Thanks to the movie, the Judge Dredd universe has been split into two versions. On the one hand there’s the classic 2000AD version of Dredd, the hard-nosed, jutting-chinned future lawman, who might be tackling a block war one week and an uprising of over-weight future fatties the next. On the other hand there’s the movie version, a darker future where drug cartels and people smugglers fight a continuous, all-out civil war on the streets of Mega City One every single day, and the Judges are barely a cat’s whisker away from a complete collapse of order.
It’s this second, movie-inspired strand of the Dredd-iverse where the three stories in Urban Warfare are set. The first tells the origin story of Ma-Ma, the drug-manufacturing matriarch of the film. The second, Underbelly, is a grim tale of people-smuggling, slavery and drug manufacture.
It’s the third and final story that really grabbed our attention, though. Uprise is a classic Dredd tale, pulling together lots of things that have been brilliant about Dredd stories in the past and rolling them into a wonderful bundle of future crime. With everything from an urban uprising to deep undercover Judges, this story just hits the sweet spot.
The art is good throughout, with a grittier, more realistic take on Dredd than we’re used to from the traditional Dredd comics. The themes are also more adult in nature, discussing concepts like drug use and not covering up adult language with the usual Mega City One expletives of “drokk” and “grud”.
If you like Dredd for its wry humour, there isn’t much here. However, if you’re in it for grown-up sci-fi action, there’s everything you need and more.