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"Next time, we get our retaliation in first!",
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This review is from: Judge Dredd: Complete Case Files v. 5 (Paperback)
If anyone new to Dredd has read the first couple of volumes in this collection & was disappointed, I would strongly recommend that you buy volume 5 & give Dredd another try. That's because this collection contains the Block Mania storyline, which unexpectedly leads into The Apocalypse War - a significant turning-point & one of the greatest epic tales in the series to date.
When this storyline was written, the Cold War was going strong - no doubt inspiring Wagner to set this series in a post-apocalyptic future in the first place. But Dredd's world wasn't merely post-apocalyptic for long, as in this storyline, East-Meg One launches an all-out nuclear assault on Mega-City One. The result is devastating - the Big Meg's population is reduced from 800 million to 400 million as much of the city is reduced to radioactive rubble. Unable to penetrate the Sov's defences, Mega-City One & its greatest lawman are seriously on the ropes.
The subject of nuclear war is handled maturely, creatively & with Dredd's typical black, ironic & very British humour that came to typify the series & make it truly stand out. It also left quite a legacy on the Dredd universe. It gave Wagner & Grant the opportunity to create a whole host of colourful perps, muties & plagues twisted by radition in future storylines. More significantly, Wagners' desire to bring some social commentary to the series is combined perfectly with Dredd running round killing the baddies & saving his uncaring city but never getting the girl.
Also included is 'Death Lives' - Judge Death returns & this time he's brought some friends with him! This volume also contains The Mega Rackets - a series of short stories centred around organised crimes of the future. These range from the quirky (peaceful aliens farmed for their youth-giving properties) to the dark (virtually unstoppable Gila Munja mutant assassins). These stories are OK but not on par with the other classics which make up most of this volume - which certainly represent good value for money!