PUBLISHER: PENGUIN AUDIO AND REBELLION PUBLISHING| RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Perma-grinning corpse Judge Death and his undead colleagues Fire, Fear and Mortis are immortalised in this audio drama from Penguin Random House and 2000AD. Adapting the early Death stories as written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, and illustrated by Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins, Cliff Robinson and Robin Smith, Dredd vs Death tells of the titular Dark Judge’s first visit to Mega City One, before subsequent return trips with his fellow cohorts.
Peter Serafinowicz is perfectly cast as the voice of Death, up against Adam Basil as Dredd, and Amber Rose Revah as Psi Judge Anderson. Basil’s Dredd may not be what most readers imagine the lawman might sound like – think Brando meets Stallone – but he’s a cut above the softly-spoken Joseph Fiennes, who voiced last year’s crop of audio adventures. It’s also worth remembering that this is a younger Dredd, which comes across in performance and dialogue. Still, we might have liked just a touch more bombast behind the iconic "gaze into the fist of Dredd" line.
The understated approach continues extends to Revah’s Anderson (not quite the spunky, punky type of the comics) and even Serafinowicz’s growling Death. The sombre mood is heightened with a throbbing score by Kate McDonald and sparing use of ambient sound, making Dredd vs Death a far more restrained experience than one might have expected. Still, these are great stories, faithfully and lovingly translated. A fine introduction to four of comics’ all-time greatest villains, and a stylish, moody use of the medium.