In some ways the name of this story Year One is misleading. The story is set during Dredd’s first year as a Judge, but there’s really nothing about it that actually has to be.
Yes some of the character reference Dredd’s rookie status. But he doesn’t act like a rookie. He’s Judge Dredd! Writer Matt Smith is the editor of 2000AD so he knows the character well and this certainly feels like Dredd. It just doesn’t feel any different to normal. Maybe that’s the point?
Having got that gripe out of the way though, this is a good Dredd story with a bit of a twist towards the end that was nicely done. As a stand alone piece that just sits in very early Dredd chronology this isn’t going to go on any must read or best of list, but as an introduction to Dredd and the sensibilities of the comic book (as opposed to the movie) this is great.
When I reviewed the movie I noted that it got most of Dredd but it lacked the sense of satire. I think that might be because a lot of those satirical elements are in the over the top dress sense and the deadpan seriousness with which Dredd and the other Judges treat even their most extreme statements.
That doesn’t come across well on film but here on page and in color it’s great. It helps of course that in Simon Coleby we’re dealing with a seasoned Judge Dredd artist. Someone who knows both how to tell a story and how to present the world of Mega City One.
So that’s what we have he. A solidly crafted Judge Dredd story that serves as a great introduction to the character and the comics. It’s not really blazing new ground and it’s not showing you anything about Dredd that you don’t already know. But it’s a fun ride while you’re reading.
Judge Dredd: Year One will be released on November 5th 2013: http://amzn.to/1aLEkMP
In the mean time, if you haven’t seen it, pick up the movie Dredd: http://amzn.to/17vilHi