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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Judge Dredd: v. 22: The Complete Case Files
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VINE VOICEon 22 March 2014
Another schizophrenic Dredd collection from an era in which the strip was dragging itself out of the darkness and into a bright new dawn - but in the tradition of the best horror movies, there's an unexpected grab of the ankle by a threat thought dead, before the series makes its final escape. Short review - not a bad collection, but not as good as CF21. Long review? Read on...

The volume kicks off well with `The Candidates' / `Voting Day' - a brief but superb piece of prime Wagner, in which Dredd finally runs for Chief Judge. Art is by Mick Austin and Carlos Ezquerra - the latter seems to have sorted out some of the computer colouring issues that made `The Tenth Planet' and `Wilderlands' so garish, and has opted for a more muted, rather bleached approach. He's not quite there yet, but it's a definite improvement on his man-gone-mad-with-filters period.

After that, though, is a protracted period in which the series fails to shine. First comes Pete Hogan's lengthy but completely inconsequential `The Big Sleet', in which Dredd is relegated to bystander in his own strip by Norse god Odin. And then we're into `The Exterminator', which sees Dredd time-travelling to 2001 to prevent a space-plague from decimating his own era. `The Exterminator' is that rarest of things - a lengthy John Wagner story that doesn't really work, though it works a damn sight better read in one go than it ever did in drawn-out weekly instalments. Apparently it was a rewritten script for a `Terminator' story - a bystander even describes Dredd as looking like Arnie's famed cyborg, which of course, he doesn't. Consensus seems to rate John Burns's art for the first two parts as superior to Emilio Frejo's for the rest - personally, I'd say Frejo's energetic work was the best thing about the story.

A rare misfire from Wagner then - but hot on its heels is the real dreck. Yup, you thought you'd seen the last of the Morrison / Millar Dredd with Case Files 20, but here they are, back for one long, unwelcome encore with `Crusade'. True, `Crusade' is by no means as dire as `Inferno' or `Book of the Dead', but still contains the usual mischaracterisation, cultural stereotypes and disastrous plot holes, along with the faint whiff of school-boy misogyny which dogs most of the duo's work on Dredd. The plot concerns judges from around the world duking it out at the South Pole, with custody of a transmogrified Tek-Judge (who may have spoken to God) as prize. Mick Austin's art is good - his design for Vatican Judge Cesare is suitably vampiric - but the story pays little heed to Dredd-world continuity, almost thumbing its nose at `Shimura' and `Devlin Waugh'.

The 2000AD half of the volume (and it is around half - there's a lot of Meg material in this collection) finishes with a wild upswing in quality with `Escape From Kurt Russell', showcasing some brilliant Paul Marshall art over a solid Wagner script, and then we're into the Meg. There's a few good Wagner character pieces in here (`Crash Diner', `Poor Johnny', `The Strange Case of Bill Clinton' and best of all, `Terror With Mrs. Gunderson') and a couple of extremely forgettable Si Spencer tales - `A Very Creepy Christmas' shouldn't be a Dredd story at all, and will make no sense unless one has read Spencer's `Creep' series. More notable is `Skar', which is a fairly straightforward Wagner monster yarn, but with very distinctive and likely fan-polarising art by Ashley Wood. The highlight for me though is `The Secret Life of Judge Pal', in which we learn of the special leeway given to Mega-City One's most effective Judge - and it's not Joe Dredd!

Overall, this volume probably averages out at about three-and-a-half stars - `Crusade' drags it down, `The Exterminator' doesn't help on the buoyancy front, and whilst the Megazine stuff's mostly good, there's nothing to match `Giant' or `Howler' from CF 20. Worth a buy though, provided your expectations aren't too high, but a slight dip compared to CF 21.
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on 22 March 2014
If you are willing to shell out nearly £20 for volume 22 of a long running series of reprints then you don't go into it blindly. Unless you are me. I had never read any of the stories in this collection before but I have been collecting the previous Case Files so I saw no reason to stop now - as I understand that we now are on the cusp of (whisper it) The Good Stuff. We have survived the tepid Garth Ennis era which basically amounted to not doing very much with the character of Judge Dredd, the Justice Department or Mega-City One in general and now with the release of Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 22 the deplorable Millar and Morrison era has passed as well. Bye bye and thanks for nothing chaps. Naturally, Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner's stories are the best of a very varied bunch (Si Spencer's "A Very Creepy Christmas" just seems to end when the story is about to begin) and if you are twelve years old or just the sort of person who gets off on vile sadism then Mark Millar and Grant Morrison's inane "Crusade" will be right up your alley. Case Files 23 is out later this year and it can't come soon enough.
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on 19 March 2014
It arrived pronto, no complaints only praises.
The stories were good up to about half way when i lost interest. This is probably why i stopped buying 2000ad, because of the artistry. Just cant get my head around this period. I know that it gets better later on as i have brought stand alone volumes,
For me this is a down period. But i will carry on buying as i love the product.
I just think that these books should concentrate on 2000ad and not the add ons.
Still give it 5 stars though......
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on 14 September 2014
A couple of good John Wagner stories in this collection. A very short story kicks off the book, with lots of variety including a Terminator type time travel story and a search for God that also introduces a Judge from the Vatican. Interesting to say the least.

Art is varied, none really to my taste however Carlos Ezquerra provides a constant back to the original days.

Not as good as some of the earlier case files, but a good read and just about worth the price.

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on 29 June 2016
Again different quality of art work
story's come from 2000ad and the megazine no sign of him slowing down fortunately for us
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on 14 October 2016
A delight.
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on 8 January 2015
I enjoyed every single volume of these so far, don't waste time just plunge in.
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on 10 December 2014
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on 9 September 2014
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