by Dan Abnett and Colin MacNeil
Dan Abnett and Colin MacNeil’s Insurrection: Liberty takes place in the year 2135 CE, in Mega-City colonial space and it’s absolutely not the kind of story that you’d expect. This story focuses on a select few colonists fighting for their rights and fighting for their new homes amongst the stars against seemingly insurmountable odds. If you’ve read any other Judge Dredd stuff, it’s a theme, aside from the space fighting and other worlds, that plays out here as well. Are the Judges oppressing the populations? How much control is too much? How far will one person, or one group of people, go for their rights and freedoms?
Dan Abnett sets the tone early and really stacks the deck against the characters he presents. Insurrection doesn’t require any previous knowledge, maybe other than general Dredd knowledge which by now most people should have, and anything that Abnett feels you need to know he easily and smoothly presents it for the reader. Though the ending was predictable and maybe even a little convenient, it doesn’t take away from the impact of the story or the enjoyment making this story a nice, bite-sized slice of the Dredd-verse without really getting too deep into it.
On the art side of things, long time 2000 AD and Dredd artist Colin MacNeil really shines. He starts things off in a painted style similar to his work in the epic America series, though done in black and white, before transitioning to a more traditional style and look. It feels as though the first part of the book, and the painted look that MacNeil was going for, was the intended look for the entire collection, but maybe the time crunch of releasing this weekly—it’s pulled from a few of the 2000 AD Progs—was just too much to handle in order to get it out on time. After the painted pages end, MacNeil adopts a more straight forward, digital-looking style that works just as well with the book and, really, doesn’t take away from the story at all. His painted work is stellar and it’s just a shame we couldn’t get a whole series in that style.
Insurrection: Liberty was a pleasant surprise, especially considering there was no previous knowledge of this corner of the Dredd-verse. It was a quick, one-sitting read that had everything you could want from a book, even if Dredd himself didn’t play a role in the story. Abnett and MacNeil are a great creative team, and it’ll certainly be worth tracking down anything else they’ve done together whether it’s part of the Dredd-verse or not. If you can get your hands on this book, even in digital form, it’s more than worth picking up.