Comic Scene Review
from Judge Dredd Megazine
By Kenneth Niemand, Dave Taylor & Jim Campbell
Review by Luke Williams
Taking well established characters and placing them in different significantly different universes or time periods is nothing new. DCs Elseworlds became a massive hit before over exposure and some laboured scenarios. 2000AD has dabbled in this concept in the past, most notably in the “Alternity” Special back in 1995. “Megatropolis” is the first expanded “Elseworlds” of the Dreddverse. An art deco/ futurist version of Mega City One, recasting major figures from Dredd’s world into a politically corrupt system in an environment echoing Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
Amy Jara is a new transfer following a controversial shooting; she’s been partnered with Officer Rico Dredd, as popular as Jara and known as the “choirboy” for playing by the book and seemingly being the only incorruptible officer in the precinct.
Their first case is tracking down a mysterious vigilante who is battling the mob and their political and police partners. Jara and Dredd’s investigations are hampered by the amoral Captain Caleb Calhoun. Luckily they also have allies, such as District Attorney McGruder, gossip columnist Bernice Hershey and union boss John Clay.
Since his arrival in the Prog’ a few years ago the mysterious and pseudonymous Kenneth Niemand has been shot in the arm. Seemingly coming from nowhere (and the subject of endless speculation as to their identity) (?)he is one of the new writers who “gets” Dredd, particularly the all important tone. Whoever they are, they quite the find for the Prog and the Meg.
Dave Taylor’s art is a wonder to behold, beautiful line work, sumptuously and atmospherically coloured, with a wonderful and believable design sense. Megatropolis is a very different environment to MC1, but the creators succeed in making it equally oppressive.
Niemand and Taylor should be lauded on their elegant and logical reinterpretations of the Dredduniverse cast. Their characterisations lead on from their “real world” behaviours, but aren’t predictable. Half the fun of these alternate universe stories is spotting the Easter eggs and waiting for certain characters to arrive, but this can also feel contrived, not so here.
There are reinterpretations of Dreddverse characters going all the way back to the early days of the Prog, so much so that some readers under 40 may miss the references. Despite this, you don’t need to a be a long term Dredd aficionado to enjoy the book, it stands up well on its own, a noir / hardboiled detective story from the 30’s, redolent of a science fiction “L.A. Confidential” or a retro “Blade Runner”.
This is a collection of the first book in what will become a series; get in on the ground floor.
“Megatropolis” will be released by Rebellion on the 13th of October. For more details see the 2000AD website