Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Books: Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 06


Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 06
Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art by Ron Smith, John Cooper, Steve Dillon, Carlos Ezquerra and Jose Casanovas

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I only started reading Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 06 (or as I've taken to thinking of it: "the orange one") because I've read the other ones and it seemed like I had some sort of duty to - I dunno - complete the set or whatever (gotta catch them all!).

Of course my main motivation for starting the whole looking at the Complete Case Files books in the first place is because of the Dredd movie that came out in the summer (and - yeah - still my favourite film I've seen that's been released this year - take that Dark Knight Rises / The Raid / Looper / The Avengers / Skyfall / Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol etc etc etc [1]) and since I saw it and vented out (well - most of) my inner-most thoughts and feelings (most particularly in Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 03) about the whole thing: well - I figured that there wasn't much left to say.

In addition to that - The Onion's AV Club published a thing of the biggest cinematic flops of the year [2] and although Dredd wasn't at number 1 (that dubious honour went to The Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure (Box office: $1 million / Budget: $20 million)) it did manage to come in third (Box office: $28 million / Budget: $50 million): and just typing that kinda breaks my heart: especially when I think of all the cruddy films that came out this year (I'm looking at you again Dark Knight Rises). Oh well. Maybe by the time we get to the 22nd Century the Dredd film will have got the love it deserves: still - there goes all hope for a sequel I guess [3]. Which just kinda meant that - yeah - I wasn't in much of a rush to go and revisit the sights and sounds of Mega City: too many memories. Plus (well) - three collections in (not to mention all the Dredd I've read in the past) - I just kinda assumed that there wasn't much more for John Wagner and Alan Grant to show me.

So: when I started reading the orange one - it was more an obligation than out of sense of fun: which might explain why I ended up having such a great time (low expectations win again!). In fact - for the first third or so [4] I think this might be my favourite Dredd book of all (I mean - maybe if I ever get around to rereading it - that could change - but typing it down: it doesn't feel like I'm lying [5]). I was taking a few notes when I was reading it (so I could remember all the good parts to write them down here) and at one point I wrote down "Ok Computer" because - ok here we go (let me try and explain this right): there's this kinda sense I got of creative minds just kinda hitting this perfect flow of ideas and creativity (or whatever you wanna call it): like listening to an album (it doesn't have to be Ok Computer - I mean: it could be anything: choose your favourite band and take it from there) of a band that's just in peak physical form: making everything seem sorta - I dunno - effortless (yeah? Does that make sense?). Or - to go with an example from cinema - it's like when Pixar came out with - say - Ratatouille (you don't like Ratatouille? Well - then you're wrong and you don't know anything): I mean - all the films that came out before that were amazing: and watching  Ratatouille (for the first time) - I kept waiting for them to - I dunno - mess up or let it slip - but instead it just keeps going and getting better and better and better. That (for me) was what it was like reading The Complete Case Files 06.

At this point I guess I could tell you all the ideas and stories containing within: but instead (because I don't want to ruin it for you): I'll just give you some quotes (devoid of context) to give you some idea of what to expect: "Forward the fat!" "What about the other judges who came here?" "They got wrestled." "Jim Grubb's reign as major will soon be forgotten. But his last words will live for ever." "Remember Larry, any prize you can't remember, you will be forced to eat." "Bacteria soup followed by tender maggot steaks." and (my favourite [6]): "Don't want Christmas! Want flesh!"

The only thing I would say - is that you should definitely read Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 05 before you start reading this on: seeing how (much more so than the other books) 06 acts as a big sequel to the horrors of the Apocalypse War. In fact - in pretty much every story there's a reference here or there underpinning everything - all leading up to (and one of my favourite moments in the book) the sight of the Apocalypse Monument ("Peace to All") which has to be seen to be believed (just - trust me on this: it's great) - I mean - I guess a kid would look at it and not think twice - but looking at it with older eyes: it's like something from George Orwell and/or Chris Morris.

Actually - now that I've said that: that's actually a good description of the whole book. I mean everyone tends to think that Dredd is just an action hero (and he does work well as that yeah I know) - but it's all the grim and dirty funny stuff where he really kinda excels (and I can understand a bit more now those old school 2000AD fans who were left disappointed by the Dredd film: it did sacrifice the twisted Mega City strangeness for making things a little more steam-lined and easy to get to grips with: like if they made a Brass Eye film and just made it about a current affairs team or something...). Because - yeah: the effects of radiation poisoning played for laughs, punchlines of innocent people being killed "for the good of the city" and  things like that. Speaking as someone that doesn't have a patriotic bone in his whole body: it still kinda makes me feel proud to English.

[1] In fact - if it wasn't for Dredd I would probably would have been put off totally from going to watch films at the cinema completely. As it is: well - I'm not in that much of a rush to go back. For me: there's very little worse than going to see a disappointing film at the cinema: it's kinda feels like being robbed: where not only have they taken your money - but your time and the kinda - I dunno - your potential enjoyment as well or something (yeah: #firstworldproblems I know...).

[2] See: The list of the year's biggest flops is here, and it's probably not all that surprising

[3] And the fact that we live in a word where we're not going to get a Dredd sequel - but there probably will be another Tron film is almost enough to make me give hope altogether. (In fact - yes. I'm giving up. Do Nicorette make some kind of patches I could get? I could just stick them on my arms and readjust to a life spent in calm acceptance of everything bad that ever happens: that sounds like it would be nice).

[4] It does lose some of it's momentum when it starts (literally) digging up old characters and running through some of the more familiar motions: but then that's almost understandable seeing how Mean Machine Angel is (probably) one of the best Judge Dredd characters - like - ever ("How would you like a face full of 4?")

[5] That's how morals work right? If you feel bad when you're doing it - then it's bad. And if it feels good - then it's good (yeah - that sounds about right...). 

[6] That's spoken - obviously - in the voice of Zorg.

Links: Dredd Reckoning Review.

Further reading: Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 03Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 05Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 07.

All comments welcome.


Tam said...

Actually, I thought the Dredd film was basically a Brass Eye film. The whole plot revolved around slo-mo, which is clearly a cake derivative.

It would've been my favourite film of the year but Silver Linings crept up at the end. I really like pretty much everything David O Russell's done; he's great at making funny films about serious issues. so Dredd'll have to settle for being joint top

Islington Comic Forum said...

I watched David O Russell's Spanking the Monkey with my girlfriend.

This was a mistake.

She still hasn't forgiven me for it.