Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Dredd: Uprise #2 - Rebellion

DREDD: UPRISE No. 2, November 2014
Shifting just 3,561 copies, almost a thousand books less than the title’s first issue, this second instalment of “Dredd: Uprise” definitely creates the aura of a disappointing conclusion upon its first read. But this perception of a rushed or abbreviated ending is almost certainly due to the lead story simply containing a significantly lower page count than its predecessor, and that in order to ‘bulk up’ its size, “Rebellion” have included “a bonus Judge Dredd story from Rob Williams and RM Guera.” Indeed, as the total length of the main storyline is actually fifty pages, then this subconscious feeling of somehow being ‘cheated’ could arguably have been avoided if the adventure had simply been published as two twenty-five page periodicals instead.

Psychology aside, Arthur Wyatt’s writing certainly picks up the pace with Judge Darryl being revealed as the Justice Department traitor. Joseph Dredd’s character also suddenly takes centre stage as the square-jawed lawman mentally picks his way thought the events of the past few days, courtesy of a splendid ‘recap montage’, and grimly realises that rookie Judge Conti is actually a “levelheaded… good Judge.” Throw in the revelation that shadowy citizen Wallace is in fact an undercover street Judge and before the reader knows it John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra's co-creation is up to his visor battling rogue robots and turbo-boosting his lawmaster across flaming sewers packed full of more of the murderous machines.

Somewhat frustratingly, there is no confrontation between Mega-City One’s most feared Street Judge and the portly conspirator Darryl. But the overweight villain’s demise at the hands of his rookie Conti is a somewhat satisfying alternative. Disappointingly the involvement of the Chief Judge behind the entire ‘uprising’ is left open-ended, as the story actually finishes with Dredd informing a recuperating Wallace that she “is promising an investigation at the highest level.” However this does mean that there is plenty of opportunity for a subsequent tale of corruption at the Justice Department’s highest level to be penned in the future; after all this title was being advertised as an “ongoing comic-book sequel”.

Paul Davidson’s artwork, with his clean line-style, really suits this sort of action-packed adventure. Especially when his illustrations are so remarkably well coloured by Chris Blythe. Certainly those who criticised his choice as a replacement for fellow British comic book artist Henry Flint, must have wondered why they were making such a fuss.

The bonus story “The Man Comes Around” seems an odd choice to package alongside this 2012 ‘realistic film version’ of Judge Dredd. Unfortunately this displeasure doesn’t just stem from the fact it features the comic book character, all huge shoulder pads and full-eagle, as sadly the tale's plot, a suicide bomber trying to kill off as many of his accommodation block’s residents before he himself dies, is a rather tried and tested one these days.

In addition, whilst RM Guera’s pencils are reminiscent of an early Mike McMahon, they jar horribly when compared to Davidson’s far more disciplined and polished drawing technique. As a result readers must have been left thinking that with over three hundred issues of “Judge Dredd Magazine” to choose from, “Rebellion” could surely have picked something more appropriate or enjoyable than a reprint from Issue Three Hundred and Forty Four.
The regular cover art of "DREDD: UPRISE" No. 2 by Boo Cook


  1. Fair comments about part two, Simon. I, too, was surprised at the inclusion of that particular bonus story. As you say, with so many great stories to choose from, why pick that one?

    1. Cheers Bryan. Overall I think "Dredd: Uprise" is a cracking read and no doubt makes for a good 50-page tpb. I've now managed to locate a copy of "Dredd: Underbelly" which pre-dates this sequel and features the artwork of Henry Flint, so I'm looking forward to reading this one-shot at some point. Sadly the "IDW Publishing" ongoing series hasn't managed to tempt me with its poor artwork though.

    2. The IDW Dredd comics have been disappointing on the whole. I do buy them every month because I'm such a Dredd fanboy. However, the Dredd spin off strip, Mega City Two was very good and the PSI Judge Anderson mini series was superb. Do check out the Anderson TPB.

    3. Thanks for the recommendation Bryan. I will try and track down a copy of the mini-series as I liked her solo series in "2000 A.D." a lot - though that was 20+ years ago... I've some classic "Judge Dredd" reprints to get through first though.