Despite its peculiar and somewhat off-putting title (Otto Sump? Say what? ), this compilation was a saving grace for me in terms of the whole Judge Dredd experience: between the last book and the Stallone movie, I’d been quite unimpressed so far; I couldn’t understand the appeal or its longevity.
Now I can sort of see. It’s not to say that this pocket book is a marvel, but it was actually rather entertaining – mostly due to its satirical nature, its commentary on media, beauty and the cult of personality. What’s great is that “vs. Otto Sump” spins all sorts of conventions on their ears and can be thought-provoking in the process.
The writing is not exactly stellar, however; it has a sort of sophomoric approach that doesn’t do it any favours, ruining its commentary with a silliness that seems out of place at times (case-in-point: the Robosurgeon from “Otto Sumnp’s Ugly Clinic”, which is as ridiculous-looking as its rampage is illogical ). But I suppose it’s the core ideas that matter here.
With regards to the art, this volume is as good as the last one, perhaps even better. It’s of ’70s-’80s Mad magazine quality, which I suppose is natural given that it’s also in black and white (i.e. it couldn’t rely on colour to fill in the blanks). Having said that, while it’s relatively well done, the art isn’t entirely true-to-life; sometimes proportions or angles are little off.
For all its blemishes, though, ‘Judge Dredd vs. Otto Sump’ was amusing enough to pique my curiosity about the series. Perhaps there is more to it than I first thought. Perhaps there’s cause for cult status. Maybe it’s not just a dumb action comic for teens. Maybe. And someday I’ll give it another chance and find out.