat Mills with a few episodes by John Wagner, contains a lot of iconic ideas and images. Everything from the classic toy tie-in Killdozer (I had one!) to Spikes Harvey Rotten. Mills even introduces us to hints of what the caused the US to become what it is in Dredd’s day – ideas that Wagner would return to years later what he wrote Origins.

But the greatest thing in this epic adventure has to be Satanus the dinosaur.
Now, stop me if you’ve heard this one: scientists figure out how to clone dinosaurs from DNA found in fossils, incubate them in eggs and when they hatch, they open an amusement park in which things go horribly wrong and the dinosaurs escape and start eating folks. Pat Mills wrote this in 1978. That’s all I’m saying…
So yes, the story is a cracking one and is held up as a classic for very good reasons.
But to come back to the question of it working at this size.

For the most part, yes it does. The reproduction of the art is crisp and clean, which is just as well as it contains some of the best art that Brian Bolland and Mike McMahon ever produced for the comic.
I found myself having to strain slightly a couple of times at the small writing, but on the whole it easy to read.
All in all, it’s a nice little volume, and I think I’m going to pass it on to my children, as I suspect this may serve as a great gateway drug into the Dreddiverse.

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