By Rob Williams, Henry Flint, Annie Parkhouse w/ Guest Artist D’Israeli
Originally serialised in 2000 AD Progs 1862-1869, 1873, 1924-1928, 1940-1947 & 1961, Judge Dredd: Titan collects Rob Williams and Henry Flint’s stellar stories Titan, Fit, Enceladus – New Life, Enceladus: Old Life and Melt that pit Judge Dredd against one-time Judge turned Crime Boss, Amiee Nixon. Taking a character from Dredd’s past and telling a new, interesting story is a skill that only a select few can pull off successfully and Rob Williams not only pulls it off successfull, he does it with a staggering degree of excellency that easily puts him in the upper echelon of 2000 AD–and all of comics.
Rob Williams takes a character with, at the time of publication, an almost forty-year history and runs him through the meat grinder the likes of which we’ve not seen done very often. Sure, Dredd has been there before, but maybe not quite like this. Already reeling from the Day of Chaos, Rob Williams brings along an old foe, or two, to kick Dredd while he’s down. Both literally and figuratively. Williams presents Dredd in a position of weakness, but not. In a position of strength, but not. Dredd is tough as nails, the toughest there is, but his life and his law are beginning to take their toll on the man. Williams subtly and deftly puts this fact on full display, regardless of how this ends or what happens to him or his city. The “real time” life of Dredd has been heavy, to say the least, and it’s always interesting to see a crack in the armor of the toughest son of a bitch in Mega City One.
With Williams dragging Dredd through the mud, the ice, the blood, and Grud knows what, in the script, Henry Flint–the mighty Henry Flint–lets his pencil and inks, and color work, mirror and amplify what Williams is already hinting at. Flint is a top-tier Dredd artist, no doubt, and he lets the inks fly with Titan. His masterful character work is on full display and he really captures the turmoil that Williams is tossing at ol’ Joe. For a man with so little expression and emotion, it’s amazing to see all the nuance that Flint can put in that stoic chin. Sometimes it’s as if Dredd’s helmet itself is reflecting the emotions of the man, like it’s truly become the face of Dredd. By design or otherwise, Flint truly elevates a character like Dredd each and every time he gets the opportunity to draw him on the page. Let’s hope that this trend of 2000 AD turning to Flint for these big, epic episodes continues because Titan was an absolute treat for the eyes.
Judge Dredd: Titan is one of those collections that has a lot going on. It’s yet another collection that seamlessly sews together the fabric of all these smaller strips into one, large helping of Dredd. If you’re looking for if, you might be able to pinpoint the starting and stop points of each episode, but with a story as engrossing as this, it’s more likely you’re just going to continue plowing through it without giving it a second thought. And that’s the beauty of these 2000 AD collections. Not only are they filled with some of the best characters, some of the best stories and of course some of the best art you’ll find anywhere on the planet, all of those things combine to really pull the reader into the story. Titan is a one-sitting kind of collection because you’re simply not going to want to put it down.