Exploding mechanical gorillas, Call-Me-Kenneth, and the dangers of smoking out on the street – that’s right folks, 2000 AD are treating us to a new and a little bit improved edition of the very first Case Files collection of Judge Dredd strips. Collecting over 300 pages worth of the earliest Dredd strips in a smouldering hardback cover with some added splashes of colour, there’s still a feeling of vanity to justifying such a release. Then again, just about any excuse is a mega excuse to see so many of John Wagner’s classic early adventures get a bit of fresh air.
However, not every single page has a decent amount of quality to it – some of the reprinted artwork looks thin and smudgy, but not overly so. Additionally, it almost feels as if the varying quality of reprinted art is delegated to some of the lesser strips here, as the juggernaut Robot Wars, all 41 pages of it, loses none of its visual viciousness.
Alas, not every Judge Dredd story was a corker, and the fact that the Case Files’ mission is to reprint EVERY Judge Dredd adventure shines new light on those lesser stories. Mugger’s Moon feels like a leftover script that was found in Wagner’s bin, and The Comic Pusher, a tale of vintage comics being sold illegally, is quite bizarre.
But the sheer adrenaline of this collection just about manages to blast away any minor quibbles of subpar strips. America may have the likes of Batman, but we’ve got the one and only Judge Dredd, and here you’ll find over 300 reasons why he still stands as one of the greatest comic book characters ever created.
JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES 01 (10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION) / WRITER: VARIOUS / ARTIST: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: 2000 AD GRAPHIC NOVELS / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 13TH