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Published on October 22nd, 2014 | by JCDoyle

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Anderson: PSI Division #3 – Review

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Lurking in the shadows of Mega City One and hiding in the legends of the criminal underworld, Ashberry pulls at the strings of organised crime like a puppet master. And you’d think that having the best PSI Judge in the division tracking him down it would all be quickly resolved but this is not the case as Cassandra Anderson is finding out.

In her mission to find the legendary Ashberry, she comes up against all sorts of obstacles from bureaucratic red tape to the lowliest of street criminals. At the start of her investigation no one believes that the mythical criminal exists, even the law breakers they arrest have only heard of him in horror stories told to scare the up and coming gangsters into toeing the line. This means that she meets a lot of resistance in the hierarchy of the Judges and it’s only her exceptional track record that gets her any resources at all.

Her plan is simple, raid as many underworld operations in the six sectors as she can, effectively closing down their business so that Ashberry will have to sit up and take notice. And take notice he does. Shrouded in mystery, high in his office overlooking Mega City One, Ashberry learns of the consistent raids and the Judges harassment of his employees. He hears Anderson’s message and wastes no time in responding by sending a host of hypnotised weapons against her.

One thing leads to another and finally, Anderson finds her man but not in the circumstances that she was hoping for.

JA#3 insert

Although there isn’t very much story in this month’s issue, there is a lot of context. Matt Smith uses this penultimate issue to develop the main characters and illustrate the lawless bureaucracy in Mega City One. Anderson has to fight for the right to investigate and track down a ruthless mass murderer even after providing a collection of evidence. The PSI Chief Judges can’t, or won’t, accept that there is a criminal overlord working within the city because this would undermine all of their work and prove that they are not doing the best job that they can,

As well as this, the whole confrontation in the PSI Division Headquarters illustrates the determination and faith Anderson has in her own abilities. The story is set early in her career and yet she is demonstrating great leadership qualities and investigation skills. There is a moment where she is explaining her plan and she leans over the Chief’s desk totally in control of the situation. She holds authority, despite being a junior Judge, with her hands firmly planted on the desk top and she looks down, directly into the eyes of her superior. Omar, for his part, is defensive and failing to be defiant. His arms are crossed, shutting him off, and his moth is closed: he is being told what Anderson is going to do and reluctantly approving with his silence. At this moment Cassandra is one of the strongest characters in the comic.

The artwork is superb and the young Judge is depicted as a fit, headstrong officer of the law. Her presence is felt on each page and more often than not her body breaks out of the panels and crosses the gutters to show the reader that she is more than just a physical presence but also that she can transcend other boundaries as well.

All of the characters are given space to breath by Carl Critchlow and he achieves this by keeping the backgrounds to a bare minimum. Mega City One is an unpleasant habitat and it has no place in this story, the intention is to show the range of inhabitants that dwell in the underworld and focuses the reader’s attention on their interactions with Judge Anderson. Some of these interactions are violent and uncomfortable but then there are others that are more fun and witty, with Anderson showing off her dry humour.

Cassandra Anderson is safe in the hands of Smith and Critchlow as they develop not only an interesting story of urban legends and police ignorance but they also demonstrate why Anderson is one of the best Judges working in Mega City One.

JA#3 cover

Title: Anderson: PSI Division

Publisher: IDW Publishing

Writer: Matt Smith

Artist: Carl Critchlow

 

JCDoyle

JCDoyle

Lover of comics and Art and Sci-Fi in multiple media. Currently teaching my kids the ways of the Geek (while protecting my first editions)
JCDoyle

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