JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES VOL. 4 (2000 AD, First US Printing, 2011; Softcover)
Collects the Judge Dredd stories from 2000 A.D. Nos. 156-207 (cover dates March 15, 1980- April 11, 1981)
Writers: John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Kelvin Gosnell
Artists: Mike McMahon, Ron Smith, Brian Bolland, Ian Gibson, Steve Dillon, and Brett Ewins
Things start out with a bang with The Judge Child, one of the more famous (or is it infamous?) early Dredd arcs (also available in a stand alone trade paperback). That runs from issues 156 all the way to 181, 26 parts in all. That's one long arc. It ran in weekly six page increments over seven months in 1980. We are treated to some outright gorgeous artwork by Brian Bolland and Ron Smith. Smith's almost as good as Bolland, while Mike McMahon's artwork is merely serviceable. Both the writing and artwork continue to improve as we move along with the series.
The rest of the book is mostly one or two part tales, with some going as high as four parts. Things are definitely scaled down in scope after a 26-part story. The foundation of Dredd's law as an absolute philosophy are reiterated so that there is no doubt in the reader's mind. Some fans refer to this as the “two-dimensional” era of Dredd but I had a good time reading this stuff.
Since comic books in England were not under the Comics Code Authority the violence is way over the top when compared to American comics of similar vintage. The tone and pacing of this comic is so different from US comics of the day. It's obvious that these British comics had a huge impact on American comic books, especially stuff by that Alan Moore guy, whoever he is. This reads pretty smoothly and has aged really well.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Okay, this no table of contents, no page numbers, and no indication of any kind of which story came from which issue is driving me insane. It's pretty bad when I have to sit on comicbookdb.com and piece things together that way.
The only covers that are included are the ones which feature Judge Dredd on them. Those would be Progs 156, 159-161, 163, 164, 168-170, 172, 173, 178, 180, 182, 184, 186, 189, 191-193, 197, 199, 201, and 204. Dredd's popularity was obviously rising, given the number of cover slots he received this time around.
DVD-style Extras included in this book: None.
Linework and Color restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5. Things look really, really good here, with no discernible linework dropouts or pixelation of any kind. The only times that things look murky are in the issues where the two-page splash was originally presented in color. Those were scanned and then printed here in black and white, and as such, look a little murky compared to the rest of the book. There are only a handful of these throughout the book.
Paper rating: 4.25 out of 5. This has thick uncoated stock of paper which is different from the paper used in the other US editions.
Binding rating: 4.5 out of 5. This has a crazy, super thick band of glue.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. The cover has a weird, almost rubbery coating to it. It feels odd and yet seems to be really durable.