I got an opportunity to review Judge Dredd: Anderson Psi Division #1 last month…And I liked it, a little bit. As someone who has loved all things Dredd for many years, it was nice to see his partner in justice getting her own mini here to expand the character out with a new detail. Where Dredd is stone cold serious, intense, and thorough, we have seen in Judge Anderson that she is a little less serious, not so intense, and thorough. Writer Matt Smith and Artist Carl Crtichlow did an ok job in developing an event in the past, a crime in the present, and an investigation that takes our psychic judge out of the comfy confines of Meg City One and entering into the Alabama Morass, a heavy-duty swampland filled with danger everywhere. Issue #2 begins back at the Morass and we as readers encounter one of those dangers as well as Anderson trying to deal with it. We find out real quickly that psychic ability doesn’t have much effect out here. But we do see later in the story her psychic ability working very well as she uses it to discover a village and its inhabitants that have recently been slaughtered by our group of baddies that are being sought. We further begin to see a little detail as to what the baddies might be up to and where their ties possibly with Judge Anderson and especially in the Sector 6 of her birth. As to how everything fits with Judge Anderson completely, we are still in the dark. But something definitely from when she was born occurred that might make this series quite personal once all is said and done. And as a finishing touch, we get a cameo from old Joe Dredd himself.
This issue is not bad and it is better than the previous issue. But it still feels a little bit tentative in its flow. As an avid reader of Judge Dredd, I have always viewed Judge Anderson as tough as nails strong and someone who can hold her own with the likes of the serve the law at all costs Dredd. Here, Matt Smith is still portraying her as vulnerable. Of course, this is the beginning of her career and one would expect some vulnerability. But right now, she just seems a little bit too vulnerable for me.
Matt Smith’s writing is competent and I have liked some of his elements of demonstrating the psychic side of investigation. The scenes in the swamp are impressive and even emotional as we see Judge Anderson reaching out to one of the slaughtered at the village. Once back at Meg City One however, the story flattens back out some as Dredd becomes the force in the story. I think his use was appropriate, but it wasn’t necessarily needed here other than trying to appease fans. I know that I didn’t need it. It could have been somewhere else.
With Critchlow’s art, similar to Smith’s writing, I think he excelled in the swamp scenes, but lost an edge was returning to the Meg. Hopefully this is just a minor issue. But everything felt kind of lackluster after a wonderful first half.
Judge Dredd: Anderson Psi Division #2 has some great potential and it is showing in some areas. But it has failed in others and has not yet found its identity. There are two issues left to change that opinion and I know that they have kept pace enough to at least keep me interested. I want to see where it goes. Let’s go guys and show me something awesome
Writer: Matt Smith Artist: Carl Crtichlow Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/10/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital