Review: Judge Dredd: Year One #2
“The Long Hard Road,” part 2. When juves across sector start manifesting psychic abilities, Dredd must team up for the first time with Psi-Division to combat the spreading chaos. But just what is causing the psi-outbreaks as it crosses the dimensions—and what does it have in store for Mega-City One?
IDW gives us another look at Judge Dredd’s earliest years this month. Judge Dredd: Year One #2 is ready to hit comic book shelves this Wednesday with a story from Matt Smith with pencils and inks from Simon Coleby. Leonard O’Grady provides colors and Chris Mowry handles lettering. Much like the Judge Dredd does with Mega-City One’s scum, we’re getting ready to render judgment. Read on for sentencing.
Judge Dredd narrowly escaped the bank robbing juves who were endowed with some newly manifested psionic powers. The only thing important now is for Dredd and his psi-division liaison Riordan to figure out what’s causing the teens of Mega-City to get these powers, and what’s behind it. Dredd is reporting in to Chief Judge Goodman at the Grand Hall of Justice about what’s going on. Goodman recognizes Dredd is a good Judge and one of, if not the, greatest Judge ever, but he knows the young man needs real experience. Dredd can recite the textbook and follow his orders to the “t,” but he’s not well versed in how things really go on in the city. Goodman is trying to teach Dredd that there are other things out there, literally other worlds and threats, because he knows it’s a lesson Dredd severely needs. With the impromptu class dismissed, Dredd is off to put down another juve riot. This is the lead Riordan needed. He thinks he’s tracked down the origin of the activity. He and Dredd go to investigate, but has Dredd bit off way more than he can chew?
Matt Smith writes a fantastic script. The first issue felt like a great Judge Dredd story but nothing that would warrant the “Year One” label. Smith more than makes up for that complaint this month. You get to see that while Dredd is in no way green around the gills, he is still a fresh graduate and not that experienced. He does his job and does it well, but he’s still learning. This issue more than warrants the “Year One” label and Smith has really turned things up to 11. Besides all of that, we get a vast amount of Mega-City one and Judge Dredd history. Even if you’re not that well versed in the mythology, you can tell what’s going on and that it’s important info. Coleby’s art and O’Grady’s colors fit perfectly with the story. The art looks very sleek and even computerized. It feels almost like a really good motion comic. It’s a very distinct style that really brings the story to life.
Bottom Line: This is the best Judge Dredd story I’ve read in some time. You get all the stuff you’d expect in a Year One story, but you also get an amazing action-packed Judge Dredd story. Smith has truly outdone himself with this one. I take back my doubts about this one from last month. 5/5