Review: Judge Dredd #1

Judge Dredd #1 cover
Cover by Brian Bolland

Judge Dredd #1
Published by Eagle and © IPC, November 1983

Title: “The Coming of Judge Death”
Synopsis: Judge Death, a warped analogue of Mega-City judges like Dredd, comes from another dimension to sentence the living.

Writer: John Wagner
Artist: Brian Bolland

Review: At 13, this reviewer was mesmerized by this cover. Despite having only a vague awareness of Judge Dredd, this comic was a must buy. Inside was a gateway to another world: a smart, satirical take on a post-apocalyptic, neo-fascist America – all drawn beautifully by Brian Bolland.


Title: “The Forever Crimes”
Synopsis: Judge Dredd uncovers a plot involving a cryogenics specialist who is using the near dead in a blackmail scheme.

Writer: John Wagner
Artist: Brian Bolland

Review: While not on par with the terrific Judge Death story, this short tale shows Dredd is tough on crime, too.


Title: “Punks Rule!”
Synopsis: Dredd takes down a gang of lawless punks all by himself – just to prove a point!

Writer: John Wagner
Artist: Brian Bolland

Review: The weakest of the three stories, but still very good. It helps establish both the Mega-City environment and Dredd’s arsenal.

Grade (for the whole issue): A+

Second opinion: Recommended by The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003.

Cool factor: Great cover! Great story! Great art!

Notable: The are also two text features: the four-page “The Judge Dredd Story” and a single page of “Eagle Talk.” … According to the Grand Comics Database, these stories originally appeared in the British tabloid 2000 A.D. in Progs. #110 (“Punks Rule!”), #120 (“The Forever Crimes”) and #149-151 (“The Coming of Judge Death”).

Character quotable: “I have come to judge thiss ccity! To bring you lawthe law of Death!” – Judge Death

A word from the artist: “I’m a little disturbed because of the kids who are reading about this character and think of him as a great hero-figure. They think of him as the good guy. If they think of this as the way people ought to behave – that’s real worrying.” – Brian Bolland, talking about Judge Dredd in Comics Scene #2, March 1982

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on July 10, 2009.

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