The law is there to save the innocent, to protect the citizens from the darker desires of their fellows. But what happens when an experiment gone wrong opens a gate to a dead world, but the dead know no rest? Dredd: Final Judgement, the final comic sequel to the 2012 film Dredd, is out October 3, 2018, from Rebellion.
Writer: Arthur Wyatt, Alex De Campi
Art: Henry Flint
Publisher: Rebellion Developments Ltd.
Release Date: October 3, 2018
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Dredd: After the 2012 film Dredd failed to spawn a sequel, Dredd publisher Rebellion took matter into their own hands. Now, after nearly six years of comic book cases, Dredd faces what is most probably his greatest, and possibly last case.
THE LAW MAY BE BROKEN, BUT WHAT ABOUT DREDD?
While in pursuit of the arsonist known by the rather on target sobriquet of Matches, Dredd is confronted with a whole other tragedy. As the arsonist burns, a group of young school girls plunge to their deaths in his presence. Dredd uncovers their deaths are no accident, but rather a suicide pact. His determination to find the cause of the mass self-destruction must take a back seat to his duty, as he is called out to another case. There has been an incident at a Justice Department research facility. Seven teks have disappeared. When three of them are discovered dead, it becomes a search for the remaining members of the team. It is determined that those teks were working on a project top harness an extradimensional energy source, but not all the team members were present during the deaths and disappearances.
Meanwhile, at the scene of the suicide of the eight young girls, one of them shrugs off the black body bag to which her remains had been consigned and stands undead, capable of great carnage. Moments later, everyone, including the Judge replacing Dredd, is dead.
Dredd locates the absent member of the scientific team and is greeted by a woman touched by death. She tells Dredd they had discovered a portal to a dimension of death and entropy, and they never thought beyond their own desires to complete their energy project. Now the crime rate is climbing, and the situation on the street is getting worse. Did something travel from one dimension to another? And if so, what does that mean for the whole of everything?
THE START OF THE FINAL DREDD TALE
The 2012 movie Dredd was acclaimed by its supporters as a great, action-packed film that captured the essence of Dredd. Unfortunately, the general movie going public and studios failed to see their point of view, and the movie was considered an underachiever in the box office. It gained a strong cult following through and Rebellion took matters into their own hands and began to release a series of sequel comics set in that Dredd movie universe. Now writers Arthur Wyatt (Judge Dredd Megazine, 2000 AD) and Alex de Campi (Valentine, No Mercy) prepare to close the door on the Dredd movie sequels. But they aren’t just writing any tale, they are writing the confrontation of Judge Dredd versus his dark opposite, Judge Death.
The story moves along well, but like many episodic tales, it depends on you knowing something of the world in which you have invested your reading time. The world of Dredd is different from the 2000 AD world of Judge Dredd. With the 2000 AD stories, you have a slight science fiction slant, high tech gadgets and mutated citizens inhabit a world which is bright and exaggerated. In the Dredd movie based world, that science fiction element is gone, replaced by a dystopian world that only barely rises above the level of dirt sci-fi. It darker, grittier, and much less forgiving. The set up for the story is an old one, scientist meddle in powers they don’t understand and mayhem ensues. The interesting thing is the payoff. The reader is left wondering when Judge Death appears, what form will he take? From the hints we have been given here, I wouldn’t bet on him being as much a caricature as he will be death personified.
The artwork of Henry Flint (2000 AD, Grimjack) has graced the pages of British comics for years. Here he teams up with colorist Chris Blythe (Lantern City, Sinister Dexter) to achieve a look and feel that perfectly fits the world which inspired this tale. Muted colors abound, dark, scratchy lines cover the page, giving it a feeling of desperation that so deep it almost makes you depressed. It is beautiful art which evokes a feeling.
BOTTOM LINE: A SET UP FOR A LONG SOUGHT AFTER CONFRONTATION
The future is dark for Dredd. This issue is being advertised as the final of the movie based comic sequels and there is a sense of foreboding which enforces that. We, the reader, know what is coming, just not what form it will take or how the final confrontation will end. While the issue, and the story so far, are not perfect, it is enough to make you get chills. Fans will love it though, as we prepare to send of this Dredd in a style that is all its own.
DREDD: FINAL JUDGEMENT #1 is the first of a two-part tale that will bring Judge Dredd face to face with his dark counterpart, Judge Death. Just what form exactly Judge Death will take is a point which will be picked up next issue. You’ll have to wait till it is released October 3, 2018 to finally find out.