JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES VOL. 8 (2000 AD, Third UK Printing, 2011; Softcover)
Collects the Judge Dredd stories from 2000 A.D. #376-423 (cover dates July 7, 1984- June 22, 1985)
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Artists: Steve Dillon, Brett Ewins, Ian Gibson, Cam Kennedy, Kim Raymond, Ron Smith, Cliff Robinson, Robin Smith, and Ian Kennedy
If you are still hanging out for the eighth book in any given line then you are likely a fan or you hate your money and buy solely out of habit. Either way, this era of Judge Dredd is low on character development and high on action. Dredd isn't much different here than he was in his earliest adventures. This is a fast-paced, light read that holds up very well three decades later.
In the Dredd Angel arc we see Mean Angel of The Angel Gang return. Due to forced brain surgery Mean Angel temporarily sees his sworn enemy, Judge Dredd, as his father. Dredd and Mean Angel journey into the north Texas Rad-Lands to recover the five clones of Mega-City's greatest judges. I really enjoyed Ron Smith's artwork on that arc.
Kim Raymond takes over the artwork for the Gator arc, and his art has a gritty, hard-edged vibe to it. It gives the strip an almost Noir feel. It is an interesting take, because despite the over the top violence there has always been an almost tongue in cheek feeling to the strip due to the somewhat cartoony feel of the art. Things seemed more serious with Raymond's artwork.
Folks who discovered the character because of both Judge Dredd movies (the 2012 one and the other one that sucked) are led to believe that Judge Anderson was his constant sidekick. This is, so far at least, false. She was his partner for a short while in The Complete Case Files Vol. 3 trade paperback, and is featured again here.
In the City Of The Damned arc Dredd and Anderson journey to the future of 2120 to find the answers to disastrous predictions, finding themselves face to face with The Mutant. The Mutant turns out to be (!!!SPOILER!!!) the evil clone of the Judge Child.
In The Hunters Club we find The Hunters Club Of Mega-City One randomly target people from the citizens directory. They warn them and then pick them off at their leisure. Unlike most cases, Dredd does not nail the perps this time out.
The writing and artwork are all solid, and the brisk pace of the stories makes them hold up well when compared to modern day comics. While some of the Cold War overtones and black humor might be lost on younger readers I think that these stories read well enough as straightforward action tales to hold their interest. This is fun, escapist stuff.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.75 out of 5.
The OCD zone- There is gutter loss on the double page spreads. Many word balloons are swallowed up in there, resulting in you trying to pry the book a little to try and read what is written.
This book is wider than a standard trade paperback. The material is still reprinted smaller than the original publications, as UK comics were larger than US comics.
Linework restoration: Everything looks clean, although the handful of pages that were originally in color look like they were scanned from the original issues and look murky.
Paper stock: Thick uncoated stock.
Binding: Sewn binding.
Cardstock cover notes: This book has that dull matte frosted feeling coating which scuffs if you breathe on it too hard.