"Judge Dredd: Cry of the Werewolf" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant
Illustrated by Steve Dillon
2017, 64 Pages, $5.99
Comic released on March 22nd, 2017
Judge Dredd has proven time and time again that he's one of, if not the absolute, toughest son of a bitch walking the streets of Mega-City One. In this particular story, that badassery is put to the test, as Dredd fights literal monsters in the form of a horde of werewolves that have invaded the city. Can he put these dogs down and come out alive? Yes, of course he can. He's Judge Dredd.
The story for Cry of the Werewolf is pretty straightforward. You don't need to know more the basics. Judge Dredd fights werewolves. That's it, really. What is interesting is how writers Alan Grant and John Wagner weave lycanthropy into the overall mythos of this world, explaining it with science and the history of the city. It doesn't feel forced either. It’s completely logical.
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The real star of this book is the late, great Steve Dillon. Before he drew the likes of Preacher, he illustrated Judge Dredd in the pages of 2000 AD and he did it well. Even in black-and-white, you can practically feel the grime and filth that exists on every surface of Mega-City One. My only real issue with the artwork is that I wish it was all in color. The first two pages of every chapter are colored and they look gorgeous. I understand that that was how the book was originally published, but since this is being collected and re-released through IDW Publishing as a pre-cursor to the Judge Dredd Deviations issue, it would have been a nice touch.
Dillon's werewolves are a sight to behold. They are hulking beasts of muscle, fur, and teeth. You can see where there was once a man under all of that, but that's only the basic form. These are monsters through and through, with no humanity to speak of. There is an incredible amount of detail in these shots too. There's a shot early on with a werewolf in a roaring pose. Its mouth is wide open, displaying jaws filled with razor sharp teeth. Spittle flies out of its gaping maw. The eyes are vacant slots with no pupils. This is a quintessential werewolf.
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This terror also extends to the transformation, which is somehow ever scarier. Seeing a man in the grips of savagery, struggling to hold on to the last shreds of humanity as the feral beast takes over is unsettling. The fact that he's wearing a Judge's uniform makes it even moreso. The eyes are what sell it. There's this crazed look in them, as if the Judge is realizing what is happening and is powerless to stop it and that very thought is enough to shatter his mind.
Judge Dredd: Cry of the Werewolf is worth reading for Steve Dillon's artwork alone. This is a classic tale that shows how badass Dredd is while also pitting him against classic monsters sure to delight any horror fan. Although the story is a little basic, it's a solid one that seamlessly mixes werewolves into the futuristic setting of Judge Dredd. I almost said that it was something to sink your teeth into but I held back. Wait, does that count? Damnit.