Comic Review 157 // Karyn: Concrete Sky by 2000 AD

As I continue to dig through my comic backlog, I discovered this week's issue. It sprang out as a must-read for a couple of reasons. 
  1.  It carries on the theme from a couple weeks back of PSI (See Janus Volume 2)
  2. It has Vampires! It's October, it is Halloween.
  3. I actually didn't like my introduction to Karyn, so I am hoping this will turn it around.
Karyn Concrete Sky Collection

A collection of four stories from the world of Judge Dredd. The cover shows an Angellic Vampire swarming over Karyn with screaming faces. This picture is stunning and gives me hope for the stories within so let's go!

Instant heartbreak as I open the cover and see the blocky black and white imagery from the Janus issue...

Story: Karyn: Concrete Sky
Writer: John Freeman
Artist: Adrian Salmon

Okay, let's get into the story, a solid tale for the title piece. The MegaCorp are rebuilding damaged mega-blocks and a team has gone missing, as the supervisor goes to investigate he discovers their corpses. Soon the Judges are on site, but this time it is the exorcist branch. A rarely seen team who fight the paranormal. Judge Karyn is also on hand and is met with sexism and aggression from these Exorcist Judges, but she ultimately discovers the truth that the head vampire is in fact an infected judge who went missing a while back. Turns out he has been aiding the Vampires in rebuilding Old New York. Here the story gets a bit dull, as we discover the Vampires are just basically buying time to flee the underworld. Which they succeed in doing. The artwork as I mentioned in passing is not to my taste, I find the blocky black and white too jarring and it distracts from what could have been an interesting tale. It is also hard to side with the Vampires, as they could have fled without the Judges ever finding them. I just find it all a bit hastily written towards the end.

Story: Karyn: Beautiful Evil
Writer: John Freeman
Artist: Adrian Salmon

Urgh! Another Salmon drawn piece. I can understand this art direction. Judge Karyn was meant to fill a void left by Judge Anderson leaving, but it seems like they didn't want to give her a proper chance. Freeman has written interesting enough stories, but the art is a fail for me. I can fully understand why it failed. In this short one shot, Judge Karyn is investigating a murder of African art. She soon discovers one piece in the collection contains a cursed spirit who kills along near the stolen stone. Soon she is fighting the creature before ultimately destroying the art piece. A very good one-shot story, let down by the art. If Karyn had got more of these she may have been popular, sadly that didn't happen. It also seems to be the end of the Judge Karyn arc for now as we move on to a new character.

Story: Cabal
Writer: John Freeman
Artist: Adrian Salmon

Okay seems like the whole issue to given over this duo. A new character has been created and it would seem a colourist has been hired. Straight up the colouring really helps, it makes me want to go back and try it on the Karyn stories. In this story, we once again follow the PSI Exorcist Squad as they battle demons. Whilst this is happening with have Judge Shenker discussing the Exorcist Squads' future within the department with Chief Judge McGruder. Overall a strange tale, it was definitely a set-up for a new series, but seems to have failed as the character of Cabal is never seen again lol. Not the worst story, but with a lack of follow up there are way too many unanswered questions. Colouring Salmon's work was the true highlight here.

Story: Judge Hershey: True Brit
Writer: Alan Grant
Art: Doug Braithwaite and Dave Elliot

A confusing add-on to the collection. So far it has been PSI-filled and now we get a random Hershey story. Plus side Alan Grant is taking the lead, backed up some great artists. In this story, we discover that Chief Judge Silver and the Council of Five are on the verge of signing an agreement with Brit-Cit only problem is Hershey is late for the signing. Turns out she is busy fighting an Anti-Brit terrorist group. Classic Mega-city story and the strongest piece in this collection.

Overall this collection is a hard miss for me. Can't get past Salmon's work. This is the joy of art, it either hits or misses. Let me know what you think of his art style if you have read these stories.

I hope you enjoyed the review? Feel free to comment below or seek me out on one of the many social platforms I hang out on. Here is a quick LINK (Solo bio link) to my details. Cheers to reading this.

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