“JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE” #2 (Comic Review)
Despite the overwhelming artistic success of Judge Dredd in the UK, there have been few attempts to work with the character stateside. DC comics had a short run with the gun-toting officer in the mid-90s, but unfortunately only lasted a whopping eighteen issues before getting shut down. That’s not to say that the Judge did not explode as a media gold mine, ranging from toys and video games to books and movies. Though as far comic books go, he never quite generated the same interest as he did abroad. But, perhaps thanks in part to the new DREDD movie, he has once again been given a chance to show off his trademark brand of justice in one of the latest IDW Publishing additions, JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE.
Though this is actually the second Dredd series currently running with IDW (the other simply titled, JUDGE DREDD), it’s one of the few to portray the lawman in his early days of policing. Of course, don’t let the title fool you, he’s no green-behind-the-ears, bumbling newcomer. He’s still as tough as he is by the book, just how we like him.
YEAR ONE follows Judge Dredd as he tries to solve one of his first cases: the sudden influx of psychic powers among juves (kids) in his section of Mega-City One. Not only are the juves in question suddenly showing abilities, but no one knows where the powers are coming from, not even the resident telepaths of the Psi division. Any attempt to read the afflicted person’s mind leads to nothing but static. As the telepaths work around the clock to solve the mystery, Judge Dredd finds himself back on the streets, fighting a group of 10 year-olds with pyrokinesis.
Issue two kicks in full-throttle as we see Judge Dredd doing what he does best, kicking ass and taking names while laying down amazing one-liners. As he finishes up, he gets a call about a sudden psychic spike in a boy’s home, leading him and his partner, Seargent Riordan, right into the thick of the outbreak and where things are never quite as they seem.
A mix of post-apocalyptic sci-fi and modern action thriller sprinkled generously a with heaping amount of gore, Judge Dredd has appealed to readers for at least two generations and with IDW’s recent contribution, just may continue for another two. The writer behind YEAR ONE, Matt Smith, joins serious ranks previously occupied by the likes of Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, and Mark Millar. His eye for detail is greatly appreciated, he’s added an interesting precursor to the mythos of the hard-headed flatfoot. Artist Simon Coleby does a beautiful job of bringing the place to life, keeping the tones subdued to reflect the decaying city while not skimping on blood and guts when the need arises. This is one series that needs to be picked up alongside reprints of some of the original Dredd stories.