Review: Judge Dredd False Witness #4 (IDW)

Writer: Brandon Easton
Artist: Silvia Califano
Colourist: Eva De La Cruz
Letterer: Shawn Lee
On Sale: 03/02/2021

The shocking conclusion to one of my favourite comics from 2020, False Witness finally brings Mathias Lincoln toe-to-toe with Mega City One’s judge, jury and executioner Dredd.

PLOT AND STORY

Having been previously framed for the deadly crimes committed by Dr Filth, Mathias Lincoln is captured by the Judges and interrogated about his involvement in a human smuggling ring. I have really enjoyed the way this story has developed over the last three issues with a drawn out reveal of Mathias background and true agenda. Writer Brandon Easton created a clever mystery filled with intrigue, suspense and twists whilst being grounded in the core basics of what makes a great Judge Dredd story. 

Not only is it the action and violence which makes this a great comic but its the running narrative exploring what happens to a society so reliant on rules and laws made by some of the worst most corrupt people around. It’s these subplots and background dialogue which give the tone to this book a familiar feeling I got when reading John Wagner’s book America.

ARTWORK

What this series gets right in every issue is the way it depicts Mega City One as the dark, overbearing, bleak city that it is. Silvia Califano steps in for the final issue and structures every panel in a deliberate way that you very rarely see the sky. Looking up at characters which are shadowed by massive, skyscraper buildings brilliantly shows how enclosed and trapped people are. This gives the story a depressing, run down environment and emotional tone without the use of words. Complimenting this perfectly are Eva De La Cruz colours, for example the buildings all have dark grey colours further enhancing the mood for the reader. 

A couple of pages which really stood out for me are towards the end when Dredd makes his way into a chemical plant and battles McShannon. I loved how the chemical vats simply stand out by being a bright yellow colour which completely contrasts with the rest of the panels. This makes you take notice of what is going on in the scene without the characters needing to explain and waste precious page space.

Shawn Lee completes the create team with letters which work perfectly with the art. I am particularly impressed with how Dredd’s speech takes a bolder, more animated style when he talks to further enhance his presence.

FINAL THOUGHTS

With this being the final issue of False Witness I can’t help but summarise the whole mini series rather than the single issue. A very satisfying conclusion to an action packed and interesting story built around mystery, espionage and Judge Dredd laying down the law. I have recommended this series to lots of people and have yet to hear someone say they didn’t like it. If you like good, graphic and violent comics set in a unique universe then pick up this series as it’s a great example as to why Judge Dredd remains to be the biggest comic book character outside of Marvel and DC.

I read this via and advance preview copy issued by IDW Publishing and received no incentive to review this comic.

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