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Judge Dredd: Year One #1 - The Long Hard Road Part 1: All the Young Juves, Carry the News Review

5

Dredd takes on telekinetics in this new series.

The Good

Holy Drokk! This was a ton of fun. Dredd spends his first year as a Judge working the streets. He and fellow Judge, Riorden (from PSI-Division), find that juveniles are developing telekinetic abilities, and some are using the abilities for wrong in this new IDW series.

I was stunned with how much I enjoyed this issue. IDW's JUDGE DREDD on-going series is a ton of fun, but I felt this first issue raised the bar for Dredd as a whole. Sure, it reminded me of the movie Looper, especially with one scene of this book that felt exactly like a scene in the film, but I love how it played out. The telekinetic story aspect is very cool, and it gives American readers something new for them to sink their teeth into, yet something that is familiar.

This story works so well on the page. It's extremely dark and gritty, which fits the Dredd world so well. Writer Matt Smith deserves unlimited high fives for setting the tone throughout this book. The captions and dialogue are fantastic. This is the Dredd book I want to read. It's incredibly engrossing, and it completely blew away my expectations.

A second and third set of unlimited high fives should go to artist Simon Coleby and colorist Leonard O'Grady. These guys work together insanely well. It fits the gritty atmosphere and is one of my favorite American depictions of Mega City One. The best part of this issue, art-wise, has to be Simon Coleby's inking. It's heavy and has a bit of that noir feel to it. The art and the writing are a perfect match here. I love the different perspectives we get with every panel, especially the scene with the man jumping off the roof. This is easily some of my favorite comic book art this week.

When you have a creative team that's worked on Judge Dredd before, and for 2000 A.D. before, you're going to get a solid JUDGE DREDD book. If you've ever been interested in Dredd, this is a good place to jump on. It won't have all the answers you're looking for, but you don't really need them. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

The Bad

I have one small problem here with the issue. The title feels a tad misleading to me. This takes place during the tail-end of his first year as a Judge. He's already completed the academy and he's on the streets all by himself. I was a bit under the impression that we'd get to see the story of Dredd becoming a Judge, not the aftermath. JUDGE DREDD: THE EARLY YEARS is a better title for this.

The Verdict

JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE is seriously fun. It's gritty, dark, and exactly what I'd want from a contemporary Dredd book. The art and writing team here are fantastic, and while the title doesn't explain how or why Dredd became who he is, this is still a good look into the first year of Dredd as a Judge. Honestly, I'm very surprised how good this book is because at times, companies can over-franchise books, and usually when that happens, they sacrifice quality just to get books onto the shelf. We have the exact opposite here. As first issues go, JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE is a better book than IDW's JUDGE DREDD (which is also a fantastic book)

Overall, I highly recommend this issue.

12 Comments
Posted by AltyAce

Great review, have been looking to jump on a good Dredd book after watching the film. Living in England I can get 2000ad in a shop every week, but there are only about 7-8 pages an issue for Dredd and I'm not interested in half the other stories so I kind of gave up on it. This sounds like my cup of tea though!

Oh, and I absolutely love the cover!

Posted by Mucklefluga

Wow, looks like this is so much better than i expected. I'm guessing this is a limited series so how many issues long is it?

Posted by Azrael66

Dredd is awesome.

Posted by iaconpoint

The regular Dredd series is great so this will definately warrant a look.

Posted by HubrisRanger

Hey Mat, great review. Quick question to you or anyone else who's read this already: how welcoming is it to someone who, say, hasn't read any Dredd in the past?

Posted by inferiorego

@HubrisRanger said:

Hey Mat, great review. Quick question to you or anyone else who's read this already: how welcoming is it to someone who, say, hasn't read any Dredd in the past?

It's gonna be a tough bridge to cross, since I don't find this as new reader friendly as the IDW on-going. I say pick it up and give it a shot though. It may be a tad confusing, but it will be worth.

It takes place in the future in a giant city, and Judges are not only the cops, but they can sentence people. Poverty rates are extremely high.

Staff
Posted by dreamfall31

Loved the new movie and I am definately looking forward to pickig up some Dredd once it collected!

Posted by Brit

@Azrael66 said:

Dredd is awesome.

Preach!!!!

Posted by damswedon

@HubrisRanger said:

Hey Mat, great review. Quick question to you or anyone else who's read this already: how welcoming is it to someone who, say, hasn't read any Dredd in the past?

It is completely fine. Matt Smith doesn't bring up anything that doesn't fit into the story that he is telling. All you do kinda need to know is Dredd is a future cop. That's it.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

cover looks sick

Posted by NightFang

I wan't a Judge Dread and Transformers crossover so bad!

Posted by Baberaham_Lincoln

shame this is a mini series... this should be an ongoing, the other Dredd title is mediocre at best