Cover Image: Essential Judge Dredd: Origins

Essential Judge Dredd: Origins

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Member Reviews

* I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. All opinions in this review are my own.

This is a nice way to get to know the Judge Dredd universe. It has a nice collection of stories and the drawings are well done. The whole book is in color and the art style remains nice throughout. I must admit I did not read all the stories but I did skim through those that I didn't read. I recoomend this to those that like the Judge Dredd world and those who want to get to know it. Unfortuanly, this was not for me the vilonce was a little to much for me during this time in my life, but it was not gratitus this was just a personal issue not a fault of the content. Those that like action and darker stories would find this a fun read.
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Having read quite some Judge Dredd and 2000 AD in my time, I'm slightly baffled why this book is supposedly a good startingpoint for new readers. To me, the origin of Dredd (and the whole Judges system) would be more interesting to someone who already has read some Dredd - a lore deep cut for the fans, if you will.

Personally, I've always felt that the origin story of Dredd, the Judges and the Mega-Cities almost feels like it should never be told, only hinted at. Chances are any story explaining those origins will disappoint, how could they ever do justice (ha) to the madness of the world of Dredd?

And so it goes with this book - it's a nice enough story, but it can't help coming off as a bit.. pedestrian. The art is pretty good, though.

I wouldn't start with this book, if I was a new reader, but I'm also at a loss to propose another title. Dredd feels so large and chaotic, maybe it's best to just jump in somewhere..?

I've been a great help.
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This was my first foray into the written world of Judge Dredd. This, while not the first book in the series of omnibuses, was a fascinating read. The author was slow to reveal information about the world, and when they did it was natural. As a first time reader, I never felt lost in the story that can commonly happen when a reader jumps into the middle of a series. The plot gets into the thorny subjects of Dredd world like what is the cost of absolute justice as presented in the book and how to deal with idols who break the Law. I enjoyed the comparison of two almost mythical political figures from the old world and how they dealt with their own shortcomings. This was particularly interesting in the frame of the recent political situation. I can’t wait to read more.
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I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't get into it at first.  I started over after asking some questions to my husband about the Dredd world.  It wasn't that I was missing information that made it too difficult to understand, I think I was just missing the investment in the world.  I loved the art and the colors, it made the fact that this was a post-apocalyptic world just stand out so much.  I kept going back and forth with the stories.  Some were just ok while others were so hard to put down.  I did feel like I understood why my husband loves the world of Judge Dredd and 2000AD so much.

Creative Team;
Writers: John Wagner
Artists: Kev Walker and Carlos Ezquerra
Colors: Chris Blythe
Letters: Annie Parkhouse
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I have never read Judge Dredd before, and overall this is a good jumping in point. Not only do we get to see Dredd on a case, but he's also explaining how the Unitdc States turned in to a post apocalyptic land, and how the Justice Department came to be. There are references to things that came before these comics, but there are notes informing you where you can find more on those things, people, and events. 

I enjoyed the story line and it's mix of history and action was very well done. The artwork was far better than expected as well. At just under 200 pages it's a quick and enjoyable read! 

Thank you to Rebellion, 2000AD, John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, Kev Walker, and NetGalley for gifting me a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Essential Judge Dredd: Origins by John Wagner, et al is a free NetGalley e-comicbook that I read in late August.

I had no idea that Judges had been clones of each other, but it makes sense; both because you want clones of the best Judges and because of the outcome of the Judge Dredd sequel. Written as book 3 of 4, the first issue is about Judges pursuing a killer/deliverman of a mysterious package that has a talking mutant embryonic twin doing most of the thinking for him. The second issue is in full color and has to do with the abrupt end of the package’s journey and the bounty value increasing with the amount of dead Judges racking up. During all the later issues, the Judges venture away from the city to go into the wasteland, where nearly everyone is mutated, and the city of Fargoville where Dredd’s genetic parentage came from, where law is carried out by rote and everyone follows very strict rules. Because of the rules being too strict even for Dredd, he and other Judges are put into forced slavery that they shrug off with the help of his genetic father's kin. Amid all this, he recalls his childhood/origins, growing up into becoming a Judge, the changeover of federal government, and the destruction of earth and people by atomic warfare.
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This was provided to me by netgalley for an open and honest review. 


