If you’re like me and you absolutely loved last year’s “Judge Dredd” adaptation Dredd a.k.a. Dredd 3D then you too have been waiting, probably not patiently, but waiting none-the-less for a sequel announcement. So far the closest we’ve gotten is the official petition to get another film made and this, “Dredd: Underbelly.” A one-shot comic book published by 2000 A.D. magazine: the original publisher of the “Judge Dredd” comics. If you have been reading IDW Publishing’s new series (which is actually pretty great) this is not tied to that either, it’s strictly a sequel to the film; existing outside of both the 2000 A.D. and IDW continuity.
The quality of this comic book is really quite great. Some serious love went into this. Knowing that “Judge Dredd” creator John Wagner was quite pleased with Dredd it’s easy to see that 2000 A.D. wanted to do right by him as well as the film makers. The writing by Arthur Wyatt and artwork by Henry Flint fit very well into the world of Dredd. I thought it was a little weird that Flint didn’t really go with Karl Urban’s likeness for Dredd, he looked a bit more like the traditional drawings of Judge Dredd, but that’s just me nitpicking. The art is really great overall and like I said really fits in perfectly with the film’s environments. Normally I don’t go into the technical production of a comic, but I was really impressed by the pages and cover. All are printed on heavy-duty magazine paper, a quality that’s even greater than most mainstream comic books, but being that it’s just a one-shot, I’m sure 2000 A.D. put a little extra into it. Good job all around.
Picking up only a few weeks after the film’s events the plot follows Judges Dredd and Anderson as they must team up again to solve a mystery and murders involving a new drug “Psych” that’s been filling the void left by “Slo-Mo” and the deceased druglord/gang leader Ma-Ma. This crosses over with missing/dead “Muties”, the mutated people that are unfortunate enough to live in “The Cursed Earth”, the irradiated wasteland that once was the United States outside of the massive Mega-Cities. Many Muties that have been trying to smuggle themselves into Mega City One are vanishing. Normally these transports are searched by Judges and the Muties are sent packing, but once in a while a Judge will be paid off and allow the illegal immigrants into the city’s walls.
While I really enjoyed reading this and it made me yearn not only for a film sequel, but to watch the first film again, the story was a bit weak by the time it came to a close. And if you know “Judge Dredd” there are many issues that were very light and very quick little crime stories, but being that this issue was put out to kind of get the masses excited for another film, I expected a bit more from the plot. It was a quick, consolidated story, but could have gone a little deeper into details. Still a decent read. In the end, if another film or films is made this is a good bridge between parts 1 and 2.
I am happy to report that the first printing of “Dredd: Underbelly” actually sold out in 48 hours, meaning that every single copy that was printed was bought up by comic shops around the world. A second printing is already in the works. I am hoping that between the stellar sales of the book and the unbelievable numbers that the sales from the bluray and dvd brought in, along with the high rental/streaming rates from Netflix will allow for a film sequel to get made. Unfortunately, while the film was reviewed quite well across the board, it was a total bomb at the box office. Probably due to the bad taste left in everyone’s mouth from Stallone’s 90’s flop Judge Dredd.
“Dredd: Underbelly” is available wherever comic books are sold and if you want to get in on the sequel petition you can go here: http://2000adonline.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=a6e40236aa24d482cfff600d2&id=62906ebdcc and don’t forget to like the “Make A Dredd Sequel” Facebook page. It really looks like the petition is helping to get the ball rolling.