COMIC REVIEW: Dredd: Urban Warfare

Cover It starts with Ma-Ma’s back story then plunges into the gritty world of The Spit, an overpopulated strip of barely habitable land in Mega-City One.  A new tower is going up, there’s a guerilla group called Uprise and a familiar old face shows up.  But are they all connected?  And is Dredd going to run out of time to figure it out before The Spit implodes.

Based in the world of the cult hit movie Dredd, this collection continues the story of Judges Dredd and Anderson in the dark post-apocalyptic city of Mega-City One. Includes the official Dredd prequel story, Top of the World Ma-Ma! by Matt Smith and Henry Flint.

Hands up those of you who have seen the Dredd film.  No, not that one (we don’t talk about that one), I mean the Karl Urban one.  And who loved it? Well, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy Urban Warfare.

From the off, we’re treated to Ma-Ma’s origin story, which sheds a little more light on how she got to where she was in the Dredd film.  It’s a sad story that actually hit a little too close to home for me in parts.  It’s what sucked me into this story from the start.  She wasn’t a bad person, not to start with.  It gave me a new appreciation of her character in the film.

With Ma-Ma’s back story done with, its on with the next part.  This is set after the events of the film and we see Dredd and Anderson once more, if only reunited for a brief moment.  There is a new drug on the street to replace Slo-Mo and a new tower block going up in The Spit build by Oemling. A high-rise that is supposed to make a difference to the lives of the poor and depraved below but with its fully automated living, it’s really just for the rich.  Everyone knows that and they’re not happy.  With a local drug dealer leading the charge, the citizens of The Spit are determined to stop the construction.  It soon descends into a chaos of rioting with the Judges trying to stem the tide.  But something doesn’t add up.  With the murder of a local drug lord and differing accounts of where the shot came from, Dredd and his new Rookie, Judge Conti, are determined to find out.  Without giving too much away, there are a few twists and turns to this story that kept me guessing until the reveal.  And I might have done a little squeal when it happened.

Dredd 1

Urban Warfare is everything you’d expect from a Dredd story: it’s gritty, it’s violent and Dredd is as stony faced and determined as ever.  He’s the ultimate one man wrecking ball and I adore him for it.  The colour palette is fantastic, all the hues painting the perfect Dredd world: grim and dirty.  There are some panels where I could almost smell The Spit and let me tell you, it’s not pleasant.  For those of you that don’t like a lot of dialogue in your comics, then maybe this one isn’t for you as there are pages with a lot of dialogue.  That said, it’s all integral to the plot and you probably won’t even realise that most of the page is dialogue.  Arthur Wyatt and Matt Smith do a great job of weaving an intricate web of plot whilst pulling you into the world of Mega-City One.  They know the character and they know what he’s capable of.  There’s a lot of love in this story and it shows.  Henry Flint and Paul Davidson compliment the words of Wyatt and Smith beautifully, really bringing the world of Dredd to life.  Each page is gorgeous and Chris Blythe’s use of colour is absolutely spot on.  There are splashes of vivid colour slashing across the pages when it’s needed and The Spit looks just as drab and disgusting as you imagine it would.

This story is a really nice continuation of the film and could also be seen as an interesting bridge between that film and the next, if there is one of course.  It’s a must for any Dredd fan and is a drokking good read!

Title: Dredd: Urban Warfare

Publisher: 2000ad

Rating: 4/5


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