Growing up thanks to my dad I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Judge Dredd, and from time to time I'd sneak a few of his comics, or I'd read the 2000AD encyclopedia to learn more about the world. However this year I've decided to make my way through the comics and read as much as I can, starting with this bindup. 
I'm safe to say this was excellent. The art was gorgeous, and the story was gripping and easy to follow. I think this would be a perfect start for people wondering where to begin with Dredd, as it highlights the world well, while hinting at whats going on behind the scenes. An excellent all round book and I look forward to reading more.
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The golden age of 2000Ad is usually seen in the epics of the 1970s and 1980s, with more modern offerings veering far too much to over the top silliness. Origins is as good as any of the classics with the perfect blend of hard edged dystopia, humour, satire and fantastic art. Never takes itself too serious but is a well balanced telling of how Dredd's system came into being which advances the character arc of Dredd himself. Feels weighty and a lot of fun. Essential for fans of Dredd and 2000AD.
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For those of you who missed it, I am a fan of the Dredd universe, future America gone haywire and post apocalyptic, where the state is run by the Police and as an extention of their peace keeping they have Judges, who also have the right to be jury and executioner all in one package. There is a lot of civil unrest still as not all have accepted the intigration of the Judges, but there is nothing a few broken teeth and a spent bullet or two cannot do to sway people to think twice about standing in the way of The LAW(yes I totally Sylvester Staloned that law just now). Among the Judges the most well known is Dredd, a clone from a legend of a man called Fargo, the person responsible for the idea of the Judge system that died many years ago while on duty. Or that is as much as the story is being told and has been since the death of Fargo. One day a finger turns up with a ransom note and it is up to Dredd and fellow Judges to venture into the wastelands outside Mega City One to locate the owner of said finger, insert suspensful tun tun daaaah, none other than Fargo, the legend himself…

I quite liked this comic. While I thought it was going to be a collection of some of the first Judge Dredd comics I got some thing completely else. A Dredd case, mixed with references to comics that came before. Now, I have to admit, I was not aware that Dredd was ever a clone and as far as Rico, his “twin” clone brother’s history is also quite a mystery to me still, but I can guess at what went down. These revelations as well as Dredd sitting down at a camp fire while waiting on the rondevous time to arrive with the ransom holders, telling his own little story to fellow Judges was done quite well in my opinion. I was afraid that I needed knowledge of the comics that are referenced in some parts of the comic, but I think it was more as a guideline, should some one be interested in reading more. I for one would love to read more Dredd, but availability of these comics are quite scarce and expensive. Origins was the perfect fit for me as I did not feel I needed more knowledge of what went before as well as entertain me. Where it lacked in action, as I remember the Dredds of before were quite violent, this made up in world building and getting possible people new to the franchise eased into the setting. Not a lot of character building to go on, but it’s Dredd after all, where the man cannot make his voice heard, he speaks through his actions, always trying to uphold the LAW!

Art wise this was decent. Not too violent and one can see there was a lot of care that went into getting all to fit nicely in digital format. I had no problems reading this on my phone, although having to zoom in and out everytime I had to turn a page was a bit of a slog, this was a chunky comic to go through with just under 200 pages. By the time I was done I wanted some more and lucky for me, NG gave me another two Dredd books, one I have already reviewed, that takes place even earlier in the Dredd setting before Dredd was even a thing and a Judge Death comic that I would like to look into over the weekend.

