The Complete Case Files of one Joseph Dredd rumbles on, every collection reprinting the law in order, a couple of years worth of 2000 AD and Megazine stories under one cover. It’s a glorious thing indeed…
(Cover by Cliff Robinson)
In Volume 34 of Judge Dredd – The Complete Case Files, we’re up to 2001 and 2002 now, a good twenty years and some since Dredd first appeared in 1977, and inside this volume you’ll find tales, long and short, from a host of famous name writers and artists, including, of course, Dredd’s creators, John Wagner and the late, much missed, Carlos Ezquerra.
Whether you’re an old fan or someone totally new to Dreddd, there’s a hell of a lot inside to get your teeth into. And one major benefit of getting your fix of the law in these massive tomes rather than individual story collections is that here you get the whole Dredd experience. When we usually talk Dredd collections, such as the magnificent Small House from Rob Williams and Henry Flint that’s just out now, we’re talking about the BIG stories, the epic stuff, Apocalypse War, The Day The Law Died, Day Of Chaos, Trifecta and all the rest.
But despite all of those being essential Dredd reading, they don’t quite deliver the absolute Dredd experience.
It’s all to do with the fact that Dredd and his world is a thing that’s grown and grown as the years go by, one year in reality always equating to one year in Dredd’s time. And the strip is about so much more than just one man. In fact, in many ways it’s the smaller episodes, often focusing on some aspect of Mega-City One, that really are the world-building glue that holds the whole thing together to allow the huge stories to take place.
I’d go as far as to say it’s why Dredd’s world feels so cohesive and yet is always capable of welcoming new readers. Yes, there’s a huge continuity to it, but at its core all you need to know is that there’s an incredible, futuristic city ruled by fascist Judges, capable of being judge, jury and executioner, who run the city with an iron hand. To my mind, it’s completely different from the convoluted and nigh on impossible to jump into superhero worlds of Marvel and DC. And the main reason for that? I think it’s got a lot to do with the fact that Dredd balances the event moments with the day to day stuff rather than just having the stories careers from one massive event series to another.
(Judge Dredd: Helter Skelter – Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra)
Anyway, enough of that. Time to get into what you’ll find in Judge Dredd, The Complete Case Files 34…
Well, there’s a brilliant epic Dredd to open up, with Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra (with pinch hitting from Henry Flint) on Helter Skelter, the books opener and longest story, as Dredd has to deal with foes from the past thanks to a hijacked dimensional jump, there’s the tale of an assassin carrying out orders direct from Chief Judge Hershey, or the story of a juve with a detatchable jaw kidnapped for backstreet competitive eating contests.
(Judge Dredd – Driving Desire – John Wagner and Cliff Robinson)
But in between these multi-parters, theres also plenty of those great done in ones, the world-building stuff I was just banging on about, whether it’s life on the streets in Driving Desire, infestations of vegetable buddies gone wrong in Couch Potatoes, love gone bad in Cheating Drokkers, visiting Royalty with attitude in The Student Prince, or the stylish adventures of Slick Dickens, Dredd’s greatest foe, in Slick on the Job… there’s plenty of great single Dredds to choose from in here.
Best of the bunch though, for my money is Gordon Rennie and Adrian Bamforth on Married With Juves, a daft tale of family life gone wrong and kids going off the rails in MC-1.
(Judge Dredd – Married With Juves – Gordon Rennie and Adrian Bamforth)
Judge Dredd – The Complete Case Files 34 – contains Dredd tales from 2000 AD 1250-1275, Judge Dredd Megazine 4.01-4.06 and covers the years 2001-2002 (or Dredd years 2123-2124)
Written by John Wagner, Garth Ennis, Gordon Rennie, Robbie Morrison, Alan Grant. Art by Carlos Ezquerra, Henry Flint, Adrian Bamforth, Colin MacNeil, Cliff Robinson, Ian Gibson, John Burns, Cam Kennedy, Jock, Greg Staples, Peter Doherty, Richard Elson, Frazer Irving, Paul Marshall.
So… since this is a preview, here’s some art to whet your whistle… just a little sample of the delights inside.
Helter Skelter – Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra
Married With Juves – Gordon Rennie and Adrian Bamforth
On the Chief Judge’s Service – John Wagner and Colin MacNeil
Slick on the Job – John Wagner and Greg Staples
Safe Hands – Gordon Rennie and Jock
Born Under a Bad Sign – Robbie Morrison and Peter Doherty
Who Killed Jon Lenin? – Alan Grant and Paul Marshall