The Batman/Judge Dredd Files
Written by Alan Grant, John Wagner
Art by Simon Bisley, Carl Critchlow, Glenn Fabry, Jim Murray, Jason Brashill
Available now from Islington Libraries
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Mega City One's fiercest Law-Man meets Gotham City's Dark Protector! That's the level you need to pitch yourself at coming into this book - a collection of three individual stories: Judgement on Gotham, The Ultimate Riddle and Die Laughing (sadly neglected is Vendetta in Gotham - a story that is referred to in Die Laughing - yet has sadly not been included here - what gives?).
Of the two leads - I've always preferred Dredd over Bats (which is probably a Britsh thing) which I think leaves me a little disadvantaged: as good as Batman can be (Frank Miller and all that) - most of his stories tend to be cookie-cutter fighting the bad guys stuff and although Dredd has more than his fair-share of being a "hero" and saving the day action type cases - I've always enjoyed him more when he's just being a grumpy future policeman and butting heads and coming up against weird far-out future crimes and disturbed craziness. Or to put it another way: Batman is always the star of Batman and always the main attraction while Dredd (when he's done right) is always better when he's side-lined slightly and used as a window to take in all the amazing sights and sounds of the not too distant future... Thus: The Batman/Judge Dredd Files always leaves me a little bit disappointed and slightly unsatisfied as it's the action heroes taking on the bad guys flavor rather than subtle satire of whatever. Which is obviously how it should be (Batman's character is too big to really do anything else) - but it does mean that by-and-large Dredd is just an uptight lawman.
The best stories are Judgement on Gotham and Die Laughing (and in fact - you'd be bets of avoiding The Ultimate Riddle altogether - which is just boring and awful and half-baked) - and continuing what I said above - the best bits of those are the Dredd-related jokes ("Subdue him" and "You can't hit me like that" respectively) with the rest being generic race-against-time/stop the bad guys evil plan fluff. Saying that - it's always nice to have a little bit of The Mean Machine and Judge Death and the rest plus the fully painted artwork by Simon Bisley (probably the first comic book artist I ever knew by name) is worth checking out as is the Glen Fabry stuff in Die Laughing (although they switch artists halfway through - which I think is because Glen takes so long to paint stuff).
Links: 2000AD Review Review.
Further reading: Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 05, Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 06, Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 07, Sláine: The Horned God, The Complete Future Shocks, Joker, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.
All comments welcome.