Graphic Novel Review – Judge Dredd Swimming In Blood

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Whilst this is part of the Judge Dredd collection it is all about a character called Devlin Waugh. I’m no expert on the Judge Dredd universe but this is the best character I’ve read about outside old stone face Dredd himself. If you’re not familiar you’re probably thinking who the hell is Devlin Waugh? He’s a camp exorcist priest employed by the Vatican to take out all kinds of supernatural creatures.

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This book starts with the story of Aquatraz where there’s been an outbreak of Vampirism, so in comes all round good egg and professional assassin of all things supernatural Devlin Waugh. From the very start of this story Devlin projects an upbeat personality as all those around him begin to fall to pieces.

With Aquatraz being an underwater prison housing some of the most very despicable prisoners in the world the story has a very claustrophobic atmosphere. Devlin makes his way through the the prisons corridors ending up in various encounters with vampires as he attempts to get himself and everyone else out alive, inevitably ending up in a brutal fight scene and of course being half naked.

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The art work is really special in this story, outside of America it’s the best art work I’ve seen in a Dredd story. It really adds a lot to the story which wouldn’t have been as good without this style of art.

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We’re then given a very short story as something to break up the seriousness of the first and second main stories. It features Devlin stopped at customs and strip searched (which he doesn’t mind) however once his prized Jacobean blue point chartreux cat is threatened with castration Devlin decides to leave mega city one and return home.

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The next story is a sequel to Swimming in Blood. It appears that Devlin didn’t stop all the vampires and instead of destroying the facility the authorities saw it as a chance to cash in. They made the whole place into a vampire hunting ground. Meaning people could pay to go fishing or on safari type deals to take out some vampires. This obviously goes horribly wrong (who’d have thought), leaving Devlin to pick up the pieces. This story has some brutal fights in it once again but still retains the same humour of the first story.

I loved the ending of this tale, with it having a big impact on who Devlin Waugh is and a huge impact on his future. Along with once again fantastic art work where everything seems dark but tinged in either green, blue or red depending on the location at the time. As I mentioned earlier this is some of the very best art work I’ve seen in any comic.

Bite Fight – This is the filler at the end of the graphic novel, it’s an average story that see’s Dredd bust an illegal fight club where competitors are only allowed to bite. Surprisingly he rescues Devlin who’d been forced to fight. Not a bad story but only in there to show some further interaction between Devlin and Dredd who really are polar opposites.

Overall I loved this book and I’m certain I’ll read it a few times in the future. For such a great and different character (I mean come on the guy has a gold medal from the Olympics for flower arranging) he’s not really got that many stories to his name which is the only negative I can think of for this character. A great introduction and one that I think will be hard to top, I can’t imagine enjoying any other character in the Dredd universe as much as the overly happy, always smiling, camp, Vatican assassin Devlin Waugh.

Overall Score

90 

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