Thursday, April 30, 2009

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files vol. 12

Here's how this works. I read a book or two and tell you about them and try not to get too long-winded. This time, a review of Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files vol. 12 (Rebellion, 2009).

Readers of this blog are certainly aware of Rebellion's wonderful series of Judge Dredd Complete Case Files, which are reprinting every episode that appeared in the weekly. With the twelfth collection, released in February, the publishers have chosen to follow the strip's lead and reprint the color episodes, which began in 1988, as they originally appeared. This does mean that the books have to be a little smaller than previously - what had been 400-page collections are now 320-page volumes on better paper - but given the choice of seeing Will Simpson's beautiful painted art or Chris Weston's earliest professional pages reproduced as muddy grayscale, Rebellion has certainly made the right choice.

Writers John Wagner and Alan Grant elected to end their successful partnership following the epic "Oz," which was reprinted in the eleventh Case File. This collection contains a final handful of their co-written stories, but from there it is mostly Wagner flying solo. Grant contributes some fine one-offs, including one that sets up a later Anderson: Psi Division storyline, along with the expected pop culture parodies. Wagner has the bulk of the action, including some wonderful, moving stories which focus on the citizens caught up in the Mega-City madness. The installments concerning the mutating Eleanor Groth, painted by Simpson, and some John Ridgway-illustrated episodes set in a nursing home where a resident suspects the staff of euthanasia, are truly fantastic. Here, again, is a book that belongs on every comic-lovers' bookshelf.

(Excerpted from Thrillpowered Thursday.)

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