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review 2019-05-08 00:00
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 15
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 15 - John Wagner,Garth Ennis,Will Simpson,Alan Grant,Ron Smith,Steve Dillon,Carlos Ezquerra,Steve Yeowell,Cam Kennedy,John Hicklenton JThe story continues. 'The Complete Case Files v. 14' featured the long Necropolis story which ended in 2000 AD Prog 699. This volume starts with Prog 700 and Judge Death is still on the loose in Mega-City One. So is P.J. Maybe, the genius psychopathic killer, who escaped during the chaos of Necropolis. Furthermore, the good citizens of the city are disgruntled with the Judges after their failure to stop Judge Death's sisters, which resulted in sixty million dead. The Democrats are on the march and the Chief Judge is a bearded lady with a split personality. All in all, Dredd has his work cut out.

This volume is more of a collection of short tales, albeit with a continuing background and sub-plots running through it. The Judges are trying to restore order to Mega-City One and have a full caseload. Yassa Povey, a boy blinded when he saved Judge Dredd out in the Cursed Earth, is bought to the city to get new eyes but kidnapped and held for ransom. A group of nutters called the Hunters Club decides to go on a sponsored killing spree, for charity. 'It's for charity' they say as they wipe out several dozen citizens, the ultimate justification. The Rudee Vallee Rude Juves and the Jason King Bloods dare to have turf wars on Judge Dredd's turf. There are illegal street fights with Driller Killer. The destruction caused by Judge Death and his pals has created a housing list of five million, all living in camps and getting tense. A Citydef outfit from Bill Bailey block goes rogue and Dredd pins them down in the Peter Palumbo Shelter for the Harmlessly Insane. As ever in 2000AD strips the names are richly evocative of British culture.

Among my favourites was a multipart story 'Emerald Isle' in which our hero goes abroad to track down a terrorist who assassinated a foreign ambassador in his city. Murphyville, excellent name, has become a theme park in which stereotyped images from the Isle's past are emphasized. There are charming cottages, pubs, synthi-stout and spuds. Dredd liases with the Irish Judge Joyce whose first move is to invite him out for a few jars. The terrorists want to overthrow the theme park regime and get rid of the quaintness, the spuds and so on. I have met Irishmen who feel exactly this way about their cute image. Garth Ennis, the author, is from Northern Ireland.

Old stalwarts John Wagner and Alan Grant are the other contributing writers to this volume. To find out who wrote what would be a laborious process of tracking down the title pages and locating the microscopic credits. Unfortunately, the publishers have not included a contents page. There is one in 'Judge Dredd: The Restricted Files 01' and it is probably useful for the casual reader as well as reviewers, not least because some of the credits are pseudonymous, for whatever reason, and the contents page gives the real names of the creditworthy.

There is a long list of artists and again the individual story credits must be located to see who did what. Steve Dillon stood out for me. G. Caldwell did some good things, with an airbrush I think, to give an eerie feel to a tale of two mad sisters. Some of the other fellows seem to use gaudy painting to cover bad drawing. Comic artists are not illustrators and in the name of style and dynamism can get away with a lot but I thought some could have tried harder. Overall, though, the art is pretty good and this volume is another worthy addition to the continuing story. Later Dredd stories are good, sometimes great, but the very early ones were not so good so it's hard to know at what point to start collecting this series. A completist, of course, would buy the whole lot.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/
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review 2019-05-08 00:00
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 19
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 19 - John Wagner,Grant Morrison,Garth Ennis,Mark Millar,John Smith,Dermot Power,Paul Marshall,David Millgate,Carlos Ezquerra,Greg Staples,Brett Ewins,Ron Smith,Mick Austin Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files #19 has, in bright colours, various stories culled from the pages of 2000AD and The Judge Dredd Megazine in 1993. The work of many writers and artists is featured, notably John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, who co-created the Judge way back when. Grant Morrison wrote the story for Eszquerra this time.

‘Inferno’ is a twelve-part tale and it’s the best thing in the book. A ‘part’ in British comics is only six pages so don’t panic. Reading it won’t take long. Ex-Judge Grice and a bunch of other renegade Judges have escaped from the prison moon Titan and are on a mission of revenge. They bring with them a terrible plague weapon called the Meat Virus which takes a couple of days to kill the victim. During this time he becomes quite ill. It is absorbed through the skin so there is no defence. This is an excellent story and Carlos Ezquerra’s art looks good in colour.

‘Inferno’ is preceded by a couple of shorter works. The first story, ‘Enter:Joni Kiss’ introduces a deadly assassin who shoots the Supreme Judge of East Meg Two, which is a Sov city. Then he gets a bit of paper telling him Dredd is his next target. The reader is left in cliff-hanger suspense which is not, in fact, relieved by this book. The next stories feature other villains. The Chieftan is a Scottish warrior with a big chain-saw sword. Then there are memory thieves and a man that kills pop stars whose music he dislikes. One can sympathise with him. A couple of corpse peddlers fall foul of the law. All this is standard stuff in Mega-City One but still pretty good. Then the big story, ‘Inferno’.

