Judge Dredd is called out to look for a missing Judge in one of the outer blocks of Mega City One. He is warned of a gang that runs the block apartment, but, upon arrival, it's mutants that threaten the lives of the Judge and everyone inside — and there are a lot. Can the two Judges survive the onslaught?
Judge Dredd: Under Siege #1 is a classic hard-bitten and brutal Dredd story with all the shooting, action, and cynical one-liners for which one could hope.
If that were all Under Siege had to offer, it would be damn good. However, the comic delivers some nuance in the margins of its story to make it all a little smarter. Enjoying Judge Dredd is admitting that this character exists in and supports a system that is…more than a little messed up. Usually stories with this character don't question that, but Under Siege has impoverished side characters that at least bring up this problem and aren't immediately villainized.
That said, the comic doesn't really give the same leniency to the mutants, so it's a give and take.
It's not all self-reflection, though. It's still a tight and fast-moving action comic.
Max Dunbar's artwork brings Dredd to life as a bulky and imposing figure with large gauntlets and boots. The gore is great, and the mutants have cool designs. Motion is depicted well too, giving the comic a nice, flowing feel. Jose Luis Rio brings uncharacteristically strong colors to Mega City One, but it looks good. It adds a bit more life to the scenery than the norm.
Judge Dredd: Under Siege #1 is a gritty yet smart excursion for the deadliest Judge in Mega City One. The comic is tight and well paced, and the conflict is interesting and holds promise for the rest of the miniseries. This one earns a recommendation. Check it out tomorrow.