By Brandy Dykhuizen. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while taking time for a new review or two before it’s all over. This week: ‘Judge Dredd: Under Siege’ #1 and ‘The Last Siege’ #1.

Judge Dredd: Under Siege #1

IDW Publishing/$3.99

Written by Mark Russell.

Art by Max Dunbar.

Colors by Jose Luis Rio.

Letters by Simon Bowland.

A swarm of angry foes has taken over Patrick Swayze, a high-rise slum on the outskirts of Mega City One. However, the breakdown of their beloved law isn’t the judges’ biggest problem – the infiltration of hundreds of mutants eclipses whatever issues they may have with Swayze’s delinquent residents. Enter Judge Dredd, on wheels of epic proportion, to rescue a colleague and restore order to a slum spiraling out of control.

Dredd rolls in as hulking and robotic as you’d expect him to, but Mark Russell holds on to the subtle pathos that occasionally creeps out from behind all that armor. The humans may have ignored and broken scores of laws, but Dredd hasn’t killed them. Yet. The dangers that the mutants pose require more immediate attention than that illegal football ring. Yes indeed, football has become illegal, America. And it’s these kinds of moments that make Judge Dredd: Under Siege a highly entertaining read. There’s always room to squeeze in a little humor after the apocalypse.

Max Dunbar throws in a few jokes of his own. Be certain to pay attention to all the posters, scoreboards and signs in the background. Aside from excellent artwork that keeps the judges rocketing through their battles and creeping around scary buildings, there is much to enjoy on the walls behind the characters. Russell and Dunbar are a great pair to take on this book. It’s a character I’ve only followed off and on over the years, but I’d pick up the rest of this series for the sake of puzzling out the references alone.

7.5 out of 10

The Last Siege #1

Image Comics/$3.99

Written Landry Q. Walker.

Art by Justin Greenwood.

Colors by Eric Jones.

Letters by Patrick Brosseau.

When a book opens with crows picking at the flesh of some unknown animal in the dreary rain, you have a good idea of the direction in which the story is likely to head. The Last Siege fulfills its gory prophecy and throws in a plot twist or two for good measure.

If you’re into dark, Crusades-era atmospheres then The Last Seige will draw you in with its mood. More so than with its characters, anyway; it’s not that you don’t get detailed characterization right off the bat, it’s just that by the end of the first issue none of these people have really done much to surprise you.

If it’s epic, pre-Renaissance battles you’re looking for, The Last Siege will most certainly deliver. Hopefully it will shy away from the damsel-in-distress tropes and the child bride/princess character will turn into an ass kicker. Either way, there is bound to be more than a little bloodshed over the throne as the chest-thumpers sort out who is the rightful heir.

The dusky, dirty colors suit the tale – you definitely wouldn’t want to drink the water there. Mud, stone walls and cloaks are all similar hues, bringing the dirt and grime to sticky, itchy life. One wonders if the sun has ever shone on this castle.

Perhaps not the most engaging first issue, The Last Siege #1 still carries plenty of potential within its pages. The next issue’s cover hints at the princess taking matters into her own hands, which could be just the catalyst this story needs to set it apart from similar fare. I’ll be curious to see where this goes.

6.5 out of 10

From earlier this week — 

REVIEW: Five issues in, ‘Doomsday Clock’ aims to prove its significance on its own terms

EXCLUSIVE: Kindt & Hairsine present Aric of Dacia’s daredevil youth in ‘X-O Manowar’ #16

PREVIEW: In ‘2000 AD’ Prog 2084 we pay tribute to Death — for his word is law!

REVIEW: Bendis’ enthusiasm is at full-tilt in ‘The Man of Steel’ #1, a top-flight DC production

INTERVIEW: 10 things concerning Christopher Sebela and Black Crown’s ‘House Amok’

UNDERCOVER: Staples gives our fave friendo a day in the sun in the latest cover of ‘Saga’

Comics That Never Were — CASUAL WEDNESDAYS WITH DOOMROCKET

STAFF PICKS: With ‘The Man of Steel’ #1, Mr. Bendis goes to Burbank

ADVANCED REVIEWS: ‘We Are the Danger’ #1 a youthful creative process of passion and possibilities

PREVIEW: Brian Michael Bendis makes his move to Metropolis with ‘The Man of Steel’ #1

REQUIRED READING: ‘Opus’ a manga heavy with meta-thought as well as meta-action

INTERVIEW: 10 things concerning Fabian Lelay, Claudia Aguirre, and ‘We Are The Danger’

IMAGERY: ‘Shanghai Red’ a revenge thriller with a lucid perspective on gender and identity

What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Make it short and sweet — the best response wins a free set of DoomRocket stickers!

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