PUBLISHER: PENGUIN AUDIO AND REBELLION PUBLISHING| RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Thirty years after the character’s debut in the pages of 2000AD, Judge Dredd’s world got its extensive history, in John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s aptly-named Origins. Published between 2006 and 2007, this mega-epic is one of the longest and most important Judge Dredd stories ever told. Positioning itself as an in-depth history of the Judicial System, it sends Dredd to the Cursed Earth, where he makes a world-shattering discovery.
This audio drama adapts the story by Wagner and Ezquerra, and Kev Walker, from its procedural episode beginnings to high-octane Cursed Earth action. Adam Basil stars as Dredd, adopting a gruffer tone than his Dredd vs Death performance (where he plays a much younger version of the character). Doug Cockle narrates, cutting down on a lot of the silly expository dialogue which tends to proliferate many audio dramas. The efficiency of Wagner’s writing keeps things ticking along at a rapid pace, ensuring that the action never gets dull or bogged down in the details. Colin Salmon, meanwhile, is dream casting as Dredd’s own clonefather, Eustace Fargo.
As with Penguin and 2000AD’s previous audio adaptations, this is a faithful take on a classic story, and almost as exciting as it was in the original format. While the ambient noise and sound effects are more restrained than one might have expected (the BBC’s The Day the Law Died remains King), this production does a good job in translating the Big Meg and Cursed Earth to a different format. Essential listening for those unaware of the story - a treat for long-standing fans of the character and his world.
A lengthy quest across Dredd’s world, packed with history, callbacks and flashbacks, Origins is an ambitious undertaking, done justice.