Thursday, 5 October 2017

Comic Review 15 // Judge Dredd The Restricted Files 01

Welcome back for another comic review. This time it's the turn of Judge Dredd! Shocking I know, I will spread my wings a little more at some point. Now in theory if I was good at sticking to reading orders this review would have come after Judge Dredd Complete Case Files 01, but I'm not, so it is coming after Judge Dredd Complete Case Files 03. Let us just jump right on in:

Judge Dredd The Restricted Files 01

Page Count: 323
Format: Epub - Cheaper for me in Canada.
Written by: John Wagner, Alan Grant and Steve Moore.
Art by: Carlos Ezquerra, Mike McMahon, Kevin O'Neill, Ian Gibson, Brian Bolland, Steve Dillon, Brett Ewins, Brendan McCarthy, Cliff Robinson and John Byrne.
Includes: 2000 AD Annuals and Specials set in the year 2099-2106.

The Judges’ Graveyard: Originally published in 2000 AD Summer Special 1977
Overview: Dredd has been seriously injured by a bomb and before he can be back on the streets Dredd needs to pass the Judges' Graveyard. Testing a Judges reflexes and skill, many fail the test. To make matters worst the guy running the course has a score to settle.
Opinion: Pretty weak tale. Very early on in Judge Dredd stories and you can tell. All filler with no real excitement.

Videophones: Originally published in 2000 AD Annual 1978
Overview: During a meeting of Judges, Judge Steele flips out killing four Judges before Dredd kills him. It's soon discovered Steele was brainwashed it is up to Dredd to find the perp.
Opinion: Still too light on the details who is Igor Sansky? Why is he mad, why did the Judges believe him dead. Just to light on the details.

Whitey’s Brother: Originally published in 2000 AD Annual 1978
Overview: Awkwardly the World Trade Centre is destroyed by disrupter droid. In order to not suffer more at the hands of these droid, Whitney must be set free from Devil's Island. Begrudgingly Chief Judge Goodman agrees and sets Dredd as Whitey's escort. As always there is show down resulting in the death of Whitey's brother and Whitey is sent back to Devil's Island.
Opinion: A good short tale, needed more pages in my opinion but great to see this villain come back.

The Purple People Breeder: Originally published in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1978
Overview:  The story starts at Mega City's Home for Delinquent Droids and the releasing of X-13, soon after there is a spree of bombings all leaving a trace of purple on the victims. Soon Dredd is assigned the case and becomes the next victim!
Opinion: That's more like it. Longer story more depth to the characters and Walter the Wobot is in it!

Dr Panic: Originally published in 2000 AD Annual 1979
Overview: The Dregs of Mega City One are turning up dead. Following a clue Dredd is lead to an amusement arcade where you can gamble your life for a cash prize. To win the main prize all you have to do is beat a robot Judge in a shoot out!
Opinion: Another good tale, we are on a roll. Really liked the idea and social commentary of this one. The villain is pretty cool to.

Ryan’s Revenge: Originally published in Dan Dare Annual 1979
Overview: Mayor Amalfi's life is in danger but who is the real villain?
Opinion: Bit of a weak tale, nice to have it in colour but an underwater prison where the prisoners get turned into water breathing Aquamen is just to far out there.

My very own Don Apelino
The Billion Credit Caper: Originally published in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1979
Overview: A one billion credit hit has been placed on the head of Dredd. But how is the perp meant to pay for it? Conveniently it's also the annual Mega City lottery.
Opinion: Great tale given enough pages to do it justice. Also stars my favourite characters Don Uggie Apelino and Max Normal.

Mega-Miami: Originally published in 2000 AD Annual 1980
Overview: Mega-Miami a luxury spot in the extreme South of MC-1. Where citizens can still swim and relax on the beaches. It's also the location of Dredd's current assignment, to stop the illegal smuggling on Rustbacks. Rustbacks are second rate robots from the Caribbean sea.
Opinion: Bit of a weird tale to be honest. Seemed more of a social commentary on the smuggling of illegals into the states. Plus side Walter the Robot was there and the Zonk was used.

Christmas Party: Originally published in Dan Dare Annual 1980
Overview: Set during Dredd's time on Luna One (see Complete Case Files 01). Tale starts off with Dredd investigating his own apartment for a disturbance, only to discover that Thagg the Mighty has thrown him a surprise party. At the party you see all the other main characters of that era at- Dan Dare, Johnny Alpha, ABC Warriors etc. Soon the party comes to an end when the Writer/Art Droids of 2000 AD start protesting outside. Dredd leads the Characters against the Droids and locks up everyone.
Opinion: Pointless filler going to move on.