I gave Dread Origins a 4 out of 5 on GR. Recommended for the fans, also an easy one for those that have no idea what I was just on about and would like to see for themselves.
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I have always been a fan of Judge Dredd ever since I was a kid, whether it was Movies or comics I just thought Dredd was awesome. Odd as it is I never really knew the Origins of Dredd and I am happy to of been ablebto review this title and flesh out Dredd more than I have known.
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After reading all the American attempts to keep Judge Dredd comics going over the past few years, it was so refreshing to read modern "classic" Dredd in "Origins." The newer books aren't bad, but they utterly pale in comparison. The engaging story by John Wagner, the classic artwork by Carlos Ezquerra and Kev Walker are miles above the average attempts to make Dredd stories more "edgy" or the art unconventional. "Origins" was a compelling, well-thought out story with art that is timeless. I was also taken aback to discover that this tale was originally published in 2006, as the social and political commentary behind feels like it was written today. It's scry how prescient this story was about events that happened in today's world.
Overall, a drokking great read!
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For those who have awareness of the Judge Dredd franchise this is an easy to understand story. For the experts who have followed along since the beginning I would guess that this is a must read for the franchise. I came to this book with an open mind and enjoyed what I read. This books is more of an origin, or review of the Dredd universe. There is plenty of backstory that's revealed in the book. That backstory doesn't overshadow the rest of the book. That bit of skill on the writers part goes a long way to making this book enjoyable.
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This is a decent introduction to the character of Judge Dredd, especially if you're unfamiliar with the character and world of Dredd. The art is superb, but if a first time reader of the series were to pick this up, while it covers a lot of mythos, it's not the best story. Hopefully it whets the appetite of readers to seek out more Dredd!

Essentail Judge Dredd: Origins will be released on August 31st. I received an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.
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A definite part of the appeal of reviewing this volume is that it allows me to revisit a significant part of my childhood development. When as adults, we’re asked to name our formative cultural experiences we by-and-large seem to choose the ones that we deem acceptable, the ones that reflect our current maturity rather than the ones that were vital paths on the way to achieving it.

But I can safely say and proudly say that 2000AD was a key part in that development for me. I would also wish to qualify the above inference that it was somehow an immature text. Yes, 2000AD could be silly and adolescent (what comics aren’t?) but it was also joyously anarchic, slyly satirical and often politically cynical. It was the spirit of punk rendered into black-and-white panels. Yes, it was highly entertaining but it also conveyed an unrepentant anti-authoritarianism, something that I think is part of my emotional DNA to this day.

Which is why Judge Dredd always seemed to be my least favourite 2000AD character (I far preferred the more obviously outsider figures of Nemesis the Warlock, Ro-Jaws and Halo Jones). Yes, there’s pointed satire there about the perceived Americanisation of the UK in the late 70s and also later some quite nuanced discussion of the inherent contradictions in Western democracy but at the end of the day he was still a figure of authority, and a worryingly unquestioning one at that. He was still just a cop.

And yet, there was no denying his popularity. British comics never really embraced superhero culture (and were perhaps the better for it) and Dredd is the closest the UK has come to its own cultural icon like Superman or Batman. It’s to the latter that he possibly owes the closest allegiance, with elements of Dirty Harry and perhaps the Max Rockatansky that we see in the earlier scenes of Mad Max. 

The problem for me is that Dredd had very little internal life, little in the way of character of motivation besides The Law. This was very much part of the point, of course, but I couldn’t help find him a bit boring because of it. Even Batman is relatively knowable through Bruce Wayne. We never see any other side of Dredd save for the one that he presents to the public (usually before he sentences them to life imprisonment).

Not that he doesn’t have backstory. A clone with an evil twin and a long, interconnected history with the first judge Fargo, he certainly has history (what long-running character hasn’t?) but you seldom get any emotional reaction from Dredd to these events. Again, this is part of the point of his character. But it does make for a rather disengaging experience.

So, the Origins volume seemed an ideal opportunity to revisit Dredd and see if I’d been doing him a disservice all these years. It’s part of set of four new volumes that are almost a primer for the forty-odd years of Dredd history that we have now. And reading this one in isolation would be enough to give you a strong idea of what Dredd is all about.

For the larger part of the book, you’re in the hands of John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, two of Dredd’s original creators and it’s written and drawn with a verve and style that could belong to any era of 2000AD’s long life. The future Earth of Mega City One and the Cursed Earth is drawn (and written) evocatively and there’s many nice and loving details that make this world come alive. The late, great Ezquerra was the first artist to illustrate Dredd and there’s probably no one better at capturing this brutal, yet often surreal, world. The other main artist, Kev Walker, another 2000AD stalwart also does great work here. He’s a good choice too, in my opinion, because I’ve always felt that his style, while being very much his own, still manages to evoke a sense of the other classic Dredd artists like Mick McMahon and Cam Kennedy.

