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Is It Good? Judge Dredd Year One #4 Review

The prequel Judge Dredd series comes to a close this week and not only ups the ante, but also is self-contained enough to not mess up the history of the character. How does it read as a single issue? Is it good?

Judge Dredd Year One #4 (IDW)

Check out our thoughts on the first issue of this series here.

The beauty of this issue is that you don’t need to have read the first three to enjoy it. In fact, it has bookends that help sell the emotional loss for Dredd which helps make this story enjoyable for anyone. For those of you just joining us, a fresh from the academy Judge Dredd has entered an alternate universe Mega-City One to figure out who is causing psi-outbreaks. This city is in shambles, as we learn psi-powered children have grown up and taken over. Oh, and to get the full weight of the conclusion know that Dredd doesn’t agree with psi-powered cops being part of the force.

I wish all vehicles had turbo boost.

Writer Matt Smith opens the issue with Dredd working the beat with a man named Rico 10 years prior to the story. It then quickly cuts to some exposition catch up and finally to the alternate universe. Dredd is new to the scene but still trained, which is a delicate thing to balance. Smith does a good job showing Dredd’s newness without making him a complete failure and losing the audience. I won’t ruin it here, but let’s just say he messes up enough so that we know Dredd wasn’t always the best there is at what he does.

Joe Dredd.

As far as conclusions go this story has everything you’d want. A bit of action, a clever concept about universe-travelling thugs and an explanation for the psi-outbreaks. It even has Dredd learn a powerful lesson about psi-powered cops.

Artist Simon Coleby also continues to do a stellar job when it comes to inventive settings and gloomy inks to help sell the atmosphere. I do think he uses too many close ups and medium shots, which tends to make the action a bit confused, but generally it works for the crime level aspect they’re going for here.

Now that’s pretty.


  • Dredd is green and it’s interesting
  • Awesome backgrounds and setting
  • Action can be confused

IDW has clearly shown a prequel type series for Judge Dredd is an interesting one. To see a fallible Dredd is interesting, especially considering how often he’s perfect. What really sells this series though was the high level concept concerning universe-hopping bandits. That allowed for the big reveal to give the story a bit of a detective and not your average shoot em up. I’d give this series a 8.5 overall.

Is It Good?

Yes. Just enough interesting concepts and art to keep you happy.


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