Having sung the praises of the first volume in The Dark Judges: The Fall of Deadworld series, the second doesn’t push hard enough to keep the momentum going. I suspect the problem lies entirely in the periodical format that this collection of four stories was published in. They have an overarching theme but their disjointed nature doesn’t provide enough space for the characters to grow and the story to move along properly. However, to his credit, Kek-W still manages to slot some brilliant surprises in.
Dave Kendall’s art is as strong as ever, seamlessly coupling dark, medieval horror with the futuristic sci-fi of this alternative Judge Dredd universe. It’s on-point and truly horrible in places, which is just as it should be.
Despite its problems, this is arguably the best Judge Death-related series to come out of 2000AD in decades. It’s just that without the sheer novelty of Death’s origins, which captivated me in the first book, this second feels lighter.
With more space for really deep-diving into the characters, you can’t help but feel that this could be a true highlight of 2000AD‘s current output. Let’s hope the powers-that-be at Rebellion can offer future additions to the series more space to breathe.