The story itself has a nice epic sweep, combining a ‘present day’ mission to recover Judge Fargo’s cryogenically frozen body from kidnappers in the Cursed Earth with detailed flashbacks of the history of the creation of the Judges and how the social structures that we recognise in our world mutated into the world of Dredd. For the large part, this is done with scary credibility. These stories were originally published in 2000AD in 2006 and 2007 but the scenes of the capricious and insane President Boothe and scenes such as the storming of the US Capitol have an alarming dose of premonition to them. One can only hope that Wagner is wrong about much of what happens next because you can count me out. 

Similarly, the early days of the Judges, when they resemble less the slightly cartoonish and satirically ironic figures we’ve come to know and are more like modern riot cops. It’s a fascinating middle-period and one which I’d love to have seen in more detail (which is why I’ve also mentally put Rebellion’s Dreadnoughts volume on my wishlist).

If you’re a Dredd fan, then the chances are you’ll have read these stories already but if you’re a lapsed one, like me, then it offers the perfect chance to catch up on a lot of lore in a concise and exciting way. And if you’re a newbie, there’s no better way to jump in and get up to speed. Highly recommended.
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So yeah, gather around friends and family, find a spot beside the bonfire to keep warm. Get a marshmallow to roast as ol’ Uncle Casey tells you a scary story of the goat man while the fire keeps away all the creepy creatures of the night. That’s the vibe I got from this book dudes. Except sub out friends and family with a posse of Judges, the bonfire with flaming rain, the creatures of night with roving mutant gangs, and the goat man story with a tale of how the Judges and the Justice System came to be.

Yeah so, we start off with these grodie mutants bringing a package to Mega City One. It contains a genetic sample of the founder of the Judges, the Father of Justice, Eustace Fargo, who is supposed to beburied in a grand tomb at the Hall of Justice. Turns out, he ain’t, and he ain’t dead either. They lost his suspended in cryostasis body ages ago and have been putting up this sham ever since. Some bros out in the Cursed Land now have him and are demanding an insane ransom for his return. This Fargo dude is pretty much Jesus mixed with RBG, so the Judges will do anything to get him back. Dredd gets the task and rounds up a crew to get Fargo back.

Anyways, the Judges have built this cult of personality around this Fargo guy and a lot of it horseshit. Dredd was cloned from the DNA of Fargo, knew him before he died, and knows the truth of it all. So, we jump between Dredd and the Judges fighting one gang of mutants after another, as he tells the origin story. We learn how the Justice System is created, how the Atomic War starts, how the Mega Cities survived, and how Dredd is created. Which also gives us wicked action of pre-teen Dredd taking to the streets and fucking up US military crooks.

But yeah, this is a reprint of a story from about 15 years back, but you couldn’t really tell. I honestly didn’t know that until after I finished the story. The amount of things I don’t know could fill a quantum hard drive, but my point is that this easily could have been written today. Power-mad politicians over-reaching to serve themselves only to fuck up the people they’re supposed to serve is pretty much a trope at this time. Even more so today than when Wagner and Ezquerra created this a decade and a half ago. Sad thing is that it’s reality and not the Dredd universe.

Dredd’s exposition was a little forced at times. Fitting in tidbits of the origin story as they were obliterating mutants. I could have used more of a standalone prequel rather than the bouncing around. That said, I still liked it, dudes. You know what you’re signing up for if you read a Dredd story. Intense action, violence, and the dreadful fear of a future police state. Dredd’s a fan, Fargo’s waffling, and I’m sure as fuck against it. I would be so fucked in this universe! “Citizen! You’ve been found guilty of urination in public. Sentence is five years in the iso-cubes. Control, schedule a pickup.” I’d have been thrown in the iso-cubes so many times for all the stupid shit I do daily. Oh man, the horror!

