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First look: Wander back to Mega-City One in IDW's new Judge Dredd: False Witness #1

By Jeff Spry
Dredd Hero

Pounding the pavement upholding his harsh brand of justice in Mega-City One, the badass lawman with an attitude, Judge Dredd, is charging into a bold new four-issue miniseries for IDW Publishing titled Judge Dredd: False Witness on Mar. 25 — and SYFY WIRE is serving up an exclusive five-page preview of the premiere issue. 

Penned by the Eisner-nominated and Glyph Award-winning comics and TV writer Brandon Easton (Star Trek: Year Five, Transformers, Agent Carter) and partnered up with artist Kei Zama Death’s Head, Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye) in her impressive Judge Dredd debut, this latest case for the grim judicial officer created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra hits all the dystopian high notes you'd expect.

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The plotline finds Justice Academy drop-out Mathias Lincoln settled into his comfortable, well-paid life employed as a special courier for Mega-City One’s most elite and influential citizens. However, once he discovers a horrifying conspiracy involving missing mutant children spanning from the hostile Cursed Earth and up to the lofty seats of power, Mathias becomes an unlucky target pursued by legendary street cop, Judge Dredd!

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Easton is a longtime Dredd fan and here he honors the 44-year legacy started by Wagner and Ezquerra in the British comics anthology 2000 AD.

"Judge Dredd is the perfect symbol of the fascist world he occupies, and I want to capture the essence of how he was portrayed in the early years of the 2000 AD comics," Easton tells SYFY WIRE. "My template for Dredd is from the classic John Wagner story 'America' that explored the death of democracy in a world that no longer understood the importance of proper political representation. Dredd was a tool of the power structure — he believes that he's doing the right thing in preserving the status quo.

"Dredd, as a 'true believer' character, is endlessly fascinating to me because there's considerable opportunity to write stories about his reaction to our contemporary concepts of liberty, justice and individual freedom," he adds. "As the world changes, Dredd remains essentially the same, and it gets scary when his position no longer appears terrifying but a reasonable reaction to crime and punishment."  

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Zama's kinetic pencils and muted colors lend a perfect balance to Easton's topical storytelling. 

"Kei Zama's art is gritty but also technically precise in the sense that she can draw street-level violence and complex mechanical imagery with the same level of detail," Easton notes. "Her cityscapes are gorgeous and she brings Mega-City One to life in ways that I couldn't imagine. I am very happy with her work and can't wait until everyone can check it out!" 

For faithful fans of Dredd, Easton promises readers will get a politically-relevant story in the midst of the teeming, relentless oppression of Mega-City One. 

"False Witness is the story of how the system fails almost everyone in Mega-City One except for the extremely rich and powerful," he explains. "The socio-economic elite population of Dredd's world have been able to commit disgusting crimes without prosecution for years. Those crimes are based around a dark secret at the heart of their high society and this scandal explodes as the city deals with virulent anti-immigrant protests and riots."

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March into our exclusive preview for IDW's Judge Dredd: False Witness #1 in the gallery below, then strike out on your own and visit the depraved depths of Mega-City One when this compelling series drops Mar. 25.