Judge Dredd: Brothers of the Blood
Eric S Brown
Brothers of the Blood isn’t just another collection of Judge Dredd stories as it deals entirely with his family: his brother Rico, a younger Dredd clone who takes up the Rico name, and his niece Vienna. The collection is one hundred and seventy six pages long, and filled with beautiful art, including a cover gallery at the end with art from the original issues. The paper quality, and easy to read size of the trade paperback, are of Rebellion’s normal high quality, which is far superior to most American published trade paperbacks.
The stories in Brothers of the Blood run the gauntlet from action packed tales dealing with Dredd on the streets to quieter, much more emotionally powerful ones. One entire story deals with Dredd’s niece Vienna and is little more than a ten minute meeting between the two of them in which she confronts from him about his absence from her life as she grew up. Dredd is forced to explain why he hasn’t been there for her and comes to realize that perhaps watching Vienna from a distance to make sure she was safe wasn’t enough.
Every story collected in Brothers of the Blood is written by John Wagner, one of Dredd’s creators, and that’s a great thing as they all deal with the personal life of Mega City One’s toughest street judge, delving deep into his lore. Wagner’s vison for who and what Dredd is supposed to be really shines in this collection.
There really isn’t anything bad to say about this Dredd collection except that causual fans expecting nothing more than a “shoot’em up” read may be disappointed by the book’s lack of bloodshed in some stories. There’s plenty of that in the collection, but Brothers of the Blood is a deep look at Dredd as a character, and especially his off duty, family life.