Underbelly is a new Judge Dredd series that takes place in the same universe of the critically acclaimed 2012 film Dredd.
It is historic because it is the first attempt by 2000 AD to make a comic book targeted at American audiences. It is also marks 2000 AD's first movie tie-in.
The comic focuses on the power vacuum in the wake of Ma-Ma's death and how it affects Mega-City One. In an attempt to fill the gap in the narcotics market left by the burst bubble of the Slo-Mo drug empire collapse, many other criminal gangs attempt to push their drugs onto the addicts. One particularly dangerous drug (one Judge explains that the new drug “makes slo-mo look like candy”) hits the market and rapidly leads to another female drug lord to coming power. When a corpse dump is discovered in a rad-pit, the bodies are all revealed to be mutants. Could the dead be connected with an outfit smuggling illegal refugees into the city from the Cursed Earth? Now the Judges have to scour the criminal underworld of Mega-City One and crack down on Ma-Ma's successor.
The Dredd film was warmly received by critics and fans alike, leaving the latter group desperate for a sequel. Due to the film's lukewarm box office performance, no cinematic sequel has arisen, with Dredd: Underbelly instead serving as a sequel to the popular film.
Dredd: Underbelly sold out internationally over the course of two days, causing an almost immediate reprint. Henry Flint's artwork has earned praise from fans, but complaints have arisen that Underbelly is a near carbon copy of the 2012 film, despite Alex Garland wanting a trilogy featuring Judge Dredd venturing into the Cursed Earth in search of his father and stopping democratic terrorists from taking over the Hall of Justice. Complaints also arose from Anderson's limited role, due to her serving as Dredd's human element and providing much of the film's emotional framework.