I don’t know much about Judge Dredd, save for the meh Sylvester Stallone film and the incredible Karl Urban flick, but I thought it would be interesting to give the latest Judge Dredd omnibus book titled Year Two a review. I wanted to see if someone inexperienced as me would be able to give this book a read and not be greatly confused. Thankfully, I wasn’t confused at all, and if anything, this collection of three novellas makes me want to snatch up anything Dredd related to catch up on what I’ve been missing all these years.
Judge Dredd Year Two provides the reader with three novellas written by Michael Carroll, Matt Smith and Cavan Scott. The first story is titled The Righteous Man, written by Michael Carroll and features Judge Joseph Dredd’s life being turned upside down when his clone twin brother Rico is arrested by Joe for murder and treason. Because the Dredd brothers are clones, people are worried that Joe might turn out to be just as bad as his brother. While the investigation is progressing, Dredd is placed on protection duty for a mining community, who are being attacked by raiders.
The story, of course, isn’t that simple, as there are plenty of twists and turns and some downright exhilarating action. It’s a very much self-contained story, but you get to see how Dredd reacts being placed in a situation that isn’t so normal for him. As you read the story of Dredd, you know that during his early years he is pretty much an emotionless man who only cares about the law. The three stories each give Dredd a chance to show some emotion, and it’s fascinating to see his hard exterior shell crack ever so slowly.
The second story is titled Down and Out, written by Matt Smith. Another story that is simple, but hot damn this one is action-packed. Dredd is injured while on an investigation, and he ends up being hunted by a bunch of gangsters. Of course, you know Dredd is going to be alright, but it will still have you holding your breath at times, and you’ll also see how much Dredd is a badass, even during these early years of service.
The last story is titled Alternative Facts and is written by Cavan Scott. What’s enjoyable about this story is that centres on a murder mystery and has a few different characters besides Judge Dredd helping figure out who is killing journalists. The story isn’t as explosive as the other stories but does give us a neat look at the process of how murders are investigated by the Judges and what sort of technology they use to capture their killers. This story also provides a big look into the law crazy world that citizens are put through. The insane amount of chargeable offences the people of Mega-City One have to deal with is almost comical. Do they have unlimited jail cells in this possible future?
There are a few questions left lingering in the air after reading the omnibus, but that could very well be the fact that I’m jumping into Year Two. They mention a few global wars and certain names pop up often, but I have no idea who they are. I won’t count that as a negative, though, as that is my lack of knowledge that is causing this issue, not the book.
I personally think plenty of Judge Dredd fans are going to get a kick out this collection of some damn exciting Judge Dredd stories. Even if you don’t know much about Dredd’s history, but enjoy action-packed stories, this book will be worth the price. A big buy from me.