Life of the Street Judge
Crossovers have been a part of storytelling for generations. Probably not from the beginning, I mean stories had to start somewhere. But I imagine at some point someone forgot something that went into a specific story, so they ended up pulling bits from a different story and the next thing that comes along is this odd mash up that becomes the prevailing story. Or something… Maybe I am thinking too much about the idea of it?
But the thing is, cross over stories aren’t just for Scooby Doo. Does anyone else remember all those weird ones that came along in the 70s? Is that dating me? I mean right now I have a strong image of Scooby Doo and the Harlem Globetrotters in my head. They made a big deal of Meadowlark Lemon. And I am getting off track.
The direction I intended to go with this stems from a couple collections I just read. The first being Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Incubus (Darkhorse Comics 2014) and then its follow up Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs Aliens: Splice and Dice (Darkhorse Comics 2018). And as I type all that out, I realize it sure is a bunch of wordiness to try and fight our way through. To cut down all that just know that essentially, we are looking at a Judge Dredd storyline with special “guests”.
For me, Dredd has always been a favorite character. I dare say that I even enjoyed the Stallone Dredd that came out in the 90s. Sure it had moments that annoyed the hell out of me but I liked it just the same. The movie that came out years later with Karl Urban fit more of what I like from the comics but that is neither here nor there. We be talking about same alien infestation right now, yo. (remind me I shouldn’t talk like that, I sound weird)
Anyway, the first thing to know about these books, you have to make sure to read them in publication order. The second series plays off the first and it helps to know the references made. Not that they make or break the story, it’s just a nice thing to know what is going on. And now I am sitting here trying to figure out what exactly my point was when I sat down to do this…
That’s the thing though. The stories are essentially what you might expect from the individual elements. The predators hunt, the judges judge, and the aliens pretty much mate with and eat anything that gets in their way. On the surface you know exactly what you should expect from the story itself. And they don’t disappoint. I’m not saying I had conscious expectations going into the stories. It’s more of a thing we go through when we see something familiar. Our minds prepare us for what will be coming. The worst of that would be when we get something that our minds haven’t prepared us for.
It’s after you get through those initial moments and settle into the story that the little surprises make it something special. I will go out on a limb here and say it is probably a general love that we share as people. When you get exactly what you want in a good way and then a little bit more, you walk away with a bigger smile. Or maybe that’s a bit weird?
In the first series we are given a great set up. Sure, there are the twists and turns of dealing with the world of Mega City 1 but that doesn’t stop the aliens and the predators from doing their thing. Of course, the overarching plot ties it all together as something more than just another day in a street judge’s life. It’s a level of crazy all its own.
When we step into the crazy of the second series, the foundation has already been set with the first series. The grand scale of this one does a bit of a change from the first. The stakes remain the same for the judges, but the scale of the threat is so different and odd that on the surface it isn’t as huge while still being at the same level of threat.
And by this point I realize I seem to be talking in circles without really saying anything. Hell, it might be because I relied on your individual knowledge of the three separate characterizations to carry much of what might have happened. And maybe that is part of the problem. See, it can be a bit difficult to grasp the very basis of all these stories without a bit of foundation of what the Judge Dredd stories entail. So I will back track just a touch to try and tie all of this together.
The basic premise of Judge Dredd comes from the threat of nuclear war and the destruction of the known world. The rise of the Mega Cities (huge living spaces over crowded with the last vestiges of humanity) led to a need of law and order. Instead of a wild west story arc it follows the idea of the street judges and handing out justice on the spot. The stories range anywhere from simple everyday cases to monumental oddities (such as an Alien infestation). And the only thing standing between total chaos and the end of humanity is the street judge.
And this brings us back to the stories at hand. See, you can bring in all sorts of mayhem with creatures like the Xenomorph or the Predator. And their interaction in a city like the Mega City is going to cause all manner of chaos, or just another work day for the average street judge. This is why I read the stories and still get drawn into them after all these years.
So, if you made it this far, yes, the collections are worth reading. After you get past the corny thoughts of the old Scooby Doo crossovers, it all fits together naturally. The thoughts of odd aliens and interstellar creatures invading our cursed earth and the mega cities fits together better than imagined.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.