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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Judge Dredd: America
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

on 27 April 2013
This is reprinted from the Megazines, so I hadn't read it before. Excellent story and artwork as usual, and one that fans shouldn't miss. Not sure if you can get this in a Kindle edition, but for my money the printed version is always going to be superior as there's so much going on throughout the book.
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on 10 October 2012
I was absolutely blown away by this comic! It is without doubt - a masterpiece. It is a stunning piece of work which can easily sit alongside such comic books greats as Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns. But the subject matter is more resonant than the mentioned two, it is something more vital, and is like a chilling prophecy on where the our world is heading towards, especially in this climate of Terrorism and citizens rights being slowly eroded.

The story centres around two friends, America Jara and Bennett Beeny. Childhood freinds growing up in Mega City 1. Beeny is bullied as a child by other other kids, but find's a kindred spirit in America Jara. Beeny fall's in love with America but feels she is out of his league. His fears are soon realised when she falls for someone else. However, Beeny can never get America out of his mind. He send's letters to her but they soon grow to lead totally different lives. Beeny becomes a successful comedian and singer, whilst America Jara joins a Terrorist organisation 'Total War' which is intent on taking out the fascist Judges. But even as they drift apart, Beeny still yearns for his childhood friend and love. A chance meeting years later has terrifying consequuences for Beeny, and it will ultimately lead to tragedy for both.

America is a love story foremost, and a critical look into the oppresive way of life for the citizen in Dredd's world. Dredd is not the protagonist of the piece, but rather an antagonist. We see him at certain times like in the begining showing his views on where he stands: '' The people, they know where I stand. They need rules to live by - I provide them. They break the rule, I break them, Thats the way it works'' these words follow to the iconic artwork of Dredd standing on the American flag. The statue of Liberty stand in the foreground, but that itself is overshadowed by the collusus statue of Judgment. A ''symbol' of liberty, sacrificed for the harsh laws of the Judges.

It is ironic because America Jara's father names her America for the fact that as an immigrant, he is proud to be accepted in the land of the free. But that is a false notion as he himself discovers. Freedom is long dead, and oppression reigns supreme. And no where is it more clearer than the opening panels.

Wagner has written a very grown up story, an affecting, tragic and critical look into this world, and the life of two of its citizens. This story is a far cry from the earlier Judge Dredd comics. There is a very little humour in this story. But what makes America such a brilliant read is thanks to the beautiful painted artwork by Colin MacNeil. It has an almost dreamy quality to it. It is an artistic achievement of such resounding beauty, once I started reading it I could not take my eyes of the panels. There are images in the comic which have now seared themselves into my mind, images such as the one i've mentioned of Dredd standing before the statues of Liberty and Judgement, his foot on the Amercian flag. And images of a child (Beeny) standing with his ice cream on the floor as the figure of Judge Dredd on his bike looms near him. It is a chilling look into a system gone awry, where citizens have very little say on politics and how their city is run. It reminded me of other great fictional works such as Alan Moore's V For Vendetta, and George Orwell's 1984, of a totalitarian state or police state which posseses all the power over what people can do or say.

This book has the two sequels to America. The first is called 'The Fading of the light'. Again Wagner and MacNeil are on writing and artistic duties respectively. It is not as powerful a story as the original, but nonetheless very enjoyable. We get to see Bennett Beeny with his daughter 'America Beeny'. He is very ill and hasn't got long to live. The media see him as a loony. But as we see in the story that is far from the case. We have a troubled man, still trying to come to terms with his guilt. We are introduced to a devious character called Victor Portnoy, who blackmails Beeny into carrying out a bomb attack on an award ceremony.

I found it a really intrigueing read. The artwork is not as stunning as the original story, but I still loved it. There's a really harrowing rape scene towards the end which made me nauseous. And the fact that a Judge is near the incident and fails to intervene makes you the reader as furious as the victim. Its a really moving story which I thought was a good sequel to the orginal.

The third story in the book called 'Cadet' shows Bennett Beeny and America Jara's daughter 'America Beeny' as a young adult working as a trainee Judge. The decision for Beeny to become a Judge was made by her father in the previous story as he felt that she would be most safest in the the Judges Academy of Law. Its not surprising it's the poorest of the three stories seeing as the orginal story and even its sequel was a hard act to follow, but even then it is much better than the dozen's of comic i've read over the years. And this was really the first time during my read that I laughed out loud! I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet but if you do read it or have done, you'll agree that idiot had it coming!

One character I haven't yet mentioned, but who is ever present in the background in all three stories, offering his assistance and unflinching loyalty was the character of Robert the (robot) butler of Bennett Beeny. He is such a likeable guy, like C3-P0 but with brains! I really loved the character and how he alway's stood by Beeny, and helped his daughter in her investigation too. I wish I had a robot butler like him!

All in all it was a really enjoyable read. I can now see why America is regarded as the greatest Judge Dredd graphic novel by many. It's a really beautiful, moving, tragic story made doubly brilliant by MacNeil's stunning artwork. Seriously, Judge Dredd: America has to be one of the greatest comic book story ever written, and one I hugely recommend to all comic book fans.

