FORMAT: ONE-SHOT | PUBLISHER: IDW | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Good news citizens: it's 100 pages of Judge Dredd! Bad news: that's IDW's Judge Dredd. Good news: it consists of a number of sampler stories to get readers invested in this radical new Dredd, including the first chapters of his Mega City Zero and Blessed Earth stories. Bad news: you have to really pay up for it.
100-Page Giant is a sampler book of IDW's most notable Dredd work to date, in the hope of getting new readers on board with stories they've been publishing since 2015. For the uninitiated, this alternate, American take on Judge Dredd generally plays fast and loose with the rulebook, taking Dredd far away from the Big Meg and his crew of supporting characters.
This book contains the first chapters of Mega City Zero, Blessed Earth, Under Siege and Toxic. It also includes a very short sampler for the upcoming False Witness. As a tasting board, it's hard to complain, as it definitely does the job in hooking readers onto the world of IDW Dredd. There's something for every kind of Dredd fan – the kooky, odd Mega City Zero and Blessed Earth who prefer more 'out there' sci-fi conceits, and Under Siege and Toxic for the grittier future crime fans. Mark Russell's Under Siege should be of particular interest to fans of 2012's Dredd, essentially telling the same story on a bigger scale.
This is an excellent showcase for the best of IDW Dredd, featuring gorgeous artwork from the likes of Dan McDaid and Daniel Irizarri. For better or worse, it also does well in showing how this Dredd differs from his 2000 AD counterpart; a more vulnerable, less mean version of the character, dialling back the satire and humour in favour of thrills and spills. It's also unafraid to think outside of the box - “what if Judge Dredd had a big white beard?” is basically the whole reason for Blessed Earth's being.
That readers should be expected to pay almost £6 for a glorified sampler palette is a bit rich, but it's a solid investment for the uninitiated. After all, most 2000AD and Megazine readers should be used to getting their future shocks on a prog-by-prog basis anyway.