Writer: Matt Smith
Artist: Carl Critchlow
What would our police force look like a hundred years from now? What would they have the capability of doing? In the case of Judge Anderson, a level of psychic abilities is real and accepted. There’s a whole division in the force devoted to those with this special talent. The abilities range from premonitions, reading information from objects by simply touching them, and the ability to read nature to know who is in the surrounding areas. I found myself questioning if they attempted to train people to use parts of their brains to make a psychic division possible. Maybe they were lucky and everyone was born with the ability like Anderson. That’s still quite a change after the Atomic War. I was immediately reminded of the psi-ops in the movie The Men Who Stare At Goats. I’m sure if law enforcement tried to start a psychic division today they would be greeted with laughter. In Mega-City One it appears anything is possible.
In Judge Dredd: Anderson Psi-Division, Anderson has a past that eludes her. Her memories begin with entering the academy as a cadet. Prior to joining, her mind is blank. She has no recollection of her parents at all. This information being shared may be foreshadowing to future events in the series. Perhaps it’s simply to show how devoted her life is to the division. Why doesn’t she remember her parents though? Given what she does know about herself, her abilities were discovered as an infant. Anderson’s life was immediately planned out for her. She had no say in the matter. She was destined to be a Judge. So could it be she was taken away from her family at such a young age those memories didn’t have time to develop properly? I suppose a memory wipe is always possible given the other technological advances that have taken place. Even she seems perplexed by her lack of recall prior to becoming a cadet.
So now, or rather in 2104, we have Anderson working in the field. Being woken up from a premonition leads her to a new case. You have citizens getting annoyed by the interference of law enforcement while attending a local event at a museum. Even the museum’s director finds their presence to be a problem. A “psychic bomb” is set off leaving most unconscious and an artifact is stolen. Anderson manages to stay conscious, allowing her to get a little bit of information on one of the thieves and what they took. Reporting back with minimal facts she now has a case to pursue. She enlists the help of Degroot to track down the thieves.
Matt Smith has constructed this story in a way that makes for an interesting read. There’s just enough background information to understand what’s going on. It would be easy for someone that has never read a Judge Dredd book to pick this up and jump right into the story. I think it could pull in some new readership from those interested in the psychic aspect. It will be interesting to see what Smith does with this story and what he will reveal about Anderson’s past. Carl Critchlow’s art is good, but I feel like it’s missing a cleanness. I prefer clean lines when it comes to comic book art. That being said, Critchlow has some great layouts. They make the pages interesting when there’s not a lot of action on the page. There are a lot of muted colors in the art, so nothing really jumps out at me visually within the panels unless it’s a close up.
Judge Dredd has a following so it will be easy for them to get into the story. The story is interesting and has the potential to pull in some new readers. I think it’s too soon to say that this series will be successful in keeping them. It will all depend on how Smith has this story laid out. There’s also a chance that new readers will check out other books within the universe of Judge Dredd. There are no signs of misogyny yet; I do hope that they continue on with Anderson being a female Judge that is treated as an equal. Overall, this isn’t usually a genre that I would pick up on my own. Despite that fact, this book has my attention.
“Judge Dredd: Anderson Psi-Division #1” earns 6.5 / 10