Unless something miraculous happens, like some random diehard fan with millions and millions of spare dollars just lying around, we’re not likely to see a sequel to Pete Travis’ 2012 badass sci-fi actioner Dredd. At least not in the form of a movie. There’s already been a successful follow up, Dredd: Underbelly, in comic book form. Unfortunately for most of us, the first run sold out in the blink of an eye—it was gone on a distributor level before the title was even scheduled to hit shelves. Right now on Amazon the cheapest copy you can find will run you $80, though there are collectibles going for up to $150. On the plus side, publisher Rebellion is rushing Underbelly into a second pressing that should be available at your local comic book retailer on February 18. You might want to pre-order it this time.
Despite overall positive reviews from critics, Dredd, an adaptation of 2000 AD’s grim futuristic cop noir Judge Dredd, was a ridiculous flop at the box office when it was released in August, 2012. Even with a relatively modest $50 million dollar budget—modest by superhero movie standards—the gritty, ultraviolent, and highly-stylized movie barely broke $35 million worldwide, only $13 million of which came from the US. When it was released on the home video market, however, the film found a huge audience, selling absurd quantities and breaking Blu-ray sales records.
The reprinting of Underbelly is also good news for Rebellion. This is their first title, and the publisher began specifically to service the direct to comic book store specialty market in the States with US formatted books. Judge Dredd has always been readily available, I’ve been reading it since I was a kid, but until now they’ve always had to be reprinted versions of British publications or licensed and farmed out to other houses. With this immediate success, perhaps we’ll see more releases like this in the future.
Underbelly collects Arthur Wyatt and Henry Flint’s story that was serialized in Judge Dredd Magazine, and this latest version comes a new cover by Jock, who worked on the storyboards for the film, as well as comic titles like Judge Dredd, Batman, and countless others. Set in the world of the film instead of the comics, the story follows the continuing adventures of Judges Dredd and Anderson. After they take down Ma-Ma, a fresh flood of wannabe crime lords to try to step up to fill the vacant space in the Slo-Mo production and distribution racket, which leads to an escalation in violent turf wars. Sounds like a pretty damn good time to me.