After the Karl Urban-starring sci-fi actioner Dredd, lovers of the iconic grimness of 2000AD's most notoriously ill-tempered lawman were convinced that a movie sequel was on its way after the film gathered ecstatic reviews and serious fan attention.
But after the rumors and rumblings died down, the final $41 million worldwide take against a $50 million budget was counted, and the execs at Lionsgate passed on a follow-up, we were all left with a serious case of the "What-Ifs."
Until we get confirmation of a potential Mega-City One TV series, the next best thing arrives this week in the form of Dredd: Final Judgement #1. This punishing release acts as a comic book tie-in to screenwriter Alex Garland and director Pete Travis' hyperkinetic feature film from 2012, and showcases a cataclysmic clash between Judge Dredd and Judge Death.
Penned by Arthur Wyatt and Alex De Campi, and paired with electrifying art by Henry Flint, 2000AD's intense two-issue mini-series delivers exclusive covers by Jock and assaults comic shops on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
This grand finale finds Mega-City One standing defiantly on the cusp of the 22nd century. Populated by 800 million people living and surviving in the dystopian ruins of the old world, it's a planet devastated by nuclear war and hopelessness. Representing the sole faction fighting for order in a metropolis teetering on the edge of chaos are the dedicated men and women of the Hall of Justice. One legendary lawman, Judge Joe Dredd, is about to be entangled in his most bizarre and challenging case yet.
"Final Judgement brings the story of the Dredd Movieverse to a nerve shocking conclusion, bringing in some classic Judge Dredd antagonists with some modern twists that suit Dredd's style," Wyatt told SYFY WIRE. "Longtime fans of the comic will find this story both familiar and a big departure from anything they've seen before, and fans of the movie will, hopefully, get to read something like the sequel we all wished existed.
"Finding an approach that 'clicked' was the biggest challenge, we didn't just want to port over the comics version of Judge Death with a movie version of his uniform, it had to be something that resonated with the themes and feel of the movie — not just more gritty, but also with an emotional core that resonates," he added. "Fantastical elements are also something that the Movie Dredd has shied away from a little, but I think we found a tone for them that works -- shades of John Carpenter and Japanese horror mixed with Garland's action violence. I'm not sure it's going to be exactly what people expect from Judge Death, but once it all clicked into place it seemed like a very natural extension of the movie universe."
"I feel the grittiness of movie Dredd works well with the supernatural, especially if you’re hitting the sort of Cronenberg/Carpenter notes we were aiming for," said co-writer De Campi. "We’re not necessarily looking to subvert expectations, but we also weren’t looking to go head to head against Wagner and Bolland. These Dark Judges, this Dead World, their story is really founded on a prevailing sense of despair about the chances of anything in Mega-City One (or any city) ever getting better... as well as some actual physics about why you’d want to access the Dead World. We’ve wanted to remain true to what fans love about the Dark Judges, and of course about Dredd, while making their terror feel fresh to a new generation of reader. One of the things I’m proudest of in the story is how twice we examine Judge Dredd’s greatest fear — the first time, what he thinks it is; the second, what it actually is."
Check out our 8-page preview in the full gallery below and tell us if you think this is a fitting end to the Dredd Movieverse in the pages of 2000AD's dynamic adaptations.