13 November 2014

What We Can Judge From Dredd Uprise

Dystopia, post-apocalypse...Whichever you prefer, it's no secret that it has a tight hold on pop culture. Whether it's trekking the atomic wasteland of a once great city or trying to survive a horde of zombies, there's a story for everyone out there to become immersed in when it comes to the post apocalypse. One of the firsts that even predates the ultra-violent phase of 1980s comics is 2000 AD's Judge Dredd.

Set in the far future where most of the world is unrecognizable and have banded together into huge, sprawling mega-cities, crime has become so prevalent that the justice system we know today doesn't suffice. Instead, a task force known as "Judges" have become all branches of justice wrapped into one person. They have the call in the field to judge and execute baddies when necessary. Judge Dredd happens to be the most famous of all the Judges and the comics follow his story for the most part.

I recently picked up the new first issue of the comic series Dredd Uprise. This is a direct sequel to the Karl Urban DREDD 3D film which unfairly got ignored during its release, probably because most people still remember the awful Sly Stallone version. But for the ones who rallied for a sequel to the film, this is a great inclusion into the Dredd universe and for those who thoroughly enjoyed Urban's take on the iconic scowl-y character, you're going to really love this comic series.

First off, I'd just like to mention the cover of the first issue. It has a matte finish with a glossy interior, which makes the issue feel like dystopia while you're reading it. This is a high quality print job on top of illustrations, coloring, and even the font and lettering used on each page. Just an absolutely gorgeous comic to look at.

The story itself starts off right in the action, just like the movie. In fact, it begins with a shot of a motorcycle-riding Dredd just to emphasize this is the sequel series to the now cult classic film. But without going into too much detail on the story and possibly spoiling it, Dredd Uprise is about revolution and how that can effect an already sprawling and evolved mega-city.

There is already tension between the Judges and the actual citizens of the city, as well as internal power struggles, that are all coming to a boiling point that can only result in one outcome (since this is a Dredd comic after all): war.

Dredd is known as the no-nonsense version of a killer Spock. He doesn't deviate (or at least try to) from the set laws that the Judges follow while the rest of the force are as crooked as film noire cops. This was also highlighted in the film but the amount of bribery and injustice done by other Judges really shows in the comic, which creates an interesting dilemma for readers because not every character is inherently black or white in their beliefs.

There are certainly instances where you'll find yourself rooting for Dredd while in other panels you second guess yourself as you get a better glimpse into the everyday lives of mega-city citizens. While the writers usually try to make it clear who the bad guys are, this gray mentality of not exactly right or wrong makes for an intriguing story and commentary on our current convoluted justice system.

This is also a recommended read for those new to comics as this series just began in October and there's only going to be two parts to this particular story arc. I know from personal experience that seeing something like "Issue #89" on a comic can be daunting, but this is a story that can be easily picked up even if you haven't even seen the movie.

Dredd Uprise is a fresh take on a genre that is unfairly turning into zombie central. I'm not one to shy about the fact that I find zombies in a dystopian setting to be incredibly lazy writing, especially these days when the trope has been used way too much. Having a story in a dystopia setting without the implication of infected/zombies is a welcomed subject as post-apocalypse is so much more than just zombies. Dredd certainly shows that and this is like a callback to those post apocalyptic fueled days in the 80s.

If you're looking for a mature themed comic to get into with no real set line of good versus bad, give Dredd Uprise a chance. It certainly won't disappoint.

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  1. I need to get this. I love the film. It's so underrated and I love, love, love Karl Urban as Dredd.

  2. We loved the movie, it was amazing. Had no idea this was picking up where it left off!


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