Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sov Blok Judges (1)

The Sochi Winter Games have begun – play nicely, everyone. For now and for this blog, though, it’s an opportunity for me to unveil a picture of the ‘modern’ Sov Blok Judge.

The Sov Judges have a long and interesting history in the Judge Dredd strip, appearing for the first time during (fittingly) an Olympic event – in point of fact, the Lunar Olympics. I’ll leave the detail on that for a later post, as the judge here is not one of those grim and threatening Cold War baddies, but the post-Glasnost styled ‘friendly’ Sov Judge. The former Sov Blok, like Sino Cit and the US Mega Cities also lost a principal city to nuclear detonation, so this judge is an East Meg 2 street judge, with uniform reinterpreted (a look going back to the Apocalypse War story) by the great Carlos Ezquerra; the style has been pretty well adhered to since, save for the odd variance in cloaks and knee pads. As uniforms go it’s pretty good – distinctive without straying too far from the style set down by Ezquerra for Dredd and his fellow American judges, but with enough points of difference (a duller palette, more bullet-shaped helmet) to distinguish it. Being an Ezquerra design there’s also a sense of utilitarianism about it, too, which I like.

Other than that, there’s not much to say about the modern Sov judges. They’ve appeared in several stories, both as heroes and as enemies, as brutes, comedy fodder (the late Supreme Judge Traktorfaktori couldn’t be anything else with a name like that) and as sympathetic love interests. In the Nineties they were almost single-handedly adopted by Garth Ennis for his time penning Dredd, and his touch was light - his letterers adopt a mock-Cyrillic font for their speech balloons, and on the whole Ennis turned the former baddies into likeable semi-regular guest spots, creating the aforementioned Traktorfaktori and Judge Brylkreem (ho ho) as well, before offing both in separate stories.  So as judges go they’ve been pretty well served by Dredd’s creators and later contributors. And it would be rather cool to see them on the big screen!

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