Opening with a perilous prologue of secrecy and bad dreams in The Connections, the race is on to deliver a mysterious package to the Grand Hall of Justice. What follows is a furious road mission of high importance that could change the laws of Mega City One and offers a shocking history lesson on the origins of immediate justice.
Kev Walker brings the neo-noir dystopian crime thriller to Dredd with his dark and minimalistic style. While it can be difficult to fully decipher what’s going on at times, that only adds to the mystique and drama of the short story.
While Ezquerra’s flare for bombastic scenery and iconic chins is no secret, it’s the beautiful subtlety of his characterisation that serves as a narrative structure all on it’s own; the contrasting usage of polished colouring and rough shading delivering the arc of Dredd as a seasoned and grizzled veteran with a strict regiment for principles and upholding traditional laws.
Despite what the title suggests, that being an essential deep dive into the origins of Judge Dredd, I believe newcomers or casual fans may struggle to keep up with the moving parts of the narrative and multitude of characters throughout. Coming off more like a love letter to existing fans of the titular badass – and an intimately written one at that, those without the experience may be left with more questions than answers to this deep and grizzly story.
That being said, the events that take place throughout this collection do an incredible job of bridging the gap between fantastical science-fiction and nail-bitingly realistic non-fiction. Like we’re one quaking domino away from setting off a chain of probable actualities for the future based on this Wagner’s series.
In conclusion, Essential Judge Dredd: Origins puts you in the gruelling position of a Judge in early training, suddenly thrown into the line of fire unprepared. If you can withstand the direct heat of this bloody and scorched battlefield and brave the cold of this callous and unrelenting tale of immediate judgement, then you’re fit to be a Judge and learn the secrets of how it all came to be in a fascinatingly unique story for the time that still holds up today.
Let us know in the comments your thoughts on Essential Judge Dredd: Origins as well as your origins with Judge Dredd.
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