Presenting the entire Judge Dredd, every strip, from every Prog, in order; Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files reaches volume 38 with tales from John Wagner, Gordon Rennie, John Smith, Alan Grant, and some great art from Carlos Ezquerra, Siku, Cam Kennedy, and Carl Critchlow.
It’s another Judge Dredd Case Files without any kind of Dredd epic, but that’s just the way it works out sometimes. And frankly, it’s these shorter strips, over the years, that have really made up the real meat of Judge Dredd and Mega-City One.
Although there’s four writers listed for this volume, it really is a John Wagner thing, with John Smith and Alan Grant contributing one storyline each, and Gordon Rennie giving us three. Now, having said that, both Smith and Rennie contribute a couple of great stories, but it’s definitely another volume dominated, as Dredd really was for decades, by just one writer.
In terms of the real best on offer here, there’s a great opener from John Smith, ‘Meatmonger’, that’s something of an extreme body horror affair with Dredd spirited off-world to a traveling meat-loving alien ship. It’s something that just plays differently to a normal Dredd, complete with stylish, if occasionally too busy and muddy to keep a good flow, artwork from Siku.
After that, there’s plenty of great John Wagner written Dredds, ranging from one-offs like Finger of Suspicion, which shows off just how good a comic writer he is (and how damn great Cam Kennedy is) to the multi-parter Cincinnati, with art by Carl Critchlow, where Dredd goes all the way to the ruins of the former city just to grab one perp – again, a very Wagnerian, and Dredd-like twist to the end.
But it’s not all Wagner doing little tales of little consequence, because then we get ‘Brothers of the Blood‘, with typically stunning art from Carlos Ezquerra, a finale of sorts to several stories Wagner had been weaving around Dredd’s clones, whether it was Rico I or II, Kraken, or here, Cadet Dolman.
Gordon Rennie’s three stories are all out and out action things, but all three do the job well. Gulag, with art from Charlie Adlard, a damn good call-back to the Apocalypse War with Dredd taking a hand-picked team into Sov territory, ‘Hong Tong‘, with art from Patrick Goddard and Dylan Teague, has Dredd over in the Far-East reluctantly working with People’s Justice Ministry Inspector Liu Chan Yeun, known on the streets as ‘Johnny Woo’. And then there’s ‘Sturm & Dang‘ – Carlos Ezquerra on art and Judge Dredd and Cursed Earth Koburn butting heads with a Cadet hotdog run gone sideways – great fun of course!
All in all, a damn fine collection of Dredd – You can get hold of Volume 38 of The Complete Case Files from 9th December.
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 38
With stories written by John Smith, John Wagner, Alan Grant, Gordon Rennie. Art by Siku, Jim Murray, Cark Critchlow, Val Semeiks, Cliff Robinson, John Burns, Carlos Ezquerra, Charlie Adlard, Cam Kennedy, Graham Manley, Patrick Goddard, Dylan Teague. Cover by Patrick Goddard and Dylan Teague.
Originally serialised in 2000 AD Progs 1365-1387 and Judge Dredd Megazine 207-213 – from 2003 and 2004
Now, preview time. Here’s the complete list of what’s inside…
And here’s just a little selection…
Meatmonger by John Smith and Siku
The Good Man by John Wagner and Jim Murray
Cincinnati by John Wagner and Carl Critchlow
Brothers Of The Blood by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra
Gulag by Gordon Rennie and Charlie Adlard
Storm and Dang – Gordon Rennie and Carlos Ezquerra
Crime of Passion by John Wagner and Cliff Robinson