So yeah, gather around friends and family, find a spot beside the bonfire to keep warm. Get a marshmallow to roast as ol’ Uncle Casey tells you a scary story of the goat man while the fire keeps away all the creepy creatures of the night. That’s the vibe I got from this book dudes. Except sub out friends and family with a posse of Judges, the bonfire with flaming rain, the creatures of night with roving mutant gangs, and the goat man story with a tale of how the Judges and the Justice System came to be.
Yeah so, we start off with these grodie mutants bringing a package to Mega City One. It contains a genetic sample of the founder of the Judges, the Father of Justice, Eustace Fargo, who is supposed to beburied in a grand tomb at the Hall of Justice. Turns out, he ain’t, and he ain’t dead either. They lost his suspended in cryostasis body ages ago and have been putting up this sham ever since. Some bros out in the Cursed Land now have him and are demanding an insane ransom for his return. This Fargo dude is pretty much Jesus mixed with RBG, so the Judges will do anything to get him back. Dredd gets the task and rounds up a crew to get Fargo back.
Anyways, the Judges have built this cult of personality around this Fargo guy and a lot of it horseshit. Dredd was cloned from the DNA of Fargo, knew him before he died, and knows the truth of it all. So, we jump between Dredd and the Judges fighting one gang of mutants after another, as he tells the origin story. We learn how the Justice System is created, how the Atomic War starts, how the Mega Cities survived, and how Dredd is created. Which also gives us wicked action of pre-teen Dredd taking to the streets and fucking up US military crooks.
But yeah, this is a reprint of a story from about 15 years back, but you couldn’t really tell. I honestly didn’t know that until after I finished the story. The amount of things I don’t know could fill a quantum hard drive, but my point is that this easily could have been written today. Power-mad politicians over-reaching to serve themselves only to fuck up the people they’re supposed to serve is pretty much a trope at this time. Even more so today than when Wagner and Ezquerra created this a decade and a half ago. Sad thing is that it’s reality and not the Dredd universe.
Dredd’s exposition was a little forced at times. Fitting in tidbits of the origin story as they were obliterating mutants. I could have used more of a standalone prequel rather than the bouncing around. That said, I still liked it, dudes. You know what you’re signing up for if you read a Dredd story. Intense action, violence, and the dreadful fear of a future police state. Dredd’s a fan, Fargo’s waffling, and I’m sure as fuck against it. I would be so fucked in this universe! “Citizen! You’ve been found guilty of urination in public. Sentence is five years in the iso-cubes. Control, schedule a pickup.” I’d have been thrown in the iso-cubes so many times for all the stupid shit I do daily. Oh man, the horror!
Anyways, that’s about all I got. Adios amigos!
Essential Judge Dredd: Origins will be published on August 31, 2021 and you can pre-order a copy here. A huge high five to the authors, 2000 AD, Rebellion Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC.