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4.3 out of 5 stars15
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on 25 April 2009
I brought 2000AD issue 1, the first day it came out in 1977. A week later, Judge Dredd appeared. 32 years later I sit in my study and see my ever growing 'Judge Dredd - Complete Case Files' (Now up-to 13 editions), and I realize Dredd has been with me my whole adult life (Sad, but true). THE PIT takes Dredd slightly out of the norm, he's in charge and you cant help but smile when he says "My names DREDD, some of you may have heard of me" to the assembled troops. I wont spoil the plot for you. This is classic Dredd, mean & moody. It also takes you into the world of the 'flawed' Judge. We've seen this before, but never on such a scale it seems. Needless to say Dredd cleans house, and introduces some good off-shoot characters in the process. The art is top-rate as you would expect, and the story line keeps you gripped to the very end. The Graphic Novel format is ideal if you need a big hit of Dredd in one go. The long story lines are not that common, although there are at least a dozen out there, that's not a lot over 30+ years. This rates right up there with the very best 'epic' Dredd stories. I can not see how they can improve on this, hence the five stars. Dredd is told in real time, so he's now at least in his late 60's. The weekly comic keeps hinting at the age thing, so we are due 'something' about them having to deal with that soon! This story is about 15 years ago, and is some of Carlos Ezquerra best work, and the other artist hold it together very well, (unlike Heavy Metal Dredd, which is about as bad as it can get, Im sorry to say). There have not been many good 'epic' story lines in the last few years, so these type of compendiums are real gems. A must have for the Dredd fan.
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on 12 February 2009
In The Pit, John Wagner changed gears, gave Dredd a desk job, and began to open the strip up into a slow-burning ensemble piece. This story was his first serious attempt at Dredd as a police-procedural thriller, a form he very quickly mastered and has returned to many times in recent years.

The events here are more personal in scale than the typical lunatic high-bodycount Dredd stories, with a solid cast of well-written supporting characters adding depth and dimension to the story. The reader's newfound emotional investment in the normally-faceless supporting Judges pays off in a slaughterhouse of a climax where you find yourself rooting for all of these likeable jackbooted fascists.

My copy from Amazon was marred by some weird printing side-effect where the pages were mottled with some weird sepia-coloured dusty stuff. This wiped off easily enough leaving the clean, beautifully reproduced art looking great, but doing it for 200-odd pages got rather annoying. Also, be aware that the Kevin Walker cover shown above is not the one on the front of the book.
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on 17 September 2012
I have been reading Dredd since I was in school, well over twenty years ago now, and enjoyed every single minute. There have been many classic 'epic' storylines, most now gathered in graphic novel formats luckily, such as Origins, America, Blood Brothers, Necropolis and the list goes on, but The Pit always brings me back to read over and over.

I've been trying to reason why that is. What is it about this long story arc that attracts me to reread it so often? I think its because just as Sector 301, where the story is set, is a microcosm of Mega City 1, so The Pit is a microcosm of the many years of Judge Dredd stories. It has everything in one volumn, the good, the bad and the ugly of Mega City 1. Also, and this I feel is probably the real reason for its longlevity is the supporting cast of Judges, most of whom are so well designed and rounded that they reappear from that point on right up to the present day. DeMarco, Guthrie, Niles, Buell, all excellent characters in their own right and who, would you believe, seem to hold their own even when standing chin to chin with Dredd himself.

The story, as you would imagine from the man who helped create Dredd in the first place, is excellent. Sending Dredd into an isolated Sector full of crime, corruption and underperforming Judges was just a stroke of genius. Dredd starts kicking butt right away, both Judge and criminal, and the story ends with an all out war against crime which the Judges HAVE to win.

My wife, who knows nothing about Dredd other than watching the newest film with me, found my copy of The Pit sitting on the bedside table and picked it up out of curiosity ... she didn't put it down again until she had finished reading it, and she enjoyed every second. That right there I think possibly says it all.
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Sector 301, the North-West Hab Zone, is cut off from the rest of Mega City One by a patch of radioactive wasteground stemming from The Apocalypse War. This remoteness has enabled crime to run rampant. To make matters worse, it has been virtually abandoned by Justice Department, who have used it as a dumping ground for incompetent & corrupt Judges. Now the Sector Chief has been killed in questionable circumstances, it would seem 'the pit' is long overdue for a clean-up - and who better to do it than Judge Dredd?

'The Pit' sees Dredd where we never thought we'd see him, a place he never wanted to be - behind a desk, as Chief of a Sector House. But he certainly doesn't take a back seat - he stands tall as a symbol to the other Judges, most of whom see him as a sanctimonious spanner in their corrupt affairs but a few see him as an inspiring role model.

