Judge Dredd: Complete Case Files 05

Writer: John Wagner
Artists: Will Simpson, Carlos Ezquerra, John Anderson
Publisher: 2000 AD

As Judge Dredd gets older, he begins the question the morality of taking away freedom from people, of a society controlled by the few that punishes crime to the extreme. Those in Control know his thoughts, and before Dredd retires, they have him train a clone of himself. With Dredd gone, can his clone protect Mega City One, or will the city fall apart without the legendary Judge there to dispense justice?

I’m going to be completely honest here, going into this collection, I knew almost nothing of Judge Dredd. I knew the name and I knew the costume, but I’ve never read or watched anything involving him. I didn’t know what he was about or what he did. I didn’t know the setting, the story, the characters, none of it. And yet, while I was occasionally confused, I found Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 14 easy to get into from an outside perspective, and I was able to enjoy it.

Even as someone who knows nothing about Judge Dredd, the idea of a storyline where Dredd retires and a clone of him has to take his place is interesting, and without getting into spoilers, the twists and turns the story goes through as it follows Mega City One under the new Judge Dredd brings it to some incredibly dark places.

The writing is solid and manages to clearly bring across character motivations and what’s going on. Narration never becomes too much, and Wagner manages to strike a balance between storytelling through dialogue, art, and narration. I also feel like I should compliment how easy it was for a new reader to get into, even though I get the feeling that might not have necessarily have been a goal Wagner was aiming for, but something that just so happened to be the case.

The art by Will Simpson and John Anderson in the opening chapter is beautiful and perfectly sets the tone of the book, with Carlos Ezquerra bringing across that tone throughout the rest of the book in slightly clearer artwork.

Ezquerra’s artwork brings across singular moments incredibly well, and really sells the reader on a mood, a place, or a character. However, it often gets muddled and becomes hard to follow as the action ramps up. This problem is more noticeable in the early chapters, as later chapters through a necessity of the story have the artwork focusing more on bringing across a dark and sinister feel in singular moments, and in these moments Ezquerra’s style really shines.

Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 14 is easy to get into and explores an interesting premise, later going into much darker concepts, telling a story with high stakes that immediately grabs your attention. The artwork can become confusing during action scenes, but otherwise brings across a sinister feeling and beautifully illustrates singular moments and smaller character scenes. In the end, everything comes together to tell an exciting, high stakes story that is well worth reading.

Rating: 4.5/5

More Info: For more information on Judge Dredd and 2000 AD, check out their website, twitter, and facebook page.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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