Written by: Matt Smith
Art by: Simon Coleby

Don’t let the “Year One” moniker fool you into thinking this series is a quiet, intimate character piece. Judge Dredd: Year One #3 continues to boast a loud threat, post-apocalyptic action, psychic entities, along with a touch of character building here and there.

The way in which scribe Matt Smith humanizes Dredd for this mini is suiting for the character; he doesn’t show a non-existent sappy side, but brings out the arrogance of the character with lines like, “I’m no rookie.” The humanity in Dredd comes from the idea of a black-and-white, non-believer, who ventures into a world that defies his beliefs, headfirst into the unknown.

My only gripe about the story is the lack of any characters in Mega City One that make me genuinely concerned for the city. Everyone is so hardened, that it would have benefitted the story to highlight some average citizens to give the threat some more emotional weight.

The art team portrays a jagged and edgy Mega City One, but doesn’t get bogged down with muddiness to create the effect. The way Simon Coleby casts silhouettes of characters with his inks and Leonard O’Grady brings the smokiness to the alternate-reality metropolis, creates plenty of geographical depth.

Judge Dredd: Year One #3 is a feat in that it manages to give a gloomy world plenty of character and thrill. Though it doesn’t have an obvious emotional core, it delivers on its imaginative world, strong threats and intriguing characters.

Score: 8.4/10