The Pit is very different to other Dredd epics. As always, there's a high body count by the end but there's also a large supporting cast of characters with intersecting storylines. While some of the earlier Dredd tales would see old stoney face take a back seat as a citizen took centre stage (eg Citizen Snork, 2-Ton Tony Tubbs or Chopper) The Pit is one of the first epics where the supporting cast of Judges takes centre stage. They are shown to be merely human beings doing their best to cope with an incredibly tough job while trying to live up to the ideals they are supposed to represent, rather than secondary cannon fodder or faceless fascists.

In short, we have a lot of well-rounded characters, making for an original, engaging tale. This is powerful testament to John Wagner's ingenuity, that he came up with such a new take on a world he'd been writing about for around 20 years at the time.

The only low point for me is one common to the earlier Dredd epics, which is the way the artists are chopped & changed, often at places where there is no natural break in the story. As such, some characters & settings slightly change in appearence, which I feel interrupts the flow slightly. But the artists are all very talented with plenty of Ezquerra's penmanship & the writing is so compelling, that as Dredd would say, I'm prepared let it pass this time, but I'll be keeping an eye on you, creep!
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Firstly this is a top notch story with great artwork and an adult story. The low star level is because it's preactically unreadable on the Kindle Fire HD with no means I could find of zooming in. I had to resort to reading glasses which I don't actually need in order to magnify the writing to a level where I could actually read it. Now I will say that I've got the orignal Fire HD not the new 9" one which would probably work better for this sort of thing. The actual transfer to digital is excellent and I'm sure that had I been using a larger screen tablet or a computer it would have been excellent.

Overall it's worth a buy especially at the very reasonable price but only if you have a larger screened tablet.
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As a massive fan of Dredd I always love it when an offering arrives allowing me to relive the nostalgia from previous outings in 2000AD. It's a fun and to be honest its cracking to have the full story in one place rather than having to flick through multiple releases just to get the full story. Quintessentially British is perhaps the order of the day and as such allows the dark vision of the future to carry on in a parody of the world in which we live.
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on 11 April 2011
This is superb Judge Dredd. John Wagner's police procedural treatment of the Dredd franchise is just brilliant. He's always known how to handle the big guy even from the very early days but this series just hangs together so well it's a winner from the start. And the art... Oh.... My.... God!!!! How can such carnage be so beautiful?
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on 24 June 2013
I stopped reading 2000ad in the nineties, and it was this story that was one of the contributing factors.

I remember it being presented as a real shakeup of the status quo, and it had been trailed for weeks as a mega epic on the lines of Necropolis or Oz. When it arrived it was... underwhelming. Looking back on it twenty years later, it seems my opinion hasn't changed.

Firstly, the art. It sufferers from nineties neon overkill. The computer gradients and shading has dated badly and, whilst it could be argued that the colouring suits the decadent, sleazy environment of Mega City One, it does few favours to the readability of the piece, especially for the otherwise excellent Ezquerra.

Its important to note The Pit is not a bad story as such. It's a brave attempt to do something different with Dredd to stop the strip just relying on the regular rhythms of six month mega epic, six month stand alone stories. However, one can almost sense John Wagner's growing frustration as the story starts to go off the rails.

This is even evident in how the story is structured. The story 'The Pit' takes up the first half of the collection and concerns the justice department's attempt to clean up the corruption in sector 301. But then where it comes to a natural conclusion the name suddenly becomes an umbrella title for another four or five stories set in the environment. At that point the commitment seems to vanish. I read it with am uneasy sense that Wagner didn't really know where he was going with it other than he was biding time until Prog 1000. This is nowhere more evident than in the final story, Bongo War, when the conflict ends because everyone decides to go home. The wrap up is so fast that it is almost as if the story can't wait to be over.

There are good points, of course. DeMarco is a fantastic character and the cast of regulars is clearly defined. There is the sense of putting Dredd in an unfamiliar situation and seeing how he reacts. And Wagner is by this stage an expert at drawing from and building on the mythology of the past fifteen years.

But it suffers the same sense of going through the motions that the whole magazine was suffering under at the time. As a recently renewed convert to the weekly, the quality and consistency now is far stronger than it was around the time this strip ran. I'm glad it seemed to learn from its mistakes and misfires and is still with us and stronger than ever.
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on 19 June 2013
I remember reading this when it was in 2000AD in the 90s. It's just as good as it was then, and introduces some strong characters alongside Dredd - Galen DeMarco and Judge Guthrie.
The art by Carlos Ezquerra is fantastic, and with fellow co-creator John Wagner on writing duties, this was always going to be good
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on 12 July 2013
Thoroughly enjoyed this story arc, although I prefer the artwork in the other feeds comics I've read the story more than makes up for this
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