Published on August 13th, 2014 | by JCDoyle0
Anderson: PSI Division #1 – Comic Review
“How much do you know about Psychogeography?”
Nothing? Then let Judge Anderson teach you.
IDW have been reprinting classic 200AD stories for a while now and their original stories for characters like Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper have been successful entries to these ever growing future worlds. This week sees the release of another original story, this time centring on the character Judge Cassandra Anderson and her work in the PSI division.
The first few pages portray the chaotic world into which Anderson is born at the very moment of her birth. The reader gets to meet both of the Judge’s parents and is given a little insight in to the legacy of her family before the story shifts to the modern day.
Anderson has a disturbing dream in which the Megapolitan Museum is rocked by an explosion. She calls it in and prepares to go back to bed but her overwhelming sense of duty forces her to check it out for herself. At the Museum everything seems to be fine, except for the growing number of people getting pissed off at the Judge’s intrusions, most notably is the Director of the Megapolitan, Merrick Turtell but Anderson dismisses him because she has a bad feeling and she doesn’t do hunches.
A highly prepared team of thieves use a PSI bomb to rob the Museum but Anderson is strong enough to resist the attack and intervenes. Unable to stop them from escaping she gives chase with a new partner, Degroot, who acts as a guide into the Alabama Morass and is a master of Psychogeography, the art of reading the environment in the same way that Anderson can read people’s minds.
This issue has everything that you would expect from a Judge Anderson story, Smart Guns, massive motorbikes, crime and harsh punishment. The narrative moves from the urban sprawl of Mega City One to the equally as dangerous swamps of Alabama Morass. Matt Smith has written an engaging story that encompasses all of these elements without it feeling like he’s working from a tick list, each aspect naturally occurs in the narrative. He also manages to portray a fully developed character in Cassandra Anderson so that readers new to her don’t feel left out or isolated from important continuity. There are a whole host of supporting characters for readers to get their teeth into, Degroot being one of the most outstanding. There is something promising about the new relationship between the two Judges that is reminiscent of cop shows like Cagney and Lacey and I for one am hoping that Degroot is going to be regular feature in future Judge Anderson comics.
Carl Critchlow’s illustration brilliantly captures the harshness of the world the Judges inhabit but also injects a sense of wonder into the scenery. His interpretation of Anderson is also impressive; she looks like the kind of person of wouldn’t take any shit, not that anyone would give her any.
This first issue is an exciting addition to IDW’s range and Smith has laid the groundwork for a larger story to unfold over the run of this comic. It is also easily accessible to people who have never read any 200AD related comics. If you are one of these people, pick this up and join the fun. It’s big, it’s brash but at no point does it sacrifice story or character for a needless action sequence: All the action here is necessary.
Title: Anderson: PSI Division
Writer: Matt Smith
Artist: Carl Critchlow