Review: Judge Dredd: Anderson - Psi Division #1

As a life long Judge Dredd fan, I take every little dabble down a different path with a grain of salt and a whole lot of trepidation. Our Judge is gruff, mysterious, and aloof with his utter 100% dedication to honor and duty over everything, life, liberty and especially the pursuit of happiness.  The guy is 100% serious and when little side tales evolve, it is really hard to impress me as I come in real suspicious. Now sometimes the side titles work.  Where I started off a little hard on Judge Dredd Mega City Two, it eventually won me over (See Reviews). But for every hit, there are also misses. Mars Attacks Judge Dredd comes to mind.  Yeah, there are a whole lot of side titles that could muck up a very good history and mythos.

So when I heard that a special series was being released that would feature Judge Anderson. Well, I just had to check it out.  After all, Dredd and Anderson have been partners for as long as I can remember and their chemistry has been well suited as Anderson’s more open personality meshes excellently with Dredd’s tough as nails and heart of stone persona.  They are a crime fighting odd couple that have worked through their years of publication in perfect harmony.  Knowing that, this one could be real easy to screw up.  And when I say screw up, I mean screw up spectacularly.

But behold, with Issue #1, I think that writer Matt Smith and artist Carl Crithlow have done an ample job in their introduction of Judge Anderson in her own starring role. They have the ball rolling and it looks like a decent groundwork has been laid to maybe create something exceptional. I found their beginning of their “King of Sector 6” four issue story to be off to a decent and modest start.

This opener begins right at the beginning with the actual birth of Miss Anderson.  We see some action and see how she gets her name.  From there, we flash forward to a grown Anderson and a psi dream she has regarding a museum and artifacts from the Cursed Earth.  Though the dream is vague, she suspects that something is at play and she goes to investigate personally after reporting it to headquarters.

JD_PSI01-cvrThings do happen and we end up with a psionic blast rendering everyone helpless minus Anderson and a good old-fashioned shoot em up.  From there, things progress as Anderson is able to read the thoughts of the one bad guy who didn’t get away that revealed to her a possible escape into the Alabama Morass, a swamp filled cesspool of merciless menace. Anderson leaves her well-adjusted confines of Mega City One and hits the country (yee haw) where she pursues her prey.  The only thing is, is that she herself might just be the prey.

All in all, this isn’t too bad of a start.  I think that Matt Smith does a good job of capturing Anderson as the character that she is. One who is a gutsy a risk taker and also a dedicated officer of the law. Critchlow likewise hits the art with the classic Dredd look, but with softer features more in the tone of Anderson’s personality.  I must say that I love the Alabama Morass scenes (yes, the cowboy hat was a nice touch man). It does a good job of depicting Anderson in these unknown surroundings, away from all the hustle and bustle of Meg One, but just as busy it would seem.

My interest has been qued up, but I am not quite sold on everything just yet.  Still, I think this one does fall into one of the better side Dredd stories than one of the truly hideous and crappy ones. Hopefully the title can build on that and make something great. I am pulling for them.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Matt Smith Artist: Carl Critchlow Publisher: IDW Publishing Price:  $3.99 Release Date: 8/13/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital