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on 5 July 2007
If you've been following the series thus far, you'll know that a lot of Dredd's early stories - even as late as Book 3 - simply weren't very good. Having not read any of these the first time around I'm free of rose-tinted glasses, and can readily admit it. Book 1 was riddled with them; Book 2 had one or two sneak into the back; and while Book 3 on the whole managed to avoid them, it's Book 4 that is entirely free of the blighters.

Seriously - I dare you to find a single outright clunker in this volume - and considering the pagecount, that's no mean feat. This book represents a creative team hitting their peak. Finally at ease with both the character of Dredd and the world he inhabits (boy, this strip sure did take a long time to find its feet) John Wagner, joined here by writing partner Alan Grant, really goes to town. So comfortable have they become with Mega-City One that they start off instead by shining a light into a previously unexplored area of his universe - quite literally, as they send Dredd off on a galaxy-spanning space odysessy. Classic villians aplenty are thrown into the mix to test their wits against him - murderous Texan hillbillies the Angel gang in particular emerge as brilliant creations - and, in the same way that we were introduced to Anderson for the first time last volume, Dredd's supporting cast gets several more noteworthy additions. At times it's difficult to believe that only two men wrote this book, so bursting with ideas is it. Horror, out-and-out sci-fi, comedy, adventure - the stories cover everything.

The art team hits a peak here, too. The bulk of the art chores are handled by Bolland, McMahon and realtive Dreddworld newcomer Ron Smith - between them, these three giants of Dredd's early years show that no-one can draw Dredd quite like they can. You simply can't fault it. There were even better things on the imminent horizon, but this could quite rightly be considered the start of Dredd's golden years.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 2 August 2006
The collected volumes in this series certainly demonstrate how the most influential UK comic book character developed over time. I deliberately didn't buy the first volume because I remember the early Dredd stories as being not as interesting or well-written as the later ones - this feeling was confirmed when reading the Cursed Earth storyline in volume 2 for the very first time.

With volume 4, however, the series becomes a lot more interesting. The first half of this collection consists of The Judge Child Quest, while the second half is assorted shorter storylines involving Dredd cracking heads on the streets.

Frankly, I had forgotten how good the Judge Child Quest was. I had forgotten how charismatic the Angel Gang were & how very, very alien the aliens are. Forget Star Trek & its people with prosthetic lumps on their heads acting like humans - here we have a surreal Monty Python-esque world where illegal 'aliens' stay in a building shaped like a giant foot & the human Dredd seeks is literally disappearing one piece at a time. Then there's the planet where the rich have their minds stored in biochips & hire other peoples' bodies & a world where every day a new war is fought & televised, purely for entertainment. The choice of artists is well thought-out, too - his imagination & attention to background detail make Bolland perfect for The Jigsaw Man whereas McMahon's moodier style suits the gothic horror of the oracle spice plot arc.

While The Judge Child Quest focuses on Dredd the action hero, 'Alone In The Crowd' is a critique of Mega-City One's totalitarian society. A citizen keeps his head down while muggers attack another passer-by. When Dredd later collars the muggers, another citizen keeps his head down & displays an equal amount of fear. A further hint of similar themes to come is 'Un-American Graffiti', featuring the first appearance of Chopper, the thrill-seeking, freedom-obsessed hero of the people who later became a very significant character in Dredd's world. Also included is the revenge of Fink Angel, one of my favourite villains as a child.

Reading this volume in hindsight means that a seemingly insignificant story in which the Sovs attack Mega-City One is clearly a precursor to the Apocalypse War storyline collected in volume 5. The Apocalypse War is the point where Dredd's world really turned around & became a lot more interesting, innovative & mature than the average 2000AD action strip. I have only given this collection 4 stars because 5 are reserved for that volume.
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VINE VOICEon 4 October 2009
By this point John Wagner was starting to get itchy feet with regards to Dredd, which resulted - as it starts to here - in much of the strip's trademark black humour taking a back seat as Dredd starts to turn into a dour old man bearing the grimness of the world on his shoulders. Dredd's ultra grim n gritty seriousness lasted for a few years before Wagner cheered up again and pretty much decided to ignore the fact Dredd's knocking on in years and get back to telling great stories.

That's not to say that there aren't some good stories in this volume, because there are, including the beginnings of Dredd questioning the system... but at the same time as Dredd took a downturn, 2000AD made the catastrophic decision that from now on all artwork was to be in colour. As this was pre-photoshop, the result was that 2000AD's pages were flooded with garish, slapdash, and often horrendous painted artwork as artists, often with no aptitude for working in colour, churned out work as quickly as possible in order to pay the bills. Most artists floundered (including some of the greats like Ezquera in this volume) and for every Simon Bizley there were hordes of others floundering along with Ezquera.

