You can’t go through a history like Judge Dredd‘s and not have your ups and downs. Most of The Complete Case Files volumes, which collect all of the strips previously published in 2000AD and the Judge Dredd Megazine as they were published, have peaks and troughs within their pages. However, the stories collected in this book are mostly sitting in the doldrums.
Sure, there are sparks of brilliance. Some of the art duties are being handed over to up-and-coming new artists (of the time), with superb turns by the likes of Steve Dillon, Brendan McCarthy, John Higgins and the rest. But the stories they’re illustrating aren’t Wagner and Grant at their best. There’s no epic drama to be had here, and the pair seem to be on autopilot. Let’s not pretend that Wagner and Grant on autopilot isn’t still enough to create some magic, and generally land almost every strip without a serious catastrophe, but it just doesn’t have any of those brilliant moments of Dredd at its best.
Naturally, if you’re already in this deep, you won’t be skipping a book from your collection of Dredd stories. However, if you’re looking to maintain a pure collection of the very best storylines, there’s really no need to stop here. Move along, citizen.