In Review: Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 12 (US Edition)

Judge Dredd Case Files 12 Cover

The Book: Judge Dredd, Mega-City One’s toughest law enforcer, is back on the streets in this collection of explosive cases. This volume of scintillating thrills features some of the very best Dredd stories including ‘Full Mental Jacket,’ ‘Bloodline,’ and the ‘Return of P.J. Maybe,’ featuring everybody’s favorite pint-sized master criminal. Also included are some of the first Dredd strips to go full colour!

The Review: We can be guilty of forgetting what a vibrant comic 2000AD was during the 1980s, until we’re fortunate enough to get a compilation such as Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 12 (US Edition), on sale now on both sides of the Atlantic.

This collection treats us to almost a full year of Dredd stories that were first published between April 1988 and March 1989, a period that saw the strip’s transition from black and white to full colour comics. While none of the stories, are an epic on the scale of “The Cursed Earth” or “The Pit”, they add to the depth of detail within the Dredd universe. It’s really quite hard to pick out a favourite storyline to show how good the writing of Alan Grant and John Wagner was this year, but I will try to pick out the odd one that just adds that certain something.

Judge Dredd: The Sage
“The Sage”

First up, there’s “The Sage“, which was one of the few Judge Dredd stories to be drawn by Glenn Fabry who, with the judicious use of a few lines, he gives the water buffalo in the story a look of serious alarm. Mysticism, cold hearted reality and a fair dollop of comedy in just two frames. We can’t ask for more than thatm can we?

Judge Dredd: "Full Mental Jacket"
“Full Mental Jacket”

My next choice is “Full Mental Jacket“, a tale of juves, gangs, family, betrayal and revenge. With some lovely art from Ian Gibson, this is one of the darker mini-epics that you will find scattered throughout the publication of Judge Dredd.

PJ Maybe makes his first appearance, drawn by Liam Sharp
PJ Maybe makes his first appearance, drawn by Liam Sharp

This year was notable for the introduction of some enduring villains and one of the best has been P J Maybe, currently running rings around Dredd in the latest issue of 2000AD. Over the years since his introduction, Maybe has always been the one that got away.

Graduating from killing his overbearing second cousin and his Great Uncle Fustas to his current antics, P J Maybe has truly been Dredd’s nemesis. And for an introduction to a character, it is hard to beat Liam Sharp‘s portrayal from when we first meet him here.

Judge Dredd: Crazy Barry Little Mo

One of the Judge Dredd strip’s most thought provoking villains was Little Mo also features, who lived inside the head of Judge Barrimore Kurten and egged him on to excesses of violence that were too much even for the strict regime of Mega City as there were still limits to judicial violence.

If you’re not picking up the Complete Judge Dredd in any other way, this edition aimed at the US market could be just up your street. With over 300 pages of Judge Dredd stories, this is a great value collection.

• Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 12 (US Edition) is available in print from UK book stores, Amazon and comic book shops, as are the UK editions

No local comic shop? check out the latest comics online at ForbiddenPlanet.com (using this link helps support downthetubes)

• It’s also available in digital from: 2000 AD webshop2000 AD iPad app2000 AD Android app

Colin Noble

Colin Noble

A life-long comic fan specialising mainly in UK adventure comics. I do my best to support my passion for the comics of my youth, Commandos (still going!) and any small press that interest me.

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