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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hide of Scars Stretched Over a Heart of Stone, 21 Aug. 2014
By 
G. Meldrum (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Judge Dredd: v. 23: The Complete Case Files (Paperback)
After Case Files 22’s rather lacklustre performance, this newest volume of Judge Dredd’s adventures takes a pretty dramatic upswing in quality. We kick off with ‘Goodnight Kiss’, a rare return appearance by Garth Ennis, who’s only written two other Dredd stories since. This isn’t the pinnacle of Ennis’s work on Dredd (that’s the superb ‘Monkey On My Back’ from 2003) but it’s pretty darn close. Tying together several threads from Ennis’s earlier tales, this nine-parter sees Dredd fall foul of both assassin Jonni Kiss and the Cursed Earth’s Brotherhood of Marshals. As ever, Dredd’s defining characteristic under Ennis is his sheer toughness, but the writer also takes us on a memorable trip into Dredd’s psyche with a hallucinatory sequence making great use of both Kraken and The Dead Man. There’s an attention to detail and continuity in ‘Goodnight Kiss’ that is much appreciated in the wake of the ludicrous Millar / Morrison days – the sequence where Dredd disarms a colleague’s lawgiver feels particularly authentic, as does the much-lauded episode in which he tracks a foe to a mutant schoolhouse. True, Nick Percival’s fully-painted art isn’t really my cup of tea, but it’s not a deal-breaker, and it’s certainly atmospheric enough. Great story.

Following this, John Wagner is back with a series of solid one-offs, some comedic, others laying groundwork for ‘The Pit’. These days, it’s quite rare to see Carlos Ezquerra brought out for anything less than an epic, so it feels a bit of a welcome novelty to see him on several shorter stories here. In the midst of this run of Wagner gold is something of an oddity – Pat Mills and Paul Johnson retelling ‘The Return of Rico’ from prog 30. The story was prompted by the Stallone Dredd movie, featuring Joe’s aforementioned clone brother, but it does little that its more concise McMahon predecessor didn’t already manage in six pages. Aside from Mills getting his own continuity wrong – Rico’s return predates the Cursed Earth saga, it doesn’t follow it - I was never particularly impressed with Pat’s invention of straw-man-style laws to have Rico criticise. There is no MC-1 prohibition against human / alien relationships, Pat – that’s from your own strip, Nemesis the Warlock.

Thankfully, we can rely on John Wagner to provide the strongest story in the collection - the brilliant five-parter ‘Bad Frendz’. This tale, a direct antecedent to 'The Pit', introduces the Mega-City Frendz and their crimelord Nero Narcos, along with Vitus Dance, radland assassin and psychic. Dance is a hugely exciting and original villain, with quirky powers and a really creepy long-faced design by Ezquerra. Unfortunately, Wagner also provides the worst story in Case Files 23, the 2000AD material ending with the absolute clanger that is ‘Awakening of Angels’ - an infamous story that sees the unwelcome resurrection of Pa and Junior Angel from ‘The Judge Child’ saga. Wagner has since admitted this was a bad idea, which is rather like suggesting the Apocalypse War was a bit violent – an understatement of the highest order. As a result of this realisation, the pair have only ever appeared in two subsequent tales, one of which is this volume’s Megazine cover story, ‘The Three Amigos’ – a spirited romp in which Dredd teams up with both Judge Death and Mean Machine Angel to combat the mutant army of President Clinton Box. I’m no fan of playing Judge Death for laughs, but complaining about that at this stage is pretty futile, so I recommend you enjoy this for what it is – a big, mad action-comedy romp with hugely impressive art by Trevor Hairsine. In fact, Hairsine’s work is probably the highlight of the whole collection, channeling the big-booted spirit of Mike McMahon and the craziness of prime Ron Smith, yet still remaining wholly its own entity.

The other Megazine material is mostly decent, although the art is often weaker than the scripts. Take ‘Bug Crazy’, which sees the triumphant return of Olympic staring champion Agnes ‘Laser Gaze’ Bolton – great Wagner script, but Charles Gillespie’s rather wooden posing struggles to keep up. The same holds true for Siku’s work on the daft-but-fun ‘Whatever Happened to Bill Clinton?’, though the artist's idiosyncratic take on Dredd does have its fans. Aside from the work of Wagner, we get one-offs from Jim Alexander, Chris Standley, Gordon Rennie and Robbie Morrison – none are awful and none are outstanding, though Morrison carves out an odd niche for himself as a writer of somewhat over-emotional Dredd tales, something that works for Wagner only because he does it so rarely.

Overall then, this is a pretty great collection. ‘Bad Frendz’, ‘The Three Amigos’ and ‘Goodnight Kiss’ are all excellent stories, and the weaker stories are few and far between. Call it four and a half stars – I couldn’t give five stars to any volume that contains ‘Awakening of Angels’.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mega City justice at it's finest, 15 Sept. 2014
By 
Mike Renshaw (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Judge Dredd: v. 23: The Complete Case Files (Paperback)
Back on form for Dredd again, with some great stories (mainly short, but the odd medium length ones). "Goodnight Kiss" fetches back the Marshals, while "Megalot" and "Language Barrier" are two great shorts - one is about a winner of the Mega City lottery and the other about tourists with a faulty translation app. Both are approached with the dry humour and violence level that is the norm.

Other stories include the return of Rico (again?!!?) and you also have the return of the Angels and Death himself making a quick pit stop. Interesting "discussion" with Dredd and the Chief Judge in "The Decision". You'd not see that in the McGruder days - different and I liked it.

Art is a mixed bag as usual, but nothing that I didn't really like - as for the writing, 13 of the 15 stories are by John Wagner, so can't find a fault there.

The cover gallery contains a couple of nice covers - including one of Stallone as Dredd. I'd almost forgotten about that film!!

Best of the Case Files for a long time and a return to form for Mega City
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best, 22 Feb. 2015
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Who can better the Judge? brilliant!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 10 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Judge Dredd: v. 23: The Complete Case Files (Paperback)
Classic.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 5 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Judge Dredd: v. 23: The Complete Case Files (Paperback)
Upto the usual standard that you expect from the series.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Judge Dredd: v. 23: The Complete Case Files (Paperback)
I have always enjoyed read JD so these are just great
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Judge Dredd: v. 23: The Complete Case Files (Paperback)
EXCELLENT
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 Sept. 2014
By 
Curnso (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Judge Dredd: v. 23: The Complete Case Files (Paperback)
Perfect
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Judge Dredd: v. 23: The Complete Case Files
Judge Dredd: v. 23: The Complete Case Files by Mark Millar (Paperback - 14 Aug. 2014)
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