The Greatest Story Ever Told: Originally published in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1980
Overview: Set just after Chief Judge Cal's short lived nightmare (see Complete Case Files 02) and the Death of Fergee. We jump one year forwards to an almost rebuilt city that has honoured Fergee with Statues throughout the city. But along with the Statues comes the crazy Fergites worshippers Fergee. Soon Dredd has to step in during a gathering setting of a mini riot. As the Judges start making arrests the Statues of Fergees all spring to lie. As about 20 robot Fergees join the fray Dredd is left no choice but to find out who is behind it all!
Opinion: I liked this tale a lot. I loved the Fergee character and how he selflessly save MC-1, I also think a Cult to him is bat shit crazy and fun like MC-1 should be.

The case of The Urban Gorillas!: Originally published in 2000 AD Annual 1981
Overview: The uplifted Gorillas of Zak's troupe have had enough. They no longer want to in the Slum areas provided to them. They want to live in nice clean homes and be afforded the rights of a Norm. To this end Zak's troupe storm a city block killing the citi-def and taking hostages.
Opinion: Bit of sat tale, the Zak thought pattern is correct they should be treated equal. But once they started killing innocence people Dredd was left with no choice.

PinBoing Wizard: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1981
Overview: Since 2101 a sport called PinBoing has seen a massive increase in popularity. I plan on doing a full post on this topic soon, basically you get covered in a breathable plastic that swells to the shape of a ball. Once in the ball you get shot into a pinball machine and attempt to score the highest possible. Unfortunately for tonight's viewers Dredd has chased some armed robbers into the game and mayhem takes over!
Opinion: Light hearted fun strip. Love the idea of becoming a pinball and zooming around the table. Pure MC-1 madness.

Compulsory Purchase!: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1981
Overview: The head of MC-1 Defence strategies is dieing. His body having already refused a mechanical heart is on the search for a donner one, only problem is the heart is still in living person! Dredd is given orders to the secure the heart by any means.
Opinion: Truly a sad tale. There is no way you couldn't feel sad for the character Norman. All he wants is to keep his heart and live out his life.

The fear That Made Milwaukee Famous!: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1981
Overview: Dredd is on the trail of Rhode Island Red a bloodthirsty Mutant, who leads the Red Leg Raiders in the Cursed Earth. Having been warned about crossing Milwaukee at night, Dredd makes sure to go through during the day. But after capturing Rhode and attempting an escape Dredd is pinned down by the Red Leg Raiders in Milwaukee at night. What happens next is like a Romero night of the living dead!
Opinion: One of my favourite strips of early Dredd, not only do we get Cursed Earth, we also get a gang of mutants lead by a Chicken Headed man and a bucket load of undead. Purely amazing this strip.

The Sweet Taste of Justice: Originally published in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1981
Overview: Dredd's Nark Max Normal has the scoop on a big crime going down. But just as Dredd is about to get the info Max is shot by a sniper and hospitalised. Using just the gear found on Max can Dredd find out what crime is about to be committed?
Opinion: A classic Dredd caper. Starring Max Normal no less! Pretty well written for a nine page tale and the artwork by Colin Wilson is amazing.

The Alien Zoo: Originally published in 2000 AD Annual 1982
Overview: Some crazy citizen is freeing the exhibits at the Alien Zoo! How can Dredd deal with all of them.
Opinion: Another fun tale, showcasing some truly unique and funny creatures.

Anatomy of a Crime!: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1982
Overview: Bub Jones has a dream. A dream to become MC-1's biggest Fatty. But how could he ever afford the Flab On! and it's 1000 credit tax.
Opinion: I'm on a roll with these tales. A real insight into what can make a bored man into a criminal.

The Vampire Effect: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1982
Overview: A space shuttle has returned to MC-1 after a 10 year mission. After a crash landing into the Undercity a species of alien origin is released. Able to feed off energy and grow quickly, Dredd has to solve how to stop it without using power.
Opinion: Fun B-Movie style caper. A little weak on the ending though.

Warning now moving ahead of the Complete Case Files I have published.

Mega-City Rumble: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1982
Overview: To city blocks are sorting out their differences with a good old block war! Dredd and a team of Judges are soon on site to stamp out the fighting. But it seems one team of Citizens didn't get the memo. Can Dredd stop them before they blow up the city block.
Opinion: Fun strip acting as a precursor to the blockwar story arc. This tale also lead to Games Workshop making a game about. But more on that another time.

The Tower of Babbil: Originally published in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1982
Overview: Set in Sector 403 after the Black Alantic Pirate Attack. Rebuilding the sector from the ground up the work teams are looking for ideas and new products to help speed up the process. Here enters Babbil and his wonder glue. But after suffering rejection Babbil decides to prove them all wrong. Sadly for Babbil it was in fact he who was wrong.
Opinion: Not a thrilling tale but another good example of what happens when Citizens have too much free time.

Law of The Jungle: Originally published in 2000 AD Annual 1983
Overview: Following the fallout of the Apoc War, some zones have become Radioactive nightmares. One such zone is Sector 301 plagued with attacks by Hairy Man Beasts. Dredd is soon on the case and is shocked to find it is Don Apelino, Fast Eek and some other uplifts, preying on the refuges.
Opinion: A sad end for Don Apelino and Fast Eek, living in the radioactive pits of Sector 301 has sadly reverted them to a pre-uplifted state. It was sad to see Dredd kill them off in such a manner.

