A first image from the upcoming Judge Dredd reboot, Dredd has surfaced online, and it shows the new Judge Dredd (Star Trek‘s Karl Urban) looking ready for some judgement / execution action.

The image comes our way courtesy of 2000AD and it apparently depicts Urban in the Judge Dredd uniform (helmet on, of course!) in the midst of rehersal for the film, which is being written by Alex Garland (28 Days Later) and directed by Pete Travis (Vantage Point).

Now I know that like me, some of you reading this still find Sylvester Stallone’s 1995 version of Judge Dredd to be a guilty pleasure that didn’t completely ruin the iconic anti-hero. While I respect that reverence for the Stallone film, I know that I – and a lot of other hardcore Judge Dredd  fans – are expecting something a little different from this reboot, which will supposedly stick closer to the comic book rendition of the character.

Karl Urban himself recently promised that Dredd will be darker in tone, and that his version of the character will be rolling with his helmet on for the film’s duration – just what fanboys have been clamoring for.

Check out the first image of Urban as Dredd below and tell us what you think:

I’ve been a casual fan of the Judge Dredd comic books, but I definitely agree that one of the character’s principal strengths is the almost mythical status he has within the world he inhabits. It’s why the guy never needs to take his helmet off: his legend precedes him and the mystery of his identity makes him even more of the icon of (vengeance? skewed Justice?) he is meant to be.

However, one still must wonder if the narrative arch of an entire movie can be sustained by a guy who never really shows his face. Before you rush to say “Of course it can!” Remember that we live in the age where even the baddest boys seem to require some touchy-feely backstory to make them sympathetic or explain how they came to be so hardcore (see: Hannibal Rising – or rather, don’t).

For now I’ll say the obvious: Urban looks pretty good as Dredd. We’ll find out just how well his version of the character translates to the big screen when Dredd 3D hits theaters (most likely) sometime in 2012.

Source: 2000AD via Cinematical