In the aftermath of a fantastic (though sadly unsuccessful) movie, Judge Dredd appears again courtesy of a new ongoing series by IDW. Will this series capture all the grim and gritty action of the original series? Will it be honest to the source material like the new movie? Will it be a stinker like the Stallone vehicle or the 90’s DC Dredd series? So many questions! Drokk it, let’s go to the review!

JUDGE DREDD #1
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artists: Nelson Daniel and Paul Gulacy
Colors: Leonard O’Grady
Editor: Chris Ryall
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in JUDGE DREDD This being the start of the series, you shouldn’t have to know much about the futuristic lawman. Judge Dredd is basically “Sci-fi Noir” set in a world gone crazy where supercops must rely on violence to keep the peace. It’s a title similar to a good episode of The Twilight Zone, as it depicts a world familiar to us and yet also quite strange and unusual.

MEGA-CITY ONE EXPLAINED

In terms of plot, story, and characterization, this book has some definite successes and failures. Creating a Mega-City One is something the book does right. Mega-Cities are overcrowded, full of potential criminals and disease as well as future technology. The book does a nice job of introducing us to the citizens of MC-1 and showing us how easily an average joe is tempted into a criminal act. We are also shown what constitutes valuable items in MC-1, and brother, it ain’t gold or jewels…The story arc teased in this book is that robots are gaining sentience and refusing to do work for the humans. The robots’ dialogue is nicely done, darkly funny or weird as the situation requires. I am hopeful that this is a homage rather than a direct copy of 2000 A.D.’s classic “robot wars” storyline.

Dredd himself is disappointing. He isn’t discussed much nor does he do much this issue. He’s part of a group of judges who respond to a fruit tree gone crazy (yep, really) and the most notable thing Dredd does is get annoyed and blow up the tree. The rest of the judges seem to be just as tough and capable of Dredd. Our title character does nothing to mark him as a hero or even an individual, which is a tragedy.

BRIGHT ART FOR A DARK TITLE

The art in Judge Dredd is just fine, but I’m not yet wholly convinced it serves the title. I miss the shades and shadows of the 2000 A.D. series. This iteration of the judge is better than DC’s attempt as they don’t shy away from blood or exploding heads or dismembered body parts. The people themselves are rendered in enough detail that they don’t look cartoony, but the bright color choices are not quite suited to this book. It’s decent.

BOTTOM LINE: SENTENCE SUSPENDED

IDW’s debut issue of Judge Dredd left me a little flat. The book succeeds in a few areas. For example, Mega-City One is given some time in the spotlight, and the strange robots are a nice callback to the 2000 A.D. series. But Dredd himself is hardly seen in this book, and when he is, he’s not the bad mammajamma lawman that he needs to be. The most exciting thing he does is blow up a fruit tree, and that’s a little underwhelming for a series that is trying to boast the legacy and gravitas of Judge Dredd. If you’re brand new to Dredd, start with the Complete Case File collections. If you’re already a fan, it’s worth a look, but don’t get your hopes up to high.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!

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The Author

Thomas J. Angelo

Thomas J. Angelo

Thomas J. Angelo has lived life to the fullest since birth and is living proof that people can see their dreams become reality. He has hunted ghosts, been a prison guard, graduated from professional wrestling school, written a novel for young adults, and taught middle school Social Studies. Writing for Major Spoilers is yet another fantastic adventure.

A comic book fan for life, Thomas is a huge fan of Marvel comics and has also jumped into DC’s New 52. In addition to comics, he has an encyclopedic knowledge of WWE trivia and Disney’s animated films. Someday he hopes to write his own comic series.

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5 Comments

  1. November 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm — Reply

    I picked it up and enjoyed it, but albeit I didn’t set my sights very high. I liked it enough to give it a few more issues to see where it’s going. I have to say, maybe I always just pictured Mega-City One in my mind as being perfectly depicted by the city in Transmetropolitan. This iteration seemed a bit clean.

    • GeorgeWook
      November 24, 2012 at 2:25 am — Reply

      I agree the city seemed a lot cleaner and nicer than the 2000AD depictions – However this story does mostly take place in what is described as one of the wealthiest parts of the city – so i don’t think what you saw in this issue is meant to reflect the city as whole.

  2. Oldcomicfan
    November 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm — Reply

    I read Judge Dredd back in the day from when it debuted in the U.S. up until the Judge Death story arc. At that point I decided I didn’t like Judge Dredd, and really never had. The character is about as three dimensional as a postage stamp, and once you got past the (then) unique setting, all the comic book was one ridiculous set up after another involving lots of killing. You’re better off watching any Terminator movie – they did it better – or watching Blade Runner if you was to see a dystopian mega-city done right. Nothing I’ve seen with the modern Judge Dredd movies or comics had led me to believe that it’s anything better than retreads of themes done better elsewhere.

    • GeorgeWook
      November 24, 2012 at 3:01 am — Reply

      Those original Dredd comics pre-date both blade runner and Terminator by a good 5 years – so I think it’s a bit unfair to call it a ‘retread’.

      I do see your point though – a lot of the older stand alone stories were pretty dumb – many Stories stories are really a satire of current british politics & culture. Although Mega-City 1 is set in the US, it became an exaggeration of UK society at at the time – For the early stories in the 70’s & 80’s, we were suffering a recession, with mass unemployment, and what was considered a very harsh conservative government & police force who were unsympathetic to the ‘common people’ (a lot like the Judges!)

      I’d guess if you’re not British, or too young to remember the 80’s – most of that humour & commentary will be lost on you, and it would just seem weird!

      However, you might be surprised if you read some of the more recent story arcs, one of the impressive things about Dredd is that it has genuinely evolved with the times, but has never taken the easy way out of a ‘re-boot’ – i.e. Every story over the last 35 years is in cannon and took place in realtime – So Dredd in the current stories is now pushing 60 years old, an has personality has gradually changed into a more cynical veteran. Likewise the city itself has changed significantly, both due to in-story events, and to reflect changing attitudes and cultures in the real world.

      If you didn’t guess from that little rant, I’m a big fan!

  3. Dan Hunter
    November 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm — Reply

    Re-reading earlier 2000AD stories , I believe them to be ahead of the time, look at the depictions of Fatties annd review the planet’s obesity problem, the current crackdown of public smoking, the obsession of looks and celebrity and then read Otto Sump and the uglies. Hell in New Zealand they ‘invented’ Zorbing which is Boing balls!!!
    I liked the various covers, where your local comic shop could get their own cover, the cover art by Nick Runge is excellent (so good I picked up a print of it from him at SDCC).
    I enjoyed the fact that we were presented with two stories, and I am looking forward to the next issue.

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