Classic Tales Of Dredd
♦Tripwire’s Contributing Writer Tim Hayes takes a look at the latest classic Judge Dredd collection, The Complete Case Files 27 by Rob Williams and Henry Flint
Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 27
Writer: John Wagner
The comprehensive Complete Case Files series rolls on through Judge Dredd’s publication history, now reaching 1997-1998 and a period when Dredd co-creator John Wagner wrote every word of the character’s appearances across both 2000AD and the Megazine. Not surprisingly this locks the character’s voice and character into a consistent model from start to finish, but this particular time-capsule feels poorly balanced, without a substantial multi-part saga falling in the chronological window. Instead there’s a long sequence of the briefer self-contained black comedies that kept the Dredd strip ticking over.
Some of them are suitably queasy. Match-fixing in a fast-food over-eating contest occupies Dredd for a bit, allowing Kevin Walker to illustrate some splendid vomiting. Later a psychotic robotic professor sets about building the perfect human body, starting with the empty head of a celebrity and decanting the unused contents. But several stories are just filling space, none more so than the six pages Dredd spends being annoyed by Mega-City One’s fashion fad for ass-less trousers, in the process confirming that the lawman is inevitably a prude. Another story has him attacked by horny topless sex robots, which is a great full-page Greg Staples visual waiting for a bigger story to arrive.
Some more specific 1990s business occupies the Megazine story about a certain former sports star named Samson Ojay, suspected of double murder, who goes on the run in a slow-speed car chase around Mega-City One which Dredd gruffly terminates. An article of clothing forms a crucial piece of evidence for the subsequent trial. “If the kneepad don’t fit, we must acquit,” says a member of the legal team. “You make me ashamed to be a judge,” responds Dredd.
Serious Dredd continuity features directly in Wagner and Jason Brashill’s doomy and atmospheric In The Year 2120, finally bringing Dredd and Cassandra Anderson to the fateful day of disaster prophesied during the Judge Child storyline, published all of eighteen years earlier – a reminder that Dredd’s real-time chronology is a rich and audacious tactic by the creators.
The book rounds off with Predator vs Judge Dredd, a three-issue Megazine story drawn by Enrique Alcatena in which a visiting Predator identifies exactly which resident of Mega-City One is worthy of being his prey. Dredd gets assistance from a Psi-Division Auxiliary named Schaefer, who turns out to be the great-great-grand-daughter of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the first Predator film – a connected universe worth the trouble, for once.