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In this volume, the writers begin to hit their stride
on November 19, 2012
"Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 2" is the second sequential volume starring "Judge Dredd", the venerable English comic book hero, who has been in print, in one form or another, for well over 30 years. For the most part the series is set in the future in Mega City 1 (nominally New York City and the a portion of eastern seaboard). Judge Dredd is the most well-known (and most feared) of the Street Judges, lawmen who are empowered to arrest, judge, and sentence anyone they find guilty of a crime. Each story runs to a maximum of about 8 pages (due to the fact that they originally ran in a weekly science fiction anthology), but in this volume, most of the short stories are linked into larger, broader story arcs.
In fact, most the book is taken up by two large arcs, "Cursed Earth", where Dredd has to go cross the continental former United States to deliver some life-saving serum to Mega City 2, and "The Day the Law Died", where a meglomaniac judge usurps control of Mega City 1, and Judge Dredd has to restore law and order. The stories, while still somewhat heavy-handed and simplistic at times, show clear improvement over volume 1, as the writers more comfortably flesh out the character of Judge Dredd and his world. While volume 1 was entertaining in its own right, volume 2 is much better and much more representative of Dredd and his world.
As I also noted in my review of vlume 1, Judge Dredd is often not likeable, but his moral compass for right and wrong is unwavering, and at times, it's intentionally too unwavering. The tales have humor, pathos, irony, and a lot of action. If you're a Judge Dredd fan, this collection should be on your bookshelf. Five stars.