Mega-City One's premier law-enforcement sociopath Dredd finally arrives in UK cinemas this week. Given the 30-odd years of comics history that the production might have drawn on, there have been some expressions of surprise from the Dredd faithful that screenwriter Alex Garland went for an entirely original story. So if you're one of those naysayers that feels you're not fully up to speed on Slo-Mo, there's now a handy ten-page comic prequel online to fill in some of the back story.
Click the image to read the comic
So what we have here is the tale of Peach Tree Block's crime kingpin Ma-Ma, and how she reached that exulted position. It turns out she's only very recently arrived there, having taken charge of her dismal existence, and survived a bloody encounter with her ertswhile pimp Lester Grimes.
Grimes it was that gave Ma-Ma that striking facial scar; we also learn that that maternal-sounding moniker is short for Madelaine Madrigal. There's some stuff about the creation of the Slo-Mo drug too: an "LSD derivative", the effects of which are "like seeing God through the cracks of creation".
Art-wise, we're very much in the world of the film: that Lawmaster bike has slimmer tyres than we're used to. And language-wise too, the tone is a bit more "adult" than the weekly 2000AD.
The comic's written by Matt Smith (current editor of 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine), with artwork by prolific 2000AD regular Henry Flint. The 3D movie Dredd meanwhile, is directed by Pete Travis, and stars Karl Urban as Judge Dredd, Lena Headey as Ma-Ma, and Olivia Thirlby as Judge Anderson. It's out on Friday, punks.
For more on Dredd 3D, head over to Empire's exclusive interview with Alex Garland and Dredd's creator John Wagner.