JUDGE DREDD: THE COMPLETE CASE FILES VOL. 11 (2000 AD, First Printing, October, 2008; Softcover)
Collects the Judge Dredd stories from 2000 A.D. #523-570 (cover dates May 23, 1987- April 16, 1988)
Writers: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Artists: Brett Ewins, John Ridgway, Cliff Robinson, Robin Smith, Mike Collins, John Higgins, Liam McCormack Sharp, Steve Dillon, Barry Kitson, Jim Baike, Garry Leach, Will Simpson, Dave Elliot, and Brendan McCarthy
It all started for me with an Anthrax song and then the 2012 movie Dredd. That is what prompted my mad quest to procure every single Complete Case Files as well as the Restricted Case Files books in the winter of 2012-13 . Over the past few years I've slowly been reading these books and have realized that I may never finish reading them all.
The writing is solid throughout, with continuity that is as tight as a drum. It's the artwork which swerves all over the road here, from brilliant to what I politely call “deadline art”. Cliff Robinson's artwork is head and shoulders above the rest of the pack here. Judge Dredd was a weekly strip, and there was a rotating crop of artists in order to make the going to press deadline. As a weekly reader this probably didn't matter, but when reading a huge swath of issues in a row like you do with this book it can be jarring from one story to the next.
The highlight of this book is the 26 part epic, Oz, where former champion skysurfer Chopper makes a prison break. Jug McKenzie has been the champion for the two years since Chopper has been in prison and was talking a lot of smack, which caught Chopper's attention. With nothing to lose, Chopper hops on a skyboard and goes on a harrowing journey across the ocean to Australia to compete in Supersurf 10. Some of the arcs in this book were about as fun to read as chewing chalk, but this one was a real page turner that kept me awake until I finished it.
Dredd's a good character and a good concept, but in my case a little goes a long way. There is a sameness to it all, even when they switch gears and Dredd is fighting rats, mutant alligators or martial artists. Dredd is great when I am in a certain frame of mind. The problem for me is that this frame of mind is becoming less and less frequent right now.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials of physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.
These books are wider than standard trade paperbacks. The material reprinted here is presented in a smaller size than it was in the original publications.
There is a cover gallery in the back of the book which features only nine of the twenty one covers that Judge Dredd appeared on out of the issues collected in this book.
Linework and Color restoration: This book is printed in black and white, which is becoming a problem as the full color (or colour, since this is British) double page spreads are now an every issue occurrence. Those are scanned and printed in black and white, resulting in a grayscale mess. Starting with the next Volume I noticed that they have switched to a full color, glossy paper format for this line of books. The first two pages out of each six-eight page story in this book are a murky grayscale abomination with gutter loss.
Paper stock: Uncoated paper stock. The paper used in the European printed versions (like my copy here) feels odd to the touch. I can't quite explain it.
Binding: Sewn binding. There is an annoying amount of gutter loss across the double page spreads, with the word balloons getting sucked right down the middle.
Cardstock cover notes: Super thick cardstock covers with a matte coating that is sufficiently resistant to scuffing.