Review: Judge Dredd Volume 1 / Author: Duane Swierczynski / Artist: Paul Gulacy, Nelson Daniel / Publisher: IDW / Release Date: Out Now
We have to admit to being a little bit sceptical about IDW taking on the Judge Dredd franchise; the world famous Mega City judge out of the hands of 2000AD and The Megazine and into the hands of an all-American production company famous for doing franchise tie-ins. After all, the source material heavily parodies Hollywood action dramas and the USA’s approach to justice, and it would be all too easy to get the tone wrong.
Our fears were entirely unfounded, however; this version of Dredd is not only entirely accessible, it fits in extremely well with the ongoing continuity and maintains a consistently high quality throughout. The trade paperback contains multiple storylines; we get a nifty little conspiracy story in the heart of the halls of justice, runaway clones, crazy citizens and the usual nonsense. Writer Duane Swierczynski understands that the main star of the comic book is the city and its citizens, and their wild behaviour. Mega City One is the place where the unlikely is going to happen, especially if it has deadly consequences. (It’s also nice to see that the characters get this as well, and behave in an appropriately paranoid fashion.)
Artists Gulacy and Daniel do a reasonable job of rendering the bright, bold and violent world of Judge Dredd, and the artwork is solid, clear and appropriate. It tells the story well and both artists do very; it’s important to remember that 2000AD tends to spoil its readers with some of the best artists in the world and though the art in this book doesn’t quite match those high standards, clearly a powerful effort has been made.
Overall, this is a good entry point into the Judge Dredd mythos; tough crime dramas told in a wild way. It also has the advantage of not being dragged down by decades of backstory and continuity, and is ideal for those looking for a jumping on point.