Publisher – IDW
Matt Smith – Writer
Carl Critchlow – Art
Shawn Lee – Letters
Editor – Denton J Tipton
Variant Covers by Matt Haley, Mimi Yoon and Nick Percival
IDW’s made for America debut story for 2000AD’s premier Mega City One psychic cop Cassandra Anderson reaches the half way point with The King of Six Sectors part three.
Having tracked the murderous perpetrators of the Megapolitan Museum heist to the heart of the Alabama Morass back to the mean streets of the Mega City and having rattled enough criminal cages to be sure of her theory this months instalment sees Cass turn the screws on the mysterious Keyser Söze like Ashbury. Hitting our elusive antagonist where it hurts and taking the battle for justice to his very doorstep.
As seems to be the norm for Matt Smith’s thus far excellent tale the story really rattles along with strong balance of plot advancement, mystery and action. The dialogue pops and Anderson’s investigation is built on a solid and logical foundation. No happy coincidences have, as yet, been required to advance the narrative which is always a pleasant thing when it comes to crime based comics. But most pleasing is the manor in which Smith writes out titular hero.
Cassandra Anderson is too often simply a side-kick to Judge Dredd. Is used just as a way to deliver exposition, wrenched psychically from the minds of Joe’s foe of the week, or placed in danger in order to give Dredd someone the reader cares about to save. Or even worse to pull that otherwise impossible to find clue out of nowhere. Thus allowing a troubled writer to escape from the cul-de-sac he has written himself into.
Smith’s Cass however is bright, determined, strong willed and driven. She is more than equal to any beat Judge on the harsh streets of the most brutal city in comic books and even at this relatively early point in her IDW incarnation’s career she is showing the kind of promise that will make her possibly the greatest detective Mega City has ever seen. Sure Joe may be able to break faces with greater aplomb but when it comes to solving puzzles it’s Cassandra Anderson you want on the case as opposed to the chisel jawed tank Dredd.
Carl Critchlow’s art continues to be the perfect partner to Smith’s prose too. Not flashy or overblown but vibrant and full of life. His version of 2000AD’s pin up girl isn’t drawn for leering at, she’s a Judge. A beautiful one sure but a Judge. No lingering frames of Cass bent into impossible poses in order to sell the page are on display here. Just a kick ass cop with a steely determination to see her case through no matter what the costs may be. The unusual framing and blank backgrounds make for an engaging visual and his character design is just terrific.
We finish the book on a real cliffhanger and whilst the outcome of our adventure is still a mystery one thing we can rely on is that Smith and Critchlow will be delivering a ongoing tale that’s worth following to its bitter end.
Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi-Division #3 will be hitting the shelves on Wednesday the 22nd of October.
Be sure to check out our sneak peek over in the preview section along with all this weeks top books.