Judge Dredd, Volumes 3 and Volume 4 by Duane Swierczynski and Nelson Daniel
Volume 3 finds Dredd in the wastelands, trying to track down criminals to save Mega-City one from “The Big Fail.” Think of it as “Dredd visits The Hills Have Eyes.” It’s a delightful, if goofy, adventure for everyone’s favorite Clint Eastwood doppelganger. Dredd’s celebratory return to Mega City 1 is hampered somewhat, by the return of a villain from a previous storyline, and the murder of oodles and oodles of judges. The tale continues to be enjoyable for its basic elements mixed up in new combinations. The short story one shots included in Volume 4 were particularly good.
Two Step by Warren Ellis and Amanda Conner
When a mercenary gangster and a bored “camera girl” accidentally bump into one another on the streets of a futuristic London, all chaos breaks loose for a romping ride through the city. While the comic teems with funny ideas (as with the part of Chinatown where dudes in suits are shooting at one another all the time amid flocks of doves), the characters and the story never really come together for me. I also found the depiction of Rosi Blades, the girl who makes her living streaming her life and adventures 24hours a day, too exploitative without compensating for it with an interesting character.
Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight Vol 1 by Alex De Campi et al
“Bee Vixens from Mars” and “Prison Ship Antares” are both great schlocky titles, and the stories that accompany them are delightfully bloody and awful, in the way grindhouse movies were (and that Tarantino and Rodriguez captured so well in their double-feature). Alas, De Campi and the artists working the stories spent a lot of time on naked ladies as well, which detracted, for me, from the stories they were trying to tell. I suppose this is to be expected in a comic drawing on exploitation films, but I think the stories would have been more enjoyable if that aspect of the genre had been kept in check a bit more.