Previewing ‘Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 41’ Bringing Us More Of The Law In Order

by Richard Bruton

PJ Maybe, Kenny Who, Mandroid; all this and more in the latest Judge Dredd: Complete Case Files. It’s Dredd in order…


Sometimes these Case Files are made up of a load of short Dredds, sometimes it’s got a bigger tale in there. With this one, it’s a couple of major 2000 AD storylines, ‘Blood Trails’ and ‘Mandroid’, 10 and 12 parts respectively, with three one and two-parters in between. As for the Megazine tales, it’s dominated by the 4-part ‘Monsterus Mashinashuns of PJ Maybe’.

And all in all, it’s a damn fine collection here. Sure, every one of these Case Files has something good in it, but this one seems to be eminently readable. What is it they say? All killer, no filler? Well, okay, mostly killer, a little filler. But that really doesn’t scan as well now, does it?

So, straight into it… after one of those ridiculous (but enjoyable) things by Gordon Rennie and Karl Richardson where Dredd is in charge of overseeing a rock band wanting to put on a gig in the Cursed Earth – which goes about as well as you’d expect, it’s into the first of the big tales, Blood Trails, again by Rennie, with art by Andrew Currie. 10 parts dealing with the Family Dredd. Specifically, estranged niece Vienna, who’s got herself into a Tri-D show doing some borderline sleazy vid-shows (Her catchphrase, “Heavens, I’ve never seen one like that before!” and her feedback from the director, “More oomph, extra jiggle.”)

Andrew Currie art from Blood Trails


As we follow Dredd on cases and Vienna with her job, a new suitor turns up, not a nice one either, with connections right at the heart of the Sovs. And once they find out just who Vienna is and what family she’s part of, she becomes a valuable target, dragging Dredd and Rico and Vienna into a tale of Sov revenge.

More from Dredd: Blood Trails


Rennie tells a damn fine Dredd when he’s on form, and he’s on great form here. One of those that has multiple threads all being pulled together as things move on, all leading to the inevitable, brutal ending. And it’s also a tale revisited by Rennie a few Progs later for A Matter of Life and Death, with beautiful Carlos Ezquerra artwork.

Next, we have a short John Wagner tale, drawn by Phil Winslade, ‘Caught In The Act’, one of those brilliant little shorts that Wagner is just the expert at. This time it’s a case of mistaken identity for one poor Citizen falling foul of Mega-City One law. He might be innocent, but the evidence, according to Dredd, is irrefutable…

Oh that Security of the City Act. Dammit – Phil Winslade art from Caught In The Act


Anyway, it’s two Progs worth of cracking Dredd that lets Wagner make yet another brilliant point about where the modern world might go with surveillance and a judicial system like MC-1.

And then we have ‘Mandroid’ by Wagner and Kev Walker, which is, in many ways, another one of Wagner’s wrong man at the wrong time in MC-1 tales, just as with Caught in the Act. This time though, the man involved is ex-Space Corps, his body destroyed out on a mission and replaced by cybernetics, making him a mandroid. Out of Space Corps, he brings his Space Corp wife and his only child back to the city with him, only to have them both cruelly ripped from his life by crime.

From there, it’s a sad descent into violence, using his enhanced body to become a vigilante, only to have the inevitable happen and Dredd to come looking for him…

Kev Walker artwork from Mandroid


Moody artwork through it all from Walker, as Wagner does that thing he does oh so well, the story playing out as Dredd skirts the periphery of it, slowly being drawn in to yet another MC-1 tragedy.

The Wagner brilliance carries on into the Megazine entries for this Case File, with three Wagner-written entries here, including the return of the classic Kenny Who by Wagner and Cam Kennedy in ‘Who? Dares Wins, where the unfortunate artist falls foul once more of the publishing monoliths of the city. Another example of just how Dredd has always not just reflected modern times but often been years ahead with its predictions, with the whole Kenny Who thing being absolutely a predictor of the vile AI art stealing the works of real artists that’s happening right now.

Cam Kennedy artwrk for the return of poor Kenny Who in Who? Dares Wins


The absolute stand-out of the Megazine tales comes in ‘The Monsterus Mashinashuns of P.J. Maybe. with more of that wonderful Ezquerra artwork.

The absolute joy of Wagner’s Maybe tales is manyfold – there’s the fact that the character’s never been overused so every appearance is a joy. Then there’s the invention of Wagner having fun with a ridiculously evil character. And finally, theres’ the fact that he’s always been (and continues to be right here) such a thorn in Dredd’s side, an irritation that Dredd just cannot seem to get the better of.

So, all in all, just one of those really good Case Files, packed with great stories, great art, and a hell of a lot of Dredd.

PJ Maybe gets ready to do battle with Dredd once more in The Monsterus Mashinashuns of P.J. Maybe – art, of course, by Carlos Ezquerra


Judge Dredd Complete Case Files 41 is Published by 2000 AD on 2nd February.

Written by John Wagner, Gordon Rennie, Simon Spurrier. Art by Karl Richardson, Carlos Ezquerra, Phil Winslade, Dave Taylor, Kev Walker, Cam Kennedy, PJ Holden, Boo Cook, Andrew Currie. Cover by Greg Staples.

Originally serialised in 2000 AD Progs 1437-1464 and Judge Dredd Megazine 228-236.

Here’s a taster of what to expect in this latest Case Files:










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