Sunday, 28 July 2013

Review - Judge Dredd: Fatties

Judge Dredd: Fatties
Written by: John Wagner & Alan Grant
Art by: Carlos Ezquerra, Ron Smith, Mick McMahon, Cam Kennedy, John Higgins & Jon Haward
ISBN: 978-1-78108-133-4
Price: $19.99 (US) $22.00 (Canada)
Release Date: July 16th 2013

This Graphic Novel reprints the following stories:
  • Anatomy of a CrimeJudge Dredd Annual 1982
  • The League of Fatties2000AD Progs 273 – 274
  • Requiem for a Heavyweight2000AD Progs 331 – 334
  • The Eat of the NightJudge Dredd Annual 1985
  • The Magnificent Obsession2000AD Progs 440 – 441
  • The Bazooka Judge Dredd Megazine 4.01 – 4.03
  • Fat ChristmasJudge Dredd Megazine 227
  • Fat Fathers2000AD Prog 1694

This latest North American collection of Judge Dredd stories focuses on one of the more extreme fads to take place within Mega City One - The Fatties! Covering the first appearance of the Fatties in Judge Dredd Annual 1982, this collection reprints choice stories that focus on the obese citizens known as 'The Fatties' or the Heavyweight Eating competitions that they participate in, right up until their most recent story, "Fat Fathers", appearing in Prog 1694. Recognised as a true American past-time, it is only natural that competitive eating events are pushed to their extremes within the futuristic excesses of Mega-City One life. The Fatties, themselves, are such an iconic aspect of citizen life, especially the genius design of the Belliwheel, and the stories focusing on them often show the more satirical side of Judge Dredd, such as "Fat Fathers", which lampoons the Fathers-For-Justice campaign with a Fatties twist.


One thing I like about this collection is the sense of continuity between each tale which take place over the span of several decades. References made in the initial appearances are followed upon in the later stories, written years later. There is the sense of a growing narrative as the earlier stories focus on the fact that food shortages, due to the Apocalypse War, have meant that speed-eating competitions have been outlawed and the Fatties themselves are placed under house-arrest, unable to leave specified segregation blocks until they have lost the required weight. Later stories drop this restriction as Mega-City One's fortunes improve and the Fatties become an accepted part of MC-1 culture, even becoming celebrities in some cases.

While this collection features many of the key Fatties stories, it is not a complete collection. Most notably there is a missing story between "The Magnificent Obsession" and "The Bazooka", which is referenced in an editorial box ("Fast Food" in Prog 1054 - 1057) - it doesn't affect the narrative too much, but the fact that it is mentioned on-page makes it an unusual omission from the collection, especially after the strong continuity between the earlier stories.


My favourite story from the collection is "The Eat of the Night" in which the Fatties overcome the food shortage by eating non-food items during their competitions, such as a 24-ton Mopad! It's a funny look at  how the absurdities of the Fattie craze become even more bizarre in the face of adversity. I also quite liked the Romeo and Juliet inspired tale, "Fat Christmas", which takes the Shakespearian tragedy of star-crossed lovers and adds what the bearded bard was missing all those years ago: competitive eating!

This collection is perfect if you want a light-hearted look at Judge Dredd's world, rather than the serious drama ("Day of Chaos") or the more supernatural aspects ("The Dark Judges"). It offers up a tonally different Mega-City One to the city presented in the movie and may be unfamiliar to American audiences who have only experienced Mega City One through both cinematic releases. I would love to see more themed collections like these, perhaps focusing on the Taxidermy Olympics, Max Normal, Walter the Wobot and some of the more oddball citizens and their one-shot stories.

Judge Dredd: Fatties will be available from 16th July from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com in both the UK and North America.

Score - 8.2 out of 10

2 comments:

  1. Nice review! These stories look great in colour.

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  2. Great review! Even though I've got all these stories already, I'm tempted to buy this book so I can have them in one easy to access collection. By the way, there's already a collection of the taxidermy themed stories called, appropriately enough, 'The Taxidermist'. Available in all good comic shops!

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