The covers: Three wildly different covers for you to devote your psychic energies to finding. The Regular cover is by Mike Haley showing Anderson unconscious on the ground because she’s allowed her soul to leave via astral projection. Everything would be fine and good if it weren’t for those two mutated scorpions about to go Clash of the Titans on her. Great composition and the colors look especially sharp on astral Anderson and the chitin on the scorpions. The Subscription cover has got a busty Anderson trying not to be overcome by last issue’s giant gators. She looks royally cheesed as she’s about to smack the overgrown gecko. This illustration is by Mimi Yoon, and it’s hard not to think of Pamela Anderson as Judge Anderson in this image. My favorite cover is Ilya Kuvshinov’s Retailer Incentive cover. Anderson is speeding somewhere through Mega-City One with her arm rigid as she’s about to fire off her lawgiver. I love her face and the fantastic lighting effects. This is beautiful! Overall grades: Regular A, Subscription B+, and RI A+
The story: Anderson is knee deep in a swamp about to be swallowed by a monstrous gator. She tries to use her Psi abilities to repel the beast, but they’re not working. Fortunately she escapes through a surprising source, and she’s then back on dry land with Judge Degroot. The two judges decide to pool their abilities and essentially astral project to find the perps they’re looking for. Faster than you can say “Stephen Strange,” they’re flying through the swamps. They soon reach a deadly destination where a witness provides some important information and a name. Back in Mega-City One, Anderson calls on a friend for some info on an open case that may tie in with hers. The second installment of Matt Smith’s “The King of Six Sectors” had me hooked immediately. Anderson’s voice and actions are perfect, and the banter she shares with an individual on Pages 11 – 16 were gold. I was happy how Anderson appeared on Pages 17 – 19, which I think is a first for her fashion. The final page emphasizes the threat to the city’s population and how Anderson had been hurry or more people will die. Smith has crafted a highly entertaining read. Overall grade: A
The art: Why have I not encountered Carl Critchlow before? This book has some really awesome illustrations! The first page is a great introduction to the story without using panels on the two predominant images. In the first panel readers can see how big the beast is that’s going after our heroine, and in the second readers are looking at our lead from the gator’s point of view. By avoiding the panels, Critchlow makes the scenes seem bigger and more open. This looks like high art. The character introduced on Page 6 is exactly the heartbreaker the individual is intended to be. The flashback on 8 is an excellent splash page montage of violent images that will motivate our judge forward for justice. Then there’s the individual on 11 – 16; this person is flawlessly rendered. And Critchlow colors this book as well! Page 1 is a beautiful introduction to the palette of the swamp, the silhouettes and backgrounds of the settings are gorgeously green, the astral projections are perfectly shaded representations of life, 8 is a horror in red, and 11 – 16 are wonderfully splashed with the twilight in the city. Mr. Critchlow, you have gained a major fan. Overall grade: A+
The letters: Dialogue and narration are the same font, but astral articulations are sweet song-like swirls from letterer Shawn Lee on this issue. Were it not for his textual insertions, readers would have some excellent imagery but be lost to Anderson’s awesome quest. Overall grade: A
The final line: Psychic abilities, monsters, judges, mutants, perps, and a mystery. This is what adventures should always be for the judges of earth. Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.