The Big Itch!: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1983
Overview: A super flea has emerged from the Rad-Pits of Sector 500. Able to withstand a hammer blow and all known pest control, Dredd is forced to find a new solution to the problem.
Opinion: A great short tale. An invading army couldn't beat MC-1 but the lowly flea might just succeed.

Behold The Beast!: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1983
Overview: Dredd gets kidnapped by an other dimensional God like being, who places him on trail. During this trial Dredd has to face down his old adversaries, before being made the offer "work for me or die". Of course Dredd rebels and is sent back to Earth whilst Malice seeks an easier world to conquer.
Opinion: Bit of a weird tale but worthwhile to see some of the old faces like the Angel Gang, Call me Kenneth and Judge Cal.

It’s happening on Line 9: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1983
Overview: Line 9 is a call in channel where the viewers could either call in on a topic or ask a question. Tonight though Larry is calling in boosting his kills. Soon Dredd is on the case and tracking down Larry.
Opinion: Another short story on how the city crushes people and turns them crazy. Looks like they need a better mental health system.

Block out at The Crater Bowl: Originally published in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1983
Overview: The story begins with the 12th annual Block Out Final. Basically a weird panel game meets checkers. The point is to answers questions correctly to move your team mates towards the centre ring. If a team player reaches that point they get the opportunity to climb into the opposing team panel box and remove the panelist.
Opinion: Weird ass mega-city game, really like players Pigs- Defencive Player and Wallys- Offensive player. Also loved how Dredd responded to the crowd control problem.

The Beast in 24B: Originally published in 2000 AD Annual 1984
Overview: A Fang Beast has escaped a travelling Alien Menagerie. After being shot by Dredd it flees away and ends up in the room of young Kelvin who is playing with a chemistry set. Soon Kelvin becomes the Fang beasts lunch, but when Kelvin's parents discover the beast they assume Kelvin's experiment has gone wrong and try to raise the beast as their own!
Opinion: A funny tale with the expected outcome. Pretty Dredd light but I did enjoy the humor.

The Other Slab Tynan: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1984
Overview: A Judge is dead and the main suspect is in suspended animation, so how could this be?
Opinion: A short straight forward time travelling tale of course. Note to self never time travel back in time for revenge out of fear of being caught!

Halloween: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1984
Overview: It's Halloween in MC-1 and all the crazies are out in force. Using the opportunity to blend in with the norms is a group of mutants on the search for loot.
Opinion: Great theme for a halloween tale, makes perfect sense a group of mutants would attempt this on costume centred night.

Beat the Devil: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1984
Overview: Set in ISO-Block 666 and involving the prison in the penthouse cell that no Judge Warden dares visit.
Opinion: Part of the Halloween special, a bit of a silly tale considering as it ends with Satan in cuffs, but the rhyme is top class.

The Booby Prize: Originally published in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1984
Overview: A new vid channel has appeared on air, called Channel Illegal. Along with the channel comes a new game Booby Trap, each player must pick a floor of their opponents City Block and release the trap, but be warned one number holds a flesheating booby prize that will kill the player. Last man standing wins.
Opinion: Good solid tale but I am left wondering how the one man operation managed to achieve so much in a short period of time.

Gate Crashers: Originally published in 2000 AD Annual 1985
Overview: Three massive trucks smash through the west wall gate house and ride rough shot over MC-1. Once finally stopped and searched they are discovered to have been a distraction. The real cargo had managed to jump out and escaped in the confusion. Now it's up to Dredd to locate the perp and this mystery.
Opinion: Stookie Gland smuggling is a sad crime. Killing poor cute stookies to get their glands, which help reverse aging. Great short tale, could see this being a longer more interesting tale if they had given it more pages.

The Big Bang Theory: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1985
Overview: Deigo Garcia Block is atomised by a small nuke, killing thousands and to make matters worst the bomber has planted three more bombs in MC-1. Can Dredd find them in one hour?
Opinion: A sad, well thought out tale. The Justice Department are on the back foot for the entire tale and for once don't win. I like seeing the good guys fail now and again as it makes it more realistic.

Tarantula: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1985
Overview: Deep within the Cursed Earth a Factory Herd has a bug problem and only one lawman can help them.
Opinion: Can't help but enjoy a bug hunt! Any excuse to journey into the Cursed Earth is a great tale for me.

The Eat of The Night !: Originally published in Judge Dredd Annual 1985
Overview: It's the big night, two teams of twenty fatties face off for an eating competition. Though this time it's not food, oh no way too simple this time they must eat a Mopad (think full size house on wheels), but to make matters worse an assassin is after the coach in hopes of sparking off a riot!
Opinion: This tale showcases the darker side of MC-1. With so much boredom citizens would rather eat a car than get a job or a hobby!

Overall a great comic. The early tales really show their age but once you hit the Apocalypse War era and beyond they really improve. I will give this a 4 out of 5. 

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