Review: Judge Dredd #1

Judge Dredd has gone to many, many places over the last 40 years. And he was taken to a whole new serialized direction last year with the great IDW series, and the Mega City-Two mini. Now Joe is back and ready to uphold the law no matter where he is taken. Dredd and Anderson are looking into a case in the Angela Davis block. The judges find a staggering amount of disappearances left with no trace to follow, physical or psychic. Before he knows it, the Judge wakes up in a new strange place without any civilization, or none that resembles the blocks of Mega-City One, he finds a bunch of kids bullying someone and he does exactly what he knows to do, Dredd enforces the law and arrests the kids. The law applies wherever Dredd may be, for he is the law.

JudgeDredd_Ongo2015_01_cvrAWhen it comes to reading a Judge Dredd book, and being the metalhead that I am, I can’t but have “I Am The Law” by Anthrax playing in my head on repeat. One of the biggest questions I ask myself when reading a Dredd story is does it fit with the song? Does this play well as a soundtrack to this new Dredd story I’m reading? This new issue of Judge Dredd passes that test with flying colors. The characters are well established, there are two different timelines and motivations happening, and they both thread together nicely towards the same place for different reasons. The interaction of the hard-hitting judge with meddling children who’ve never heard of any law before feels fresh and contrasts well with each other. At the end of the day the right questions are asked, where is Dredd now? What happened to Mega-City One? Where are the kids trying to go?

The art works great to bring a fresh new take on the Judge. It mixes the grandiose worlds that Jack Kirby creates, even with some of those “everyone is screaming” shots he loved to do, with the rougher, more modern style that makes books like Southern Bastards or anything with Jeff Lemire’s art so successful. This different art style is appropriate for a sorty that puts Dredd in this brave new world he’s never seen before, the action panels feel dynamic and flow very well, the splash page reveals what I need to know as a reader and depicts the beginning of a new adventure for our protagonist. There is a very smart and fun use of color in this book, having Dredd’s uniform be such a contrast to the clothing everyone else is wearing, even those moments that might resemble Joe’s old world.

Intriguing start to a new IDW Judge Dredd series, they won a loyal fanbase over their 30 issue run that ended last year, Farinas, Freitas, McDaid, and Hill deliver on what Swierczynski and Daniel started. yet putting their own staple on the series. This issue leaves the reader intrigued for more and seeking to see where they take him on the next issue. I wish I had seen more from this story, as I feel most IDW titles suffer from a very limited page count, and advertisements that sometimes run as many as the pages themselves. Judge Dredd #1 invites the long time readers to join the Judge in a new adventure they’ve never seen before, and welcomes those who’ve never picked up a Judge Dredd Megazine or 2000AD.

Score: 4/5

Judge Dredd #1 Writers: Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas Artist: Dan McDaid Colorist: Ryan Hill Publisher: Rebellion/IDW Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/16/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital