Continuing my sporadic coverage of Judge Dredd thanks to Rebellion Publishing, I just finished reading Judge Dredd: Year Three Omnibus and like Year Two, we are provided three novellas written by different authors that give us a look into the early years, specifically year three, of Dredd’s life as the pure form of the law. This time around we get authors Michael Carroll, Matthew Smith, and Laurel Sills giving us three stories that take place close together that provide plenty of action, investigation, and Dredd kicking all sorts of ass with that ever-present scowl on his face.
The first story is titled Fallen Angel written by Michael Carroll. It focuses on Judge Dredd helping out an SJS (Special Judicial Squad) officer who is on the run after she tumbles into a conspiracy involving other Judges. The story makes for an interesting look into the hierarchy classes that Mega City 1 has set up that divides the rich from the poor and how the different classes are treated. We also have a pretty awesome fight scene involving Dredd destroying some bodyguards.
The next story takes place roughly a month later and is titled Machineries of Hate, written by Matthew Smith. The story sees Dredd investigating a multiple murder that was potentially done by a droid. We get a look into how androids are becoming more sophisticated, and how the citizens of MC1 are fearing that the droids may one day rise and strike back at humans. The story also gives us a bit of a teaser to the eventual Robot Wars led by a robot called Call-Me-Kenneth.
Lastly, the third story is titled Bitter Earth and is written by author Laurel Sills. This one reminded me a bit of the story The Righteous Man in the Year Two collection. Dredd is sent out to babysit some criminals who are being experimented on by a doctor. The doctor is hoping to find a way to mutate people safely to allow them to live in the Cursed Earth and eventually grow food. Of course, this wouldn’t be a Dredd story without some crazy action, psi powers, and exploding heads. It’s a shorter story than the other two, but that crazy The Thing inspired ending had me grinning from ear to ear.
Judge Dredd: Year Three made up for the sour taste of the previous book I read titled Judge Fear’s Big Day Out. I just couldn’t stand how much a dick Dredd was in those stories, but with Year Three, we see a more relatable Dredd who conveys a bit of feeling towards other people. When the hero of your story is hard to root for, you make it difficult for the reader to enjoy your tale, but thankfully that isn’t the case with this book. Much like Year Two, I recommend picking this one up.