Anyways, that’s about all I got. Adios amigos!
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I guess if anybody was going to learn about Judge Dredd in the modern day, it'd be here. It's a pretty good introduction and allows new readers to look back on some of the older comics without it being a requirement. All the while taking a rather grim-dark look at how the world of Dredd came to be.

It's not really the origin story of Joe Dredd, but he is tied to the overall origin. His genetic source Eustace Fargo is practically godlike in how people look at him, considering he's the one who set up the Justice System judges live by. Which in turn lead to the formation of the Mega-Cities. All of which deal with the complications and levels of worship surrounding Fargo, including how people want to tell narratives and myths that obscure hard truths. He's like the Pope and savior mixed into one in this case. And much like either one, he's really only human who did the best he could in bad situations to try and make some good out of things.

Because when the catalyst for the post-apocalypse is a president who makes Donald Trump look like a happy clown, what's the best scenario? A legacy that leaves a lot of humanitarian efforts feeling like a pipe dream?
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A fantastic visual journey of the Judge Dredd character and world, with an exciting dystopian storyline and appealing styles of art. I’ve been familiar with Dredd for a while and would recommend this as a revisit or introduction to the character.
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With Judge Dredd having clocked up thirty years as one of Britain's premier comic anti-heroes, in 2007, it was decided to bring together two of the strip's founding fathers - writer, John Wagner and Spanish-born artist, Carlos Ezquerra - and get them to create a story which would fill in the blanks still remaining in our knowledge of Dredd and Dredd's world.
How did Dredd after his brother Rico come to be cloned in the first place? How did Mega City One come about? How did the Judges come into being? What became of 'father of justice' Chief Judge Fargo? What happened to US President Booth (a sort of more stable Donald Trump) after he started the 2070 Atomic Wars? Why does Dredd have such a big chin? All but one of these questions is answered!
In truth, this isn't really the best of Dredd. But it nevertheless remains a fitting tribute to the great comic artist, Carlos Ezquerra who died in 2018.
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My first look at these Essential Judge Dredd compilations might appear to be how this character, that character and the other character all got their debut appearances.  That's not the case, for this is a new print of a story called 'Origins' from 2006/7.  And to be frank it's not the best ever story from this world – it has a lot of mythos to cover, but if it thinks it's an event book it's a fairly turgid one, full of awkward monologue from Dredd himself, as he reveals the truth of a lot of things when travelling through the Radlands with a handful of colleagues – and a fortune owner's fortune in ransom payment...

What the flashbacks are concerned with are the very birth of the whole Judge system, coinciding as that was with the birth of Dredd himself AND the creation of the Mega-City, with the shields protecting them from the Great Atom War.  The current action, with the guys in this small convoy, takes us from one hillbilly gang of Muties descended from part of Dredd's bloodline to another, before the creators are clearly heard saying to themselves 'look, there's no escaping it, we need to just have Dredd splurge countless pages of exposition at the reader, in case people unhappy with the lack of backstory over the last two decades of 2000AD actually still worry about that'.

And it is a splurge, brightened up only by the sight of Dredd and Rico in full yet miniaturised body armour, going out and doing their thing while barely into their teens.  That is, at least, until the final quarter, when both sides to the story are allowed to dovetail a bit more satisfyingly, and we can have some action.  Well-drawn action, of course, this being by the late, great Carlos Ezquerra.  The final thing of note is how remarkable it seems that it takes a British author at a British title to have something with the oomph to need the entire police force assaulting the White House – this certainly has a lot more scale than many an American title.  But I'm sure they would have known to cut the yack and padding from this, whose verbosity certainly lets it down.  Perhaps three and a half stars.
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There are three types of Dredd story

The ones where he's just being himself, serving the law with a pithy quip at the end of the strip

The ones where something is happening, but tomorrow he'll go back to patrolling the streets like nothing happened.

And then the best ones, the ones where something happens that makes Dredd question something about himself or something about why he does what he does.  This is the story of how the judges came to power in Mega city one, why they did what they did, why they had to do what they did, and how, ultimately...

They may have been wrong in what they did...

Superb story, brilliantly told, essential reading for any Dredd fan.
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