Eric S Brown
When people think about the world of Judge Dredd most think of:
- Mega City One
- The vast dystopian metropolis he patrols
- The radioactive wastelands known as the Cursed Earth which lay beyond its walls
- The other “Big Megs”,
- Deadworld, the dimension ruled by Judge Death,
- or perhaps even the prisons of Titan
But one of the coolest places is the planet 43 Reg
Upon its surface is the boom town of Badrock, which is very much like the American Old West. It’s a place where there is no law and many live in fear, until Marshal Metta Lawson – a Judge from Mega City One – is sent to bring justice and peace to its streets. The story of Lawless centers around her as she tries to do her job and save the town from itself, neighboring aliens, and an evil corporation with its own plans for Badrock.
And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a mystery in that Marshal Lawson may not be exactly who she claims to be.
Lawless has all the action and violence of Judge Dredd, but with a strong female lead and a vast ensemble cast made up of the residents of Badrock which includes the varied groups that exist in the Mega Cities like Muties, Meks, Uplifed animals, human criminals, and even aliens. However, Badrock’s small population gives the reader a chance to see them as more than just part of the background or in one off stories. The story reads like a “Firefly” style space western except for the fact that is set in the world of Dredd… and Street Judges (or rather a Marshal and her deputy in this case) are the law. And of course before the end of the currents series of trade paperback, Judge Dredd himself does pay a visit to the small, colonial town.
Marshal Lawson is an extremely likeable character, as are most of the ensemble cast, and the reader is quickly pulled into their lives and their world. Lawless may be full of tropes but it plays with them, being defined as much by what its tropes are as what they aren’t. There are moments of humor and heartbreak that are equally powerful and this comes from more than just the writing. Also, the art, though black and white, is very unique in style to the 2000 AD and serves to further add depth to the characters.
The first three arcs of Lawless are collected into trade paperbacks which are available in the States via Amazon.com, and the series fourth story arc has just begun in the October, 2021 issue of 2000 AD.