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Last year’s Dredd movie may have thrilled existing fans of the character, but it didn’t necessarily attract those who hadn’t yet sampled the particular charms of the long-running comic strip from the British anthology series 2000AD. This afternoon, somewhat unexpectedly, 2000AD publishers Rebellion decided to offer an easy in-road to sampling Judge Dredd: A 38-page digital sampler of recent Dredd material, free to download.
Offered via Twitter with surprising humility (“Hey, world. Would you like some free Judge Dredd? Here you go,” the tweet read; given that 2000AD has long called itself — with some level of tongue in cheek-ness, admittedly — “The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic,” that’s surprisingly free of hyperbole), the free sampler collects a three-part storyline from the 2011-2012 “Day of Chaos” storyline written by Dredd creator John Wagner along with “Bullet to King’s Four,” the prologue to last year’s critically acclaimed “Trifecta” storyline.
As a sampler, it’s quite effective — Although there’s no explanation of the status quo of the Mega-City One setting or political upheaval within it, both stories offer the mix of violence, satire and action that fuels Dredd more than thirty years into its run and showcase some great work by creators who may not be as well known in America as they are in their native United Kingdom, but deserve to be: Al Ewing and Henry Flint, in particular, are worth getting to know.
The sampler has a more cynical aim, of course — Both stories are also contained in recent collected editions published by Rebellion, and so act as introductions/teasers for the larger Day of Chaos: The Fourth Faction and Trifecta collections, currently available in print and digitally. That’s hardly a surprise, though; it’s not as if Rebellion is the first to try to argue that the first hit is free. When it comes to fast-moving science fiction comics, though, Judge Dredd hits harder than most. If that’s your bag, grab this sampler while it’s still available.