By Noel Thorne
I’m not gonna lie to you - I’ve read this comic twice now, and I’m still not 100% on the plot nuances. Mutants have taken over a city block, or gangs have, and they’re holding a judge hostage…? It doesn’t matter - the basic premise is Dredd and a female Judge have to shoot their way up a city block. Just like the last Dredd movie! Where do writers get their ideas?!
It’s a shame because Mark Russell is a writer I usually enjoy. His work at DC these past couple years has been solid, reviving old titles nobody cared about like Prez, The Flintstones, and Snagglepuss, giving them a new spin and renewing interest in them again. He seems to be out of ideas though for his Judge Dredd story.
The problem is that it’s such a dull read. I’ve been reading Dredd since I was wee and I’ve gotten through a LOT of his stories, so nothing here is remotely new to me. He has to go into a deadly city block full of gun-toting gangs and mutants who’re all out to kill him and you know he’ll be fine - and he is - because he’s predictably unstoppable Dredd.
Russell’s gotten the atmosphere of Dredd’s world right though. The setting is Patrick Swayze Block (all the Mega-City blocks are traditionally named after celebrities), and the issue opens with Dredd arresting the participants of an American football (“football” to some of you but I’m a Brit!) match which is outlawed because it’s bad for cognitive health. We know it is now, but it’s too popular and profitable to be made illegal. Russell knows though that you can get away with it as humorous/satirical crimes are a feature of Dredd comics.
Judge Dredd: Under Siege #1 isn’t badly written or badly drawn - the comic looks great, and Max Dunbar draws a fine Dredd - it’s just such an unimaginative, generic and uninteresting read! I am the… zzz…
Judge Dredd: Under Siege #1