Written by Sam Humphries
(Present) Pencils and Colors by Jamal Campbell
(Flashback) Pencils by Phil Jimenez
(Flashback) Inks and Colors by Matt Santorelli and Alex Sinclair
Last issue ended with Nightwing tied up and knocked out at Judge’s casino with many more questions asked than answered. This issue picks up shortly after that with Judge and Nightwing in the waters of Bludhaven as Judge taunts Nightwing while he is still tied up and treading water.
It only took until part 5 of the arc but the origin of Judge is finally revealed in this issue. This issue flashes back to Dick’s time at college where no matter how hard he tries, old habits die hard when people cry for help. He ends up playing the hero detective when he comes into contact with Judge while he is head of a drug ring. The gist of this flashback story is that Dick always tries to live a normal life but ultimately when he sees bad things happen, he is going to step in and help.
By the conclusion of the flashbacks we see the events that led to Dick knocking Judge over the ship from issue #37 and it is revealed to us just how just long Judge has been around in Bludhaven. Hint: Long. Like Snyder Joker long. He has been reinventing himself for a couple of hundred years.
Humphries’ story this issue is enticing enough because we finally get details about Judge’s past that are not limited to Dick’s memories. I was hoping his origin story would be worth the wait and Humphries’ did not let me down. In my previous review I thought that this was the final issue in the arc but there is still 2 more issues to go after this one, taking the arc to 7 issues by the time it will be done. So many long arcs are now geared to the trade paperback which DC likes to set to 7 per volume which means some stories can feel a little truncated just like this one. So it may not have been Humphries’ intention but more of an editorial instruction.
The art team of Jimenez, Santorelli, Sinclair and Campbell have done yet another great job. I am in love with their style. Jamal Campbell’s neons colours especially, have me swooning each issue, it’s even more impressive when you see in the credits that it’s his pencils too. I think when an artist has the opportunity to do the sketches and the color then you can really get a comic to come to life because nothing has to communicated, it is completely your artistic vision, or at the very least, your interpretation of the writer’s vision.
This arc is long but we are basically rounding third base right now and I have my fingers crossed for a decent dash to home plate. If it doesn’t pan out we’ve always got Jamal Campbell’s magnificent art to look back on and wax lyrical about.