Review - Judge Dredd: Anderson Psi-Division #1

"Standard procedure is to call it in, no matter how vague it may be."

Life in Mega-City One certainly isn't glamorous by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it's a life. Things aren't much better for the Judges who patrol the streets and uphold the law; a task that's further complicated when the Psi-Division is involved. Anderson is one of those in that division and her tales are recounted by IDW in Judge Dredd: Anderson Psi-Division #1. The issue is written by Matt Smith, illustrated by Carl Critchlow and lettered by Shawn Lee.

Mega-City One is a big city, rife with tons of judges who claim themselves to be the law. In the Psi-Division resides Cassandra Anderson and there's something fascinating about her early days in said division. Now, in "King of the Six Sectors," Anderson is awakened from an unusually strong vision of an attack on the Megapolitan Museum showcasing Cursed Earth artifacts. From there it's a little more law-breaking and general anger towards Judges.

Anderson gets a lot of attention in the first issue, presenting readers with a complete picture of the character. It's done very well by Smith, delving slightly into her early childhood and early days on the force as a means of setting up the present. The story plays out something like an episode of Almost Human in some ways, largely around the concept of a heist in a futuristic world being investigated by the police. Sure, it's true to the Judge Dredd canon, but there's a sense about it that feels in line with such a universe. And it's not to say that Smith's script isn't original; rather, it feels fresh in a familiar way.

Mega-City One has a certain dystopian allure to it and Critchlow captures that very effectively in the book through the character illustrations. Those characters are illustrated in a way that's not as harsh as Mega-City One itself though, preventing the book from falling into the same despair as the city itself. He uses an interesting panel layout that assists in displaying those characters, making the Judges feel vulnerable even when equipped in their full body armor. The panel color fills are non-traditional when it comes to Judge Dredd, reflecting a pretty vibrant array of colors that makes the characters pop.

Judge Dredd: Anderson Psi-Division #1 is a pretty solid book all-around. It doesn't require the reader to be completely versed in the world of Judge Dredd, but it does offer some pretty unique insights to the intensity of that world. Smith's script is paced very evenly and gives the reader some insights into one of the Judges not named Dredd. Critchlow's illustrations are strong and effectively convey the emotion tied to the discoveries Judge Anderson makes throughout the course of the issue. Judge Dredd: Anderson Psi-Division #1 is a pretty good read that Judge Dredd fans and newbies alike will definitely want to check out.

Judge Dredd: Anderson Psi-Division #1 is in stores now with interiors below.