Published on March 11th, 2015 | by Chavez


Dredd: Urban Warfare – Review

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Dredd: Urban Warfare is the graphic novel follow up to the Dredd movie of 2012. A collection of three stories written by former Tharg, Matt Smith who scripts Top of the World, Ma Ma, and Arthur Wyatt who pens the twosome of Underbelly and Uprise, the trio are pulled together to form this gritty and hard hitting collection. Art is handled by the Henry Flint and Paul Davidson both of who are perfectly matched with movie Dredd’s ragged, fuzzy at the edges, Robocop-ish world.

Movie Dredd (as opposed to comic Dredd) lives in grim, crime ridden world where the judicial forces are constantly threatened by endemic crime. Although this is also the case with comic Dredd, it seems far more real in Urban Warfare, a genuine threat to all and sundry. Dredd is portrayed as one man amongst many albeit one that’s hard and single minded in his pursuit of enforcing the law in the hell of Mega City One. He’s much more of a hardbitten cop here as opposed the almost super heroic comic version who kicked Batman’s arse while barely breaking sweat. But enough of the movie/ comic comparisons!

Matt Smith’s tale shines a sympathetic light of Ma Ma Madrigal, Dredd’s nemesis in the film.

Dredd Urban Warfare 2

Her dark, bleak and drug addled background is explored and an explanation provided for her generally nasty attitude to world. It’s short but a lot happens in it. Almost too much in fact. The panels feel cramped with too much art and text floating about the place but it’s a minor niggle. A worthy read.

Dredd Urban Warfare 3

As I mentioned previously, Arthur Wyatt picks up the sort of sequel to Dredd with Underbelly, an enjoyable romp through the underworld organisers of Mega City One’s illegal immigration and drug production. The immigrants in this case are mutants from the Cursed Earth looking for gold paved streets. It’s only a few search and replaces from a modern day setting but it’s good old solid Dredd tracking down the rather nasty perps before busting them into the cubes. There’s a nice wee twist in there as well which I won’t spoil. Henry Flint provides the visuals (as he does for Top of the World, Ma, Ma) and as usual he does a sterling job ably assisted by Chris Blythe on colouring duty. They’re detailed and scratchily real – a perfect match for the hard hitting script.

Finally, in Uprise we have a classic tale of citizens protesting against the overbearing domination of the Judges and Big Corporation. Dredd, being Dredd, isn’t too happy at citizens breaking the law but he’s damned if he’s going to stand aside and just watch when dodgy going ons threaten to ignite the petrol bomb that is The Spit. Who or what is Uprise? Corruption is rife at all levels of society and Dredd is the cure… I found Uprise to be the best of the bunch here. It’s a clever, fast moving plot with a few gotchas and red herrings to keep you hanging on away in there to the end.

It wouldn’t be a review of mine if I didn’t have a good whinge about inconsequential niggles so here goes. The Lawmaster bikes and the Judge robots are complete and utter pants. Awful. By all means keep movie Dredd, movie Dredd but for the love of Grud and McGruder’s cast iron knickers please just draw the proper comic Lawmasters! The robots I could live with. Just…

Released 10th February in the US, 12th February in the UK

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