When originally published, the teaming of Batman and Judge Dredd made few waves in the USA, but was big news in the UK, signifying the captain of the old guard butting up against the vanguard of the new. In 1992 few US readers knew of Judge Dredd and his then 14 year history of magnificence, and fewer still knew of Simon Bisley, although writers Alan Grant and John Wagner had begun working on Batman. The American edition was a standard prestige format comic, while in the UK Bisley’s startling art was issued as an album-sized graphic novel.

Having Grant and Wagner as writers was the natural creative choice, considering their vast catalogue with both characters, but one wonders about behind the scenes negotiations. What matters is common sense winning out, as the understanding means both characters are true to themselves, and not shoehorned into a pally act to sell a story. First Judge Death turns up in Gotham, and after a brief encounter Batman is transported to Mega-City One, butting heads with Mean Machine before Dredd arrives on the scene.

There are roles for Judge Anderson and the Scarecrow, and that none of the creators take the worlds seriously is a factor in Judgement on Gotham remaining very readable, although perhaps less so for those who prefer their characters confined to narrow parameters. Judge Death is almost camp, he delivers a memorable personalised version of Sympathy for the Devil, and his greatest fear still delivers a good laugh, especially as drawn by Bisley.

Judgement on Gotham screams excess, and excess is what Bisley delivers in spades, drawing a wild, ragged Batman with exaggerated ears and ridiculous muscles, a gloriously batty Mean Machine, and a surprisingly traditional Dredd. Bisley’s Batmobile is curvy, overstated and sinister, as if a wild Hot Wheels makeover. He even manages a pastiche of one Dredd’s most iconic visual moments as he’s punched in the face by Batman.

Get in the spirit of Batman being the straight man in Dredd’s world of madness and Judgement on Gotham still delivers a timeless punch. It was followed by three more team-ups, all combined in the Batman/Judge Dredd Collection. Just three team-ups are collected in The Batman/Judge Dredd Files, while this is also paired with the follow up as Batman/Dredd.