''you can't ignore whats going on. You can't bury your head in the sand and forget what the Judges are doing to us. You've got to keep fighting. You've got to keep looking for America''.
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on 31 December 2012
Judge Dredd at his finest, artwork so atmospheric that you start to feel mega city 1 all around you combined with a story so thrilling that even the most deprived citizen will reach full thrill-power before the end. A must for a Dress fans with an interesting view into the world of mega city 1`s legal system at its most extremes.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 13 July 2011
Dredd has always been a somewhat complex creation - a comic-book action hero, yet also a member of an oppressive police state, where the freedom of speech does not exist. America is one of the more blatantly political stories, which also has a touching human dimension.

Bennett Beeny & America are childhood friends. One will tow the line & grow up to have a successful career. The other will become a terrorist, fighting for democracy. Both will have their hearts broken in this tragic story, as Dredd brings his jackboot crashing down on their dreams.

Wagner's writing is perfectly accompanied by the moody art of Colin MacNeil, where the city itself always looms oppressively over its occupants like a 2-D expressionist film. Perhaps that's why he was often given the more political stories to actualise, such as the first chapter of Total War.

This volume also includes two sequels, both written many years after the original. They are not up to the standard of the first story - which would be a very tall order - but then one is merely a vehicle for introducing a new character, who became a welcome addition to Dredd's world. Plus I enjoyed them more upon re-reading than I did initially, when my expectations were higher. But the first story is still so strong that I can't bring myself to give this volume less than 5 stars.

A classic, mature, politically-aware Dredd story.
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VINE VOICEon 5 August 2014
America is one of the pivotal series in the history of Dredd, perhaps the point which makes red finally question his belief in the absolutism of the law.

It collects several stories following the life of the titular character America, one of the hundreds of millions born to poverty and hopelessness in Dredd's world but one who finds her voice and dares to believe the law can be challenged.

The art is fantastic, the writing is some of the best in the many years Dredd has been running, before or since and it's one book I'd recommend to all comic fans who want to know what Dredd is about. Brilliant.
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on 27 April 2009
AMERICA is the name of the titular anti-hero in this Graphic Novel, and its basically her/his story (you'll see why when you read it). Dredd is almost a commentator to the story as a whole, but despite that, I found myself enjoying it a lot. Dredd Graphic Novels are the weekly comic stories 'stitched' together for your convenience. This one covers quite a space of time (as Dredd is told in real time), but obviously you don't realize that when you read this compendium. I cant get away from the fact that Dredd is not the main character, but rest assured the novel holds up anyway. The art is first rate and the story builds to a satisfying conclusion. Well bound as they all are, a worthy addition to your Graphic Novel collection. 4 stars because Dredd should really feature more, but they didn't write the weekly strip with a Graphic Novel in mind I'm sure. IF you only want to buy one Dredd Graphic Novel, don't buy this one as it wont give you the clearest look at Dredd, but if you have a long history with Dredd, you should.Enjoy :)
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on 4 June 2009
This volume collects the original 'America' storyline plus two sequels ('Fading of the light' and 'Cadet'). 'America' is still as good as I remember. Intelligent, politically astute and beautifully rendered by Colin MacNeil, whose work on 'Chopper: Song of the Surfer' I so admired. The story is self-contained, but provides a nice entry point to the larger 'Democracy' storyline, which also ties in with the epic 'Necropolis'. This story gives more of an insight into Dredd's world than any before or after, as evidenced perhaps by the much weaker sequels. 'Fading of the light' analyses the personal and social fallout from Benny Beeny's actions in 'America'. It is an interesting investigation of betrayal and transgender issues, but its unfortunately spoilt by some really poor artwork. Colin MacNeil's inks are okay-ish, but the horrendous digital colouring, with its garish, unnatural pallette really jars with the rather dark material of the script. The artwork on 'Cadet' is much improved, although still not anywhere near the standard I expected of MacNeil. What lets this third storyline down is the script. Unfortunately, it is a rather tedious police procedural, which has America Beeny (daughter of America and Benny Beeny) now a Justice Dept Cadet, working alongside Dredd to solve a frankly concocted "mystery" behind the events in the previous storylines. It doesn't ring true, feels like the facts are being re-hashed for the sake of reviving the characters and is distinctly unsatisfying as a whodunnit. A dismal way to end a series that started so brilliantly.
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on 10 March 2017
My memories of this story were better than the reality. I think the ideas in the story are better than the story itself. Part 1 is ok, Part 2 is poor, Part 3 is a 2.5.
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on 26 January 2013
Probably the most important Dredd story written. The genius of the tale lies in the fact that Dredd is used as part of the fabric of Mega City One so the focus is on life in the future city. America was written during the golden age of Dredd where it began to reflect upon itself and its history. Though a sombre tale it retains the series satirical sense of humour.
Added to this, Colin Macneils artwork is some of the best to serve the galaxy's greatest comic. The other two tales are nowhere near as strong but still worth a read. Enjoy.
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on 24 February 2013
If not the most enjoyable romp through Mega City 1 history, then certainly one of the more essential narratives. Not only in the history of Total War, but also in the formation of a multi dimensional image of the Judges. Definitely worth a read, but not one of my favourites.
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