Judge Anderson: Shamballa review

Visit the more cerebral side of life in Judge Dredd's Megacity one with the Judge who might already know what you're thinking...

Mega-city mentalism in Judge Anderson: PSI Division

Judge Anderson is the cerebral, moralistic side of Mega-City one’s doctoral law system and this collected work – reproduced from both 2000AD and Judge Dredd magazine – deals with heavyweight subjects such as suicide, religion and ancient mythology rather than the explosions, shoot-outs and the randomly dealt justice of Judge Dredd.

Containing two of the best Judge Anderson stories – both of which deal with different aspects of the supernatural – this is a great starting point for both the long tem collector and those wanting to further explore the world beyond Dredd’s Mega-City One.

Beginning with the story ‘Shamballa’ – from which this collection gets its title –a clear definition of Anderson’s abilities as a PSI are firmly created while the otherworldly elements that are to follow are instantly presented. With psychic elements attacking various cities throughout the world, the teaming up of East-Meg and Mega-City forces and a trip deep into Tibet, this – and the stories that follow – opens up the future world of 2000AD to that of the Fortean.

The other focal point of the book is the subject of religion, which takes on the format of a number of tests upon, and the development of, Anderson’s faith. Existing within a law system where any form of worship has been banned, a number of the shorter narratives dip into this subject with a longer piece throwing in Satan himself – or at least someone who believes that they are the devil – whom offers Anderson a deal similar to that of the snake and the apple.

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Unlike the collected works of Judge Dredd, which run chronologically, this collection dips in and out of a number of ongoing narratives and references to previous – and as yet unprinted – stories can prove frustrating but not enough to ruin the overall flow of the individual stories. Being more of a ‘Best of’, rather than a complete run of stories, allows for plots to be skipped in order to get to the action (almost like fast forwarding the ‘talky’ bits in a film to get to the epic battle at the end), but even without any character development that would have been built through a number of back stories, there is still enough on offer to get a sense of the world that Anderson exists within.

Anderson was created with the intent of being Judge Dredd’s moral opposite but to also allow for dips into the supernatural, something that Alan Grant is clearly keen to embrace. With strong line-work from Arthur Ranson, which confidently covers everything from sprawling future cities to images that could be pulled from Dante’s Divine Comedy, and strong character work from Grant, the slight gaps in plot can be forgiven – and tidied up – in later editions.

4 stars

Authors: Alan Grant and Arthur RansonLength: 196 pagesPublisher: Rebellion/2000ADRRP: £15.99

Judge Anderson: PSI Division at Amazon

 

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Rating:

4 out of 5