JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES VOL. 9 (2000 AD, Second UK Printing, 2008; Softcover)
Collects the Judge Dredd stories from 2000 A.D. #424-473 (cover dates June 29, 1985- June 7, 1986)
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Artists: Steve Dillon, Carlos Esquerra, Ian Gibson, John Higgins, Cam Kennedy, Barry Kitson, Brendan McCarthy, Cliff Robinson, Ron Smith, and Brian Talbot
Curse the 2012 film Dredd!!! It was that movie that compelled me to gobble up the entire run of these books in a matter of months, leaving me still trying to catch up on reading them four years later.
Judge Dredd is the greatest black humour comic of all time. Much like Stephen Colbert, those who want to believe it as straight up commentary will do so, while the rest of us see it as the satire that it truly is. Dredd's the straight man, the absolute rule of law, might makes right testosterone-laden caricature with minimal characterization. In short, the order of the day for the 1980s. There's no need for depth or humanity here, as Dredd mirrored the material girl decade to a T.
I enjoyed the Nosferatu arc. Dredd often drifts into Horror territory, as the science fiction dystopian future is only a notch away from that anyways. Many of the arcs in this volume are lighter fare, less epic and more tongue in cheek fun than what came before. There are even some done in one stories here, like Love Story. In that one we find Dredd reaffirm his one true love: the law, going as far as to arrest a lovesick woman who wastes a judge's time, itself a criminal offense. There is another done in a few issues story where a Judge goes rogue when he falls in love. I guess that those are the most “human” stories in the book. The Warlord arc finds the '80s' fascination with martial arts on full display.
John Higgins turns in some stellar artwork on Beggar's Banquet. He of course went on to do the coloring for Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke. In many ways 2000 AD is like Saturday Night Live. New and unproven talent break out and leave here for the big time but are not afraid to come back once in a while.
This was an uneven yet entertaining read. Like I said, little in the way of character development but lots of action. I am okay with this, as it is better than a dumb comic which pretends to be smart. This is a smart comic that pretends to be dumb.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- There is gutter loss on the double page spreads. Some 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. The paper has a coarse feeling to it which I find to be unpleasant to the touch.
Binding: Sewn binding.
Cardstock cover notes: This book has that dull matte frosted feeling coating which scuffs if you breathe on it too hard.