More Classic Dredd Coming In ‘The Essential Dredd’ Collection In 2021

by Richard Bruton

This week sees the first title in the new series of Essential Judge Dredd released from Rebellion – Judge Dredd: America. But we’ve also got news of the next two titles in the series, with Rebellion going heavy on the epic tales!

First up in 2021, we get the classic tale of Dredd becoming Judge Dredd in Origins by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra.
Origins tells the tale, through flashbacks, of how the Judges and the Justice Department came to power in MC-1. The 23 episodes of Origins ran in Progs 1500-1519 and 1529-1535, published from 2006 to 2007, and was a perfect way to celebrate an incredible 30 years of Dredd.
In Origins, you’ll discover the history of the Judges, the Justice Department founder, Chief Judge Fargo, as well as featuring moments from Joe Dredd’s boyhood during the the Third World War.

And following that, we have perhaps the greatest Dredd epic there’s ever been – Apocalypse War! The saga originally ran back in 1982 in Progs 245-270 and is considered by many to be the finest hour of both John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra.

Coming hot on the heels of Block Mania, where most of MC-1 finds themselves infected by the Block Mania drug, Apocalypse War begins with the invasion of MC-1 by East Meg One. Nukes rain down on the city, almost 400 million are dead, and there’s no way to strike back thanks to the Sov’s Apocalypse Warp protective field. It’s down to Dredd and a small band of Judges to fight a guerilla war that ends with one of the most important decisions Dredd has ever had to make.
It’s an absolute classic of Judge Dredd, with John Wagner at his finest and the much-missed Carlos Ezquerra delivering some of his best Dredd artwork ever.

First up though is one of the most beloved of all Dredd stories – America… featuring the work of John Wagner, Garth Ennis, Alan Grant, Colin MacNeil, John Higgins, John M Burns, and Jeff Anderson.
This collection not only includes the classic Wagner and McNeil America, but also features the tales of America Jara and Bennett Beeny that came after, tales of freedom against the totalitarian state, where freedom-fighters are terrorists, and where the world in Dredd we know is brought into sharp focus, making the reader question just what it means to live under the law of the Judges. It’s a timeless tale, and one that’s perfect as an introduction to the world of Dredd, Mega-City One, and the Judges.

America has long been held as one of the key Dredd tales and having it as the opener in this new series is perfect. As Ben Smith, head of Rebellion Publishing, says:

Not only is America one of the most amazing Judge Dredd stories ever told, this incredibly prescient look at the demands society must make for democracy and what a state will do to protect itself couldn’t be more contemporary. This is not only the ideal first story for any reader new to Dredd, it’s something everyone should read in this year of all years. Make sure you read it before you vote, citizens!

And with Origins and Apocalypse War coming up as volumes two and three of the Essential Judge Dredd, this really is a series that’s giving us all the very best of Dredd.
Essential Judge Dredd Volume 1: America is available right now. Volumes 2 & 3, Origins and The Apocalypse War, will be published in 2021.

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