Cover Image: Dreadnoughts: Breaking Ground

Dreadnoughts: Breaking Ground

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Member Reviews

I had a hard time putting this graphic novel down. We see the beginnings of a new form of justice taking hold, and many people aren’t happy about it. When a boy gets kidnapped we see the judges take on this case and try to find out who is behind it. As this graphic novel comes to a close it is clear these judges aren’t going anywhere.
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This is a collection of prequel stories in the 2000 AD universe. It tells stories of the time before Judge Dredd when the transition to the new Justice department was taking place. It was interesting to see the changes that were talking place that led to the world of mega cities and iso-blocks. It was interesting to see how people we’re dealing with the changes and while there were a number of people railing against the loss of constitutional rights, the more interesting parts were the ways some people seemed to buy into the judge system. They saw some of the problems it solved and were able to make the justification of rights loss to what they gained. It was good to see how they would try to solve problems in the system by going to the extreme creating new ones. A common phrase in the stories are that judges aren’t a cure they are a symptom of a deeper problem with the country. I find this to be especially fascinating. In one of the stories, we see a story of some kind of twisted redemption of a reformed criminal that becomes a Judge to dole out justice that would have condemned them should they have met it at the time. Overall, I give this book a 4 out of 5.
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A short while back I reviewed Judge Dredd: Origins, which spent much of its time laying out how the absolute power of Dredd and his fellow judges came to be. I commented at the time that this was really effectively done, was very intriguing and that I was left wanting to know more about this particular thread of the story. Dreadnoughts: Breaking Ground offers the opportunity to do just that.

The volume offers two stories previously published in Judge Dredd Megazine and which feature these precursors to the Judges proper. Of the two, the title story is the most effective. It dwells on the rookie days of Veranda Glover, one of the first of the new breed of Judges. It’s a tale of social unrest and political chicanery in a world that’s only tangentially different to our own. John Higgins’ inky arty style is particularly good for evoking this stark, often murky world. 

Glover too is an interesting and well-written character. While she has some of the same uncompromising solidity as Dredd himself, she is not nearly so cartoonish and she is nicely and humanly flawed. I finished Breaking Ground very much wanting to spend more time in her company and to learn both more about her past and her future. 

The second story, Paradigm Shift, was not quite so compelling to me. The action is split between two time periods/cases with Dredd in Mega City One investigating the misappropriation of canisters of a chemical weapon, a crime that has its roots in the earlier days of the Judges, and one being investigated by Judge Deacon. There’s lots of interesting stuff in this story too but I found it less successful because the brighter, more cartoonish, world of Dredd is directly juxtaposed with the grittier world of the near-future and I can’t help but feel that both suffer by the comparison. The satirical absurdity of Mega City One ends up feeling exaggerated and the social commentary of the Dreadnought world ends up feeling rather blunted. Both worlds require a reading adjustment on the part of the reader and asking them to constantly jump between the two ends up feeling rather jarring.

Deacon too is a less interesting, less conflicted, character than Glover and falls a bit too much into the superhuman man-as-inhuman-law-machine mould of Dredd himself. There doesn’t seem character delineation between them and Deacon, in particularly, sometimes feels like a Dredd prototype rather than a being in his own right. And Jake Lynch’s wonderful but much more stylised art (that’s often reminiscent of previous Dredd greats like Ian Gibson, Mick McMahon or Cam Kennedy) serves the more colourful, OTT Dredd sequences well but robs the Deacon ones of their contemporaneity. 

Also included are the opening chapters of a novella, written, as both the strip stories were, by Mike Carroll. While the prose is somewhat workmanlike, it’s an interesting premise, dealing with the first murder of a Judge, and serving up more of the political and organisational tensions more present in Breaking Ground. 

Overall, Dreadnoughts lacks the satirical savagery and political acuity that was present in Origins and almost offers case studies to that mythology rather than adding to it. But these two and a bit stories are a lot of fun and I’d happily see more from the Dreadnoughts in the future.
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Overall, the stories are a fairly quick read. The comics are fast paced with good art. As I mentioned, we get a blend of police procedural and dystopia. "The Avalanche," the prose piece excerpted, is pretty good too but the excerpt ends as the pace starts to pick up. The works are good, but I would like to see more of the series to see if they get any better. For now, I do like them. Fans of the Judge Dredd series may be interested in this series. However, this series is accessible enough you can pick it up and enjoy it with minimal or no knowledge of Judge Dredd. 

For libraries with graphic novel collections, I'd consider this as optional. In my situation, I'd acquire it for our library if a patron requested it. 

(Full detailed review on my blog. Review goes live on week book is released)
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The year is 2035 and American society is crumbling.  The police force becomes judge and jury.  This is the story of how the world of Judge Dredd got its start.  I loved this so much!! The story drew me n and I was hooked.  Art was so pretty.  I can't wait to get my hands on more Dreadnoughts stuff.

Creative Team:
Writer: Mike Carroll
Artists: John Higgins and Jake Lynch
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Author Michael Carroll, John Higgins and Sally Jane Hurst's latest work is a must read for all the graphic novel lovers. I absolutely loved the storyline and presentation. The author's command over language and narration is evident by the way the story has been presented before the readers with utmost care to and attention to details. Overall, it was a great experience. I highly recommend this work and give it full 5 stars.

