While reviewing this week’s comics I was going to highlight the fact that 2000AD continues to be at its best, but I thought I’d take a moment to highlight the first two issues of the new Judge Dredd Mega Collection.
The first issue collects America, long considered one of Dredd’s greatest stories, as well as its two sequels, Fading of the Light, and Cadet. Neither is as good as the original, nor are they bad. (Well, Fading of the Lights 90’s computer colouring is truly awful.) Cadet is the stronger of the two sequels, but it’s actually the extra material that makes this worth picking up. The America trilogy has been collected several times before, so without the extras, the only incentive would be that this collection is hardback. (It also only costs 2 bucks!)
Thankfully, it also contains a nice little coda to Cadet, a story of Dredd and his niece, and a few short stories, all with fully-painted work from Colin MacNeil who is quite probably my favourite Dredd artist. (Sorry Ezquerra, McMahon, Bolland and Flint.)
Issue Two features the Mechanismo Trilogy, the first part featuring MacNeil’s last major story for a while. The jist of book is that, due to a manpower shortage, the mentally unhinged Chief Judge authorizes the use of robot Judges . Dredd has serious misgivings which are quickly justified. Lose ends from this story will mostly be resolved later in Wilderlands.
The extra material in this issue isn’t as essential as that in the first, meaning if you already have one of the several Mechanismo collections it may not be worth your time.
Next issue is The Apocalypse War (probably the first truly classic Dredd epic) followed by Origins, which, as the title implies, tidies up 30 years of backstory and gives us Dredd’s definitive origin story. I have both these stories already, so purchases will be based on the quality of extra material, especially as the price increases after these two discounted opening issues… When it comes to future releases I think I will be going on an issue-by-issue basis, but for new readers, or old ones wanting to reacquaint themselves with Dredd and his world, I’d recommend these lovely new hardbacks, collected by theme rather than chronologically as the already available Judge Dredd Case files are.