Authors: Arthur Wyatt / Matt Smith | Illustrators: Henry Flint / Paul Davidson | Page Count: 96
'From the gleaming tower, he watches the sector burn.'
I rated Underbelly (2014) less than average on a comic book Dredd scale, but I was still planning on buying the second tie-in, a two-parter titled Uprise (2014), simply to show support for the franchise and keep hope alive for a second film. However, by the time I was ready to pony up the cash, details of Urban Warfare had already appeared online. Seeing as how it collects both the previously mentioned works and adds a third story, telling of Ma-Ma’s origins, it seemed the more logical choice to go for. Plus, it’s a hardcover. The three stories are:
01. Top of the World, Ma-Ma (2012)
A violent prologue to the Dredd movie (2012) that shows us a little of Ma-Ma's past, most of which was mentioned briefly in the film's script. It foreshadows certain events, too, which was a nice touch. It really is just a prologue, so don't expect anything more than that and it'll deliver the goods.
02. Underbelly (2014)
I read it again, but even with adjusted expectations my feelings towards it are unchanged. You can read the previous post HERE. The page size is returned to what it should've been, not the US comic size, and for that I'm grateful.
Yes! The best of the bunch. The story is less of a rehash of the film and more like something that would fit snugly into the comic. I realise they're two different aspects and should remain as such, but there's nothing wrong with attempting to meet the Megazine's standards.
There's a declaration of ownership from a sector within the Big Meg, a direct defiance of the system that Dredd represents. It's a threat that needs put to rest fast, lest it spread virus-like to other areas, so Dredd rolls in and busts heads.
It uses the 'riot happening alongside clue-uncovering' scenario, but it's done well and it doesn't wimp out. It also places itself firmly after the film by referencing something from it. It feels like an ongoing story, not just an adapted one.
I'm disappointed they chose to reuse the cover art of Underbelly. There’s no shortage of artists waiting in line, willing to draw Dredd. They could've at least used one of the lesser-known variant covers that were featured on the Uprise single issues. Grud knows variants aren't of use for anything else.