Happy Reading
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A prequel, of where the Judges started, and how that progressed, how law and order was steadily made more intense, how stronger responses were required for worse situations, and how those things progressed.  This excels in several areas, the artwork is superb, the dark tones, the implication that things are dark throughout, and that they'll continue to get darker as time goes on.  The writing is sublime, the words chosen to emphasize what is being illustrated, it speaks to the pairing of the minds that went into making this the story that it is, that everything compliments everything else.  There's a sense of mounting dread (not Dredd) throughout the book as things keep getting slowly worse despite all best efforts, and I'd be interested to see where it went in future installments.

The second story and then the written story that follow as part of the same book did not hold my attention to the same degree, but being honest, this book is worth the price for the first story alone.
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It’s been a while since I’ve read 2000AD or any Judge Dredd story, so I’ll admit to being completely out of touch with events, but this new storyline relating the origins of the Judges feels like a breath of fresh air. 
There are interesting themes in this concept - basically, violence breeds violence - and the transition towards a new Justice System with Judges as judge, jury and sometimes executioner is portrayed as painful and protracted. Yet the Judges maintain they are acting for the good of the people. 
The first story is very well drawn and quite gloriously violent, featuring a female Judge searching for a missing child and not letting anyone or anything get in her way. The story is brutal and visceral, with art to match. 
The second story has two simultaneous story threads in different time periods, but they don’t really gel. The story as a whole is okay, and it does a good job as a prologue story, but it’s not a classic. Also this story isn’t as well drawn as the previous tale, but it isn’t terrible. 
The book is rounded off with a text story about Judges taking over policing in a small American town. The story is excellent and gives a insight into the power that Judges hold under the new justice system. 
On the downside, the satirical humour of the best Judge Dredd stories is regrettably absent from this book but I like the overall concept of the birth of the Judges and such satire probably wouldn’t suit it. But, having said that, it is rather puzzling that the stories are described as being the origins of America’s “descent into fascism” as if it’s a bad thing, but isn’t that what Judge Dredd has always been about? It seems a bit late to be developing a conscience after glorifying the violent actions of the Judges since the 1970s. 
Despite these misgivings, the stories are hard-hitting, thought-provoking and skilfully created, and they may well have rekindled my love of 2000AD.
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Link to my blog can be found below. Thank you NG and Rebellion for accepting my request for this book.
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Two stories from the world of the Judge Dredd prequels they're churning out these days.  On the evidence of this and the "Origins" wannabe-event-book, I'll stick with the real thing.  From the Megazine we have an early Judge on the hunt for a kidnapped child, while 2000AD is represented by a disjointed, dual-narrative concerning an old tablet identifying caches of nerve gas.  Both books want to show the populace angry about Judges and their slightly draconian ways, and venting that anger with crimes and violence, but they do so with none of the humour needed, and it's just a cyclical argument borne from "Origins" that doesn't really go anywhere.  It certainly doesn't entertain much, that's for sure.  So you're left with the bare bones of the future action, upon which you don't really need a whole misguided layer of "ooh isn't American society bad, but look, wouldn't the Judges make it worse?!".  Two and a half stars.
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I have always been a fan of the Judge Dredd comics, being both a fan of cyberpunk as well as British satire. However, the premise sometimes cries out for a more serious take on the subject. The best Judge Dredd stories are not the ones that deal with Judge Death or the weird almost comical cariactures but handle the fundamental premise of the series seriously: what happens when the law an authoritarianism becomes an end to itself. My favorite of the Dredd stories is the AMERICA arc and all of its horrors as well as the flashbacks to the destruction of American democracy. This one treats its premise as seriously as possible with the transformation of American policing and prisons to the horrors of Dredd's world. The art is beautiful and the story is dark as well as sad. This isn't a "fun" comic but it's not meant to be.
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Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC !!!

I liked this comic, it has a very interesting premise about judges, but I do not have any knowledge of the main story to give a perfect review on this comic. Specially where the law is not perfect and probably before law enforcement had full transformation. I will pick up previous stories and continue and may re read this sometimes.
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This one was pretty hard for me to get through. I honestly just found it pretty boring and I did not enjoy the ending.
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"Nothing is illegal for those who make the law."
Seeing the universe of Judge Dredd collide with our own in a story set barely a handful of years into the future brings the horror and violence of Dredd's world into stark relief. Serving as a sort of origin of the Judges this story shows how few steps it would take for the for-profit prisons of today to turn into the nightmarish iso-cubes of science fiction.
The art style is nicely reminiscent of classic 2000AD artists of the past like Alan Davis or Carlos Ezquerra (although the main story features a few too many close-up shots of the protagonist's impossibly round behind; just to remind you that this is all aimed at teenage boys, I suppose). This volume features two complete stories and a short text piece with the main story due to be continued in the next volume.
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An excellent look at the early years of the Judges. America is descending into anarchy, and in a reactionary move the Judges have been established. Still adjusting to this new reality of law enforcement, we get to see a particularly.... *dedicated* Judge conduct a missing child investigation. Carroll gives readers a great, short insight into the tensions of this near-future: chillingly plausible, given the past 10 or so years.

The artwork is great, and perfectly suited to the story. The second story included in the book isn't as good, but still an interesting Judge Dredd tale.

Definitely recommended.
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