Judge Dredd Volume 1 by Duane Michael Swierczynski – Advance Graphic Novel Review [Bane of Kings]

Judge Dredd Vol.1

Bane of Kings writes an advance review of the first volume of IDW’s new Judge Dredd series, written by Duane Michael Swierczynski. This graphic novel is released on April 23 and this copy was received through NetGalley. 

“A great take on Judge Dredd, very entertaining for newcomers and old hands alike.” ~The Founding Fields

Writer: Duane Michael Swierczynski | Artists: Nelson Daniel, Paul Gulacy | Publisher: IDW Entertainment

In the 22nd century, crime runs rampant in Mega-City One, home to over 400-million citizens, robots, criminals, and lunatics. The only line of defense between anarchy and chaos are… the Judges. And Judge Dredd is the toughest of them all. All new stories plus an introduction by John Wagner!

I’ve never been a big reader of Judge Dredd before Duane Michael Swierczynski’s series, and in fact – this was the first time I’ve actually read a series focusing on the character in question. I also haven’t seen both of the films related to the Judge, although I own Dredd on DVD and have seen parts of the Stallone film when it was on TV a few years ago. But regardless, Judge Dredd Volume 1 not only serves as a great introduction to the character, but also a solid starting point for older fans.

Judge Dredd Vol.1Whilst reading this graphic novel, you’ll find cheesy writing and dialogue throughout the pages, but apparently – that goes with the territory. The two different storylines in this graphic novel that you’ll follow, are also both quite engaging and very entertaining. There’s no need for prior knowledge of the character allowing readers to jump right in, as I did – when I picked up the first to issues of this series as they were released digitally. The book itself was released to help new readers come into the franchise who had just seen Dredd, and I think it succeeds in that aspect. Whilst you shouldn’t expect to find an origin story here, Judge Dredd is one of those characters, like Superman and Batman, who are so famous that they almost don’t need an origin story. (Man of Steel and Batman Begins aside). If you’re a comic book fan, you’ll have no doubt heard of the character.

This series itself is a fun read as long as you don’t take it too seriously. Everything is over the top, and the story itself reads like one of those cheesy action films that you’ll find on DVD for under £10. But it still manages to be a very good read regardless, enhanced by the artwork that whilst may be somewhat weird in certain places, is pretty good in others and very consistent. There are several one-off stories in the graphic novel itself, and if you’re one of the readers who didn’t like the fact that most of the first volumes of the DC New 52 reboot ended halfway through the actual story, offering no real conclusion – then you’ll be pleased to see that there is no overarching storyline that streches beyond the first volume.

The world itself is also pretty strong – the sci-fi creation that is Mega City One is very well established, visualized and drawn by the artists working on the first volume of Judge Dredd. If you’re looking for a fun, pulpy sci-fi graphic novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously and are tired of all the superheroes that DC and Marvel have to offer you, or have seen Dredd and are looking to dive into the comic side of the series, then this volume will be the perfect starting point for you.

VERDICT: 4/5

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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