Review – Judge Dredd – The Complete Case Files 04

Judge Dredd – The Complete Case Files 04

2000ad Progs 156-207

Year 2102-2103

Judge Dredd the future lawman with the powers of judge, jury and executioner at his disposal, faces some of his most challenging cases yet in this fourth volume of his earliest adventures.

The first word that springs to mind about volume 04 of the case files is EPIC. The case file weighs in at a whopping 336 pages with the first half being entirely taken up with John Wagner penned Judge Child Quest.

A dying PSI judge has a pre cog vision that a great catastrophe will befall Mega City 1 in the year 2120. The only person that can save Megan City 1 is the ‘Judge Child’ Owen Krysler who is fated to rule the city in it darkest hour. So guess who is dispatched to track down the Judge Child – yes you guessed it old stony face himself Judge Dredd. The only problem is Owen Krysler has been taken by slavers and so Dredd sets of in hot pursuit through the Cursed Earth and all the way to Texas City. This is where things take a turn for the worse and we are introduced to the Angel Gang who jet off into space with the Judge Child leaving Dredd with no alternative but to follow if he wants to save Mega City 1.

What follows is regarded as one of the best of the Dredd epic’s, it’s got it all, the amazingly bonkers Angel Gang, the introduction of Judge Hershey, giant toads that secrete a precognitive spice, alien civilisations (and I mean alien civilisations the ‘Jigsaw man’ stories are great), an alien salesmen with a special line in miniatures and perhaps most importantly of all Judge Lopez and his moustache (that’s a harsh way to deal with facial hair Dredd !!!). It’s amazing to think that the story appeared originally over a twenty six week period, there’s no filler and no bad episodes here the writing and the art is a top notch as always (there are only so many superlatives you can use to describe Brian Bolland’s, Mike McMahon’s and Ron Smith’s art work and I think I’ve used them all in my other reviews of the case files)

Then there’s the ending….. After the galaxy spanning adventures and mishaps Dredd begins to realise that the Judge Child may not be the saviour of Mega City 1 he was thought to be and how Dredd deals with this is both shocking, but also I think, a defining Dredd moment.

Then it’s on to the second half of the book, which takes Dredd back to Mega City 1 and back to the streets. Again there’s no dip in the quality of these stories all the teething problems of the previous volumes (01 and 02 especially) seem to have been ironed out and the creative team seem to be on a real roll with these stories.

Special mention has to made for the Fink story arc which involves one of Pa Angels other sons and Un-American Graffiti where Dredd tries to out wit a wall scrawler called Chopper, the pay off in the last panel of this story is brilliant.

Then there’s the story ‘Alone in a Crowd’, if any one asks you where they should start reading Judge Dredd from or if anybody reading this is looking for a jumping on point you could do a lot worse than read this story. This six page story sums up all you need to know about Judge Dredd, Mega City 1 and its inhabitants, which in my book is one hell of an achievement.

Overall another great Case File and after the goodness of the previous Case File (03) we seem to entering into the ‘golden age’ of Judge Dredd.

 Please note that for your own safety facial hair and Judge Dredd don’t mix – you’ve been warned people.

 Rating – 5/5

 Dry Slaps – None

 GS Reviewer Nick Roberts

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