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JUDGE DREDD, COMPLETE CASE FILES #32

by Gavin Johnston on November 28, 2018

Writers: John Wagner, Roland Grey, Gordon Rennie, John Smith
Artists: Simon Fraser, Arthur Ranson, Simon Davis, Peter Doherty, Laurence Campbell, Dylan Teague, Kevin Brighton, Jock, Chris Weston, Paul Marshall, Cam Kennedy, Siku, Fraser Irving, Henry Flint, Steve Parkhouse, Ben Oliver, John Higgins, Carlos Ezquerra, Patrick Goddard
Colourists: Dylan Teague; Gary Caldwell, Chris Blythe, D’Israeli, Len O’Grady, Dondie Cox
Letterers: Tom Frame, Annie Parkhouse, David Bishop
Publisher: Rebellion


The Case Files project is a noble one.  A complete reprinting of every Dredd story, to form a comprehensive library of every story, good or bad, since 1977.  This is the 32nd collection of Judge Dredd stories, reprinted in (roughly) the original order, and we’ve reached the futuristic year 2000. We’ve survived the horrors of the millennium bug, Robbie Williams “Millennium” being played on repeat, and people explaining that the millennium won't happen for another year. After much speculation, Tharg has decreed that 2000AD is still a futuristic enough name, and in the world of Dredd, big changes are coming...

 

Throwing each week’s Dredd story together this this often shows the flaws, and can highlight the misses rather than the hits. Case Files are often a mixed bag.

 

There are a lot of forgettable, mostly comedy, shorts. There are a couple of celebrity-based comedy funnies, and a few stories based on the weird fads of Mega City One. Walter the Wobot, Mrs Gunderson, Judge Death and Mean Angel return in a single anarchic tale involving a flood and an explosive toilet. On two separate occasions Dredd accidentally starts a shoot out in a diner, and Blow Out is a nice short about the pressures of being a judge, and flatulence on public transport.

 

There are a few stories that do a bit more world building, and Case Files 32 could be regarded as the starting point for a few arcs that would define 2000AD for the coming years.

 

The murderous genius PJ Maybe returns for the first and second time. Maybe would go on to outsmart the Judges on several occasions, slowly becoming a more important recurring villain.

 

Blood Cadets delves into the backstory of Dredd and his corrupt clone brother, Rico. In the original story of Rico, Dredd’s clone brother was little more than a sketch of a man who had spent twenty years in a space prison but somehow had an eight year old daughter than no-one questioned. Don't tell Pat Mills, but Blood Cadets does a great job of building on that shallow history, whilst introducing a brand new Rico. The introduction of Dredd’s clones, and his need to build a reliable group of supporters to replace him, continues as a defining feature of the modern character.

 

The new Rico returns in Sector House, where he takes over as lead character, relegating Dredd to a cameo, and hinting at how 2000AD might just cope without him. Sector House is a nice police procedural, and a reminder that the judges are detectives as much as riot cops. A newly minted Judge Rico copes with the realisation that for all the Judge’s ideology and high minded ideals, they’re just as flawed as anyone else.

 

32 will be the latest addition to plenty of collections, and a fine addition it makes, too. If you’re looking for a place to start reading Dredd, it’s possibly either a little early or much too late, and the most important stories are already collected elsewhere.

Our Score:

8/10

A Look Inside