THE CHARACTERS: Since his first appearance in 1977, Judge “Joe” Joseph Dredd has been patrolling the mean streets of Mega-City One on an oversized motorcycle, dispensing justice via his voice activated super-gun and trademark grimace. Conceived as a futuristic, satirical take on Dirty Harry, Dredd’s stories are all considered canon – unlike most of his comic book contemporaries, Dredd’s universe has never been rebooted or retconned. He’s also aged in real time, taking him from a 33 year old ubercop upon his ’77 debut in the pages of 2000AD to today’s septuagenarian veteran still trying to chase down perps in the world of 2136.
Despite a wildly generic 1995 Stallone vehicle, 2012 saw MC-1’s toughest lawman return to cinemas with the sublimely straightforward entertainment of Dredd 3D. It starred Karl Urban and it fucking rocked.
THE COMIC: Early 80s classic The Apocalypse War saw East versus West in an all out nuclear battle, with Mega-City One left in ruins, losing nearly half of its 800 million inhabitants (including Chief Judge Griffin). Dredd’s counterstrike on Soviet soil saw another half a billion lives extinguished – the political, military and economic fallout from the entire saga would last for decades to come. One small callback came in 1994 with Mark Millar’s Frankenstein Division. Millar (Wanted, Kick-Ass, Superior) joined by artist and Judge Dredd co-creator Carlos Ezquerra (Strontium Dog, Preacher, Just a Pilgrim) put out a rough and tumble action piece that’s heavy on the guns and light on most everything else. Attempting to create the perfect solider, Soviet Judges patch together a colossus of parts from fallen combatants of The Apocalypse War. Driven mad by countless memories of death at the hands of Dredd himself, Project X (what else would they have called it really?) escapes its Siberian facility and heads to MC-1 hell bent on revenge. Mass havoc is wreaked on the city and its Judges, the kinetic scenes brought to life by the pencils of the man who arguably knows how to draw Dredd best. Although rather straightforward overall, the visual energy can’t be denied, and it’s hard not to chuckle at Dredd’s strict means of diplomacy, delivered here in a sort of short epilogue / punchline.
THE CANVAS: Size and weight etc.
THE COST: $85