At the time of its publication, The Pit must have seemed quite radical. At thirty parts in length, this was a very different type of Dredd epic than had ever been seen before. Mega City One was not in danger of imminent destruction, Dredd wasn’t on some quest to chase a master criminal or alien fiends from another dimension. No, with The Pit it was decided that Dredd would be put in charge of a sector house, for a series of linked police procedural type stories. The resultant stories can only be seen as a massive success.

Although The Pit never seems to be mentioned when it comes to game changing Dredd strips (The Apocalypse Wars, Necropolis etc), it completly changed the face of Dredd forever. For the first time we get stories that overlap with each other, giving us a sense of a real living breathing city (something which I feel Judge Dredd has excelled at ever since). We also see the assembling of a regular cast of characters, who are as integral to the plot as Dredd himself, perhaps even more so. Galen DeMarco, Judge Guthrie and Judge Buell all make their debuts here, with each of them going on to become important characters in the world of Dredd. Its not just criminals that Dredd has been sent to The Pit to help combat though. The Judicial system in The Pit is riddled with corruption, but in some cases their corruption seems perfectly reasonable, for example in the case of Demarco. When Dredd has to crack down on them, it really helps to push the anti-hero angle of his character  (again this is something that we continue to see in the strip to this day).

Most importantly The Pit is a damn good read. We get to really feel for all of the characters, meaning its very easy to become thoroughly absorbed in the story telling. I probably read this thirty part story quicker than I’ve read some far shorter efforts. If I did have to find one complaint then it would be in the art department. Now none of the art is bad (far from it), but for some reason we frequently see a change in artist in the middle of a story. I don’t know if this was standard practice at the time of The Pit’s publication, but it can be pretty distracting, as it is immediatly noticeable.

Despite its fairly bland title, and rather unassuming front cover, I have to say that The Pit is one of the finest Judge Dredd stories that I have ever read. In fact this would make a perfect introduction to Dredd for anyone who had never read the strip before. If you’ve yet to read The Pit then I suggest you do yourself a favour, and get a hold of a copy immediatly. You won’t be dissapointed.

9/10

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