Fortunately Photoshop eventually appeared on the scene, the artwork drastically improved, Wagner got it all out of his system and Rebellion revitalised 2000AD... but all this is unfortunately a few volumes down the line. I'll still be buying them all obviously, but as Necropolis is looming on the horizon (not in this volume thank god) and it's just about my least favourite Dredd story of all time I'll just have to grit my teeth. Never mind, it all sorts itself out in the end!
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on 14 September 2012
This volume kicks off with a rarity and that's a story with is illustrated by the illustrious Kevin O'Neill. It's a real shame that he did not draw more Dredd as this story shows. The third story in this collection is the excellent and funny "The Art Of Kenny Who?" This volume is almost worth buying for this story alone.
Like the previous volume in this collection this is mainly shorter Judge Dredd stories but also like the last volume they are well worth reading.
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on 6 April 2013
After the two epic story lines dominated the previous volume, this collections gets really into the world of Dredd. There are lots of different writers and illustrators having fun with the world of Mega City One and exploring the lives of some of the 800 million inhabitants, and of course, the perps that roam the streets. I'm a bit of a fan of the stories beyond the boundary wall, so enjoyed "The Black Plague" in particular, which sees Dredd having to fight back a horde of mutated spiders from the Cursed Earth and also the mystery and intrigue of "The Invisible Man", which is quite the detective story.

I guess some may thing the Walter the Wobot narrated stories are a bit silly, but I like them and I like Walter as a character, providing a little light relief. Regular Dredd readers will know he's a hero, so cut him some slack!

One criticism is the slimness of the volume - it's probably half the size of Judge Dredd: Complete Case Files v. 4,Judge Dredd: Complete Case Files v. 5 and some of the other Case Files Collections.

However, plenty to like in this volume, and something for everyone, I think.
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on 25 April 2013
The aftermath of the Apocalypse War allows Wagner and Grant to create more characters and more scenarios in the world of Judge Dredd. The writers are on record as saying that Mega City One was getting a bit bulky, so they decided to destroy some of it and create new stories from the ashes (see Thrill-Power Overload: Thirty Years of 2000 AD (Rebellion 2000ad) for more details). This freedom allows them to have areas of high radiation creating no-go areas and strange new diseases and lifeforms, food and housing shortages and a Sov agent hiding in the wreckage. All this has to be dealt with a under-staffed, over-stretched Judge force and the strains show in many of the story lines.

As well as the new, it's nice to see the return of some familiar faces, such as Otto Sump, some of the Angel Gang and even the Judge Child. I particularly like the stories that start with a TV advert, such as The Stupid Gun, more often than not drawn by Ron Smith - probably in one of his most prolific Dredd periods.

Good stories, not classics, but a lot of like.
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on 30 August 2008
Here we are with the tenth collection of the consistenly excellent Judge Dredd.

The first thing you will notice with reading through the collection is there is a lack of the epic stories that have been the highlight of many of the previous collections.

Instead we get the slightly more personal stories that look at the citizens of Mega-City 1. There are two stories in particular that stood out for me and made this a must have purchase (I would have bought it anyway, but that's beside the point). They are the Taxidermist and The Art of Kenny Who.

The Taxidermist tells the story of a Taxidermist (surprised??) who has to do a "Favour" for a local crime lord. There is something I find amazing about this story, it's just a shame that we will have to wait a while for the sequel set around the Taxidermist Olympics.

The Art of Kenny Who tells the tale of an aspiring comic book artist who comes the the Big Meg to try and sell his work and earn some money for his family back in Scotland. This could be considered more a comedy of errors.

The art features some of the best examples of our homegrown talent with the likes of Cam Kennedy and Steve Dillon.

The only thing that knocks a point of for this is that The Art of Kenny Who has already appeared in a collection, showing of his full saga. But I suppose it wouldn't be the complete case files without it.
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on 24 June 2013
Excellent stories but one BIG problem with this Kindle release is that the pages have been stretched vertically,distorting the sometimes beautiful artwork.Fix please,Amazon!
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on 11 October 2013
it was a good read and i thoroughly joyed it although it was shorter than the volumes 1 and 2,
if i had to change it in anyway i would make it slightly bigger and put more pictures in the
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on 1 July 2013
Brilliant,what more can I say. Some of the stories are a bit corny but the majority are stonkers. Any book with a Judge Death story has got to be worth having. A real blast from the past. Scrotnig!!!!
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