Review - Judge Dredd: Toxic #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"Oh, yeah, it's better here in the city, but only just."

Judge Dredd knows how to judge: be cold and precise. That works for most of the inhabitants of Mega City One he comes across. In Judge Dredd: Toxic #1 from IDW Publishing though, the judgment approach might not be the best. The issue is written by Paul Jenkins, illustrated by Marco Castiello, ink assists by Vincenzo Acunzo, colored by Jason Millet and lettered by Shawn Lee.

The death of a genetically modified toxic waste worker leads to a startling discovery that fuels anti-immigration fervor and threatens to spill over into the streets of Mega-City One.

A day in the life of a Judge is rife with angry citizens, mass protests and an impending danger--all of which Jenkins relies on in the first issue. Mega City One has always been a character in the series as a whole which gives Jenkins plenty to play with in the issue. While Judge Dredd remains the star of the show, Jenkins allows other players to have a say as well which helps flesh out the universe a bit more and make the story feel a bit different from other stories about the titular judge. Jenkins' script flows very well, effectively establishing the new threat that the Judges must contend with and how the greater Mega City One will likely be affected. The issue's ending provides enough of a cliffhanger where the reader doesn't know exactly where the story will go next.

Castiello handles the art duties relatively easily. Judge Dredd maintains his typical, square-jawed profile while the other judges also have rather intimidating presences as well. There's a good contrast between the normal inhabitants of the Spillover and the "modified" inhabitants which Castiello leans on for showcasing the effects of the new threat. Panels are laid out in a simple presentation where Castiello blackens the gutters to further embellish their presence. And many panels focus on characters speaking to one another; Castiello uses these moments of close-ups of all of the citizens. Millet's colors are surprisingly vibrant considering relatively sad state of Mega City One.

Judge Dredd: Toxic #1 is another solid entry in the character's mythos. Judge Dredd is facing an opponent that's very different from previous opponents and will require a different tact. Jenkins' script is clean and easy, hitting the right story notes for establishing the narrative. Castiello's artwork is more than sufficient for capturing the action as Judge Dredd investigates the latest assault on Mega City One. Judge Dredd: Toxic #1 is a new day in the famous judge's life that could be pretty exciting.

Judge Dredd: Toxic #1 is available now.