JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES 10 (US)
Judge Joseph Dredd's long and illustrious career continues in this look-back through his black and white years, taking in a Cursed Earth impostor, a brutal battle with martial artist Stan Lee (not that one) and a trip to Atlantis. Coming in post Apocalypse War, what it lacks in spectacle, it more than makes up for in world building and wit; the sense of its writers' and artists' growing confidence and enthusiasm is palpable.
Dredd co-creator John Wagner and fan favourite Alan Grant headline the writers giving words to Dredd's world, while Cam Kennedy, Steve Dillon and Kevin O' Neill are among the many illustrators gathered on art duties. The art peaks early with O' Neill's typically grotesque The Law According to Judge Dredd (giving the book its best villain) but Brendan McCarthy's work on Judge Dredd in Atlantis is a highlight, as is the always wonderful, almost definitive penmanship of Cliff Robinson. At times, the book reads almost like a who's who of earlyish Judge Dredd artists.
If many of the stories are forgettable, none of them are out-and-out bad. It's not until the early Garth Ennis/Mark Millar/Grant Morrison era (in all-new colour!) that Judge Dredd's iffiest adventures would commence. This is Judge Dredd at the strip's most punk, most weird and most adventurous. Many will prefer the iconicism and high-octane action of tales like Necropolis, The Day the Law Died or The Cursed Earth (and those stories are classics for a reason) but there's something to be said for 'freak of the week' episodes too. Especially when it gets us the Michael Jackson zombie of Comeback, Jack the Ripper (he doesn't last long) and – one of the comic's best ever one-shots – The Interrogation.
The Complete Case Files 10 is a fun romp of a collection; well-written and beautifully illustrated, it collects some of the best non 'epic' Dredd stories the famed Judge has ever starred in. It may be black and white, but this book is one of the more colourful Case Files you could wish for.
INFO: JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES 10 (US) / AUTHOR: VARIOUS / ARTIST: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: 2000 AD / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 9TH