After ‘Inferno’ there was more average Dredd fare, though average Dredd fare will do for most of us. The Jigsaw killer story stood out because of the beautiful art but invisible credits mean I can’t tell you who did it. I also enjoyed a few blackly humorous tales of the kind this strip does so well. In ‘Judge Tyrannosaur’ a dinosaur of that ilk breaks into the city and happens to eat a criminal who is holding the city’s favourite granny hostage. The demented populace demands that he be made a Judge. The media consult Dr. Mike Crichton, a Jurassic expert. In ‘Ladonna’ a sexy pop singer causes obstructions and riots because she is so popular, everyone going mad over her outrageous lyrics and conical metal bras. Dredd’s solution is deft. Then a sect of morons takes over a sausage shop. Believing that ignorance is bliss they practice progressive lobotomy to make themselves stupid. The siege is hilarious. One intriguing villain is Slick Dickens, the one man Dredd fears, perhaps.

Finally, there is another long story about Mechanismo Droids, robot Judges with reactions fifty percent better than human. A Mark 1 model was lost months ago and has reappeared to cause mayhem. Chief Judge McGruder wants to release the Mark 2 Droids to chase down the rogue Mark 1, which convinces Dredd she’s gone crazy. A nice conclusion to the book that leaves you wanting more.

Getting anthropological for a moment, it seems unlikely to me that any culture except Britain could have come up with Dredd and his milieu. Even for us, it had to be conceived in the age of Thatcherism and punk rock. Black and slightly daft humour are one of the strip’s best features. One of its worst features is excessive violence. We all like action and people getting shot or blown to smithereens is part and parcel of upholding the law. However, at times the gore is excessive and the violence lurches over into sadism just to make the bad guys look really bad. I reckon it could be toned down a bit with no harm to the stories.

British comics by their very anthological nature always give you a curate’s egg, some great, some good, some not so good stories. The overall quality here is less than excellent but better than fair. I was going to say that Dredd is a good egg but that would not be true.

Eamonn Murphy
This review first appeared at https://www.sfcrowsnest.info/
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review 2019-03-17 20:44
A Walk Through Hell
A Walk Through Hell, Volume 1 - Garth Ennis

I have trouble describing what I just read. It was a mix of so many different story, both set in the present and the past that I had great trouble distilling the story from the pages. It sounded interesting enough though. Two FBI agents, still struggling with the aftermath of their previous case, are called to investigate a warehouse. Something strange and deadly is certainly going on.

I had the feeling it tries to be to much different things and therefore, it sort of fails at all of them, if that makes any sense. Also, I didn't really like that the ending was so open, I have to read the second and possibly more volumes to get even some kind of closure. The artwork was okay, but nothing special. I just felt like it didn't live up to its potential.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2018-03-17 08:00
Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary - Garth Ennis,Carlos Ezquerra

Bloody Mary is a reprint of an original series from 1997. So, I assumed that at least some people thought it had stand up to time and was worthy of a new edition.

However, not often I've been able to say that I didn't like a book more convincingly than with Bloody Mary. It really wasn't for me. Neither style, story or art could bother me. A struggle to finish.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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text 2017-08-11 13:54
Reading Updates for May, June and July 2017
Punisher Max: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 (The Punisher (2004-2009)) - Garth Ennis,Darick Robertson,Lewis Larosa,Leandro Fernandez,Tim Bradstreet
Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
The Color Purple (The Color Purple Collection) - Alice Walker

 

I"m not sure why but I've yet again found myself distanced from BL as I was in the earlier months of this year. I'm trying to get back into participating on the site a bit more and noted that I'm way behind on posting what I've been reading in that time.

The good news is that I've caught up with most of my reading challenges for the year and should manage to read over my 150 goal.

 

 

Yearly reading challenge update (May) - 60/150

 

Read in May - 7

Audio - 4

Novel/novella - 3

Graphic Novels - 0

 

5*

 

The Color Purple (The Color Purple Collection) - Alice Walker

 

4.5*

 

Wolf Land - Jonathan Janz

 

4*

 

Dirty Rocker Boys - Bobbie Brown,Caroline RyderThe Sinister Mr. Corpse - Jeff StrandDead Harvest - Chris F. Holm

 

3.5*

 

James and the Giant Peach - Roald DahlThe Flex Diet - James Beckerman

 

 

 

 

Yearly reading challenge update (June) -72 /150

 

Read in June - 12

Audio - 2

Novel/novella - 5

Graphic Novels - 5

 

5*

 

Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes

 

4.5*

 

Krampus: The Yule Lord - BromRobert Bloch's Psycho: Sanitarium - Chet WilliamsonThe Light is the Darkness - Laird Barron

 

4*

 

The Last Chord - Douglas WynneThe Grief Frequency - Kealan Patrick BurkeWild Night Is Calling - J.A. Konrath,Ann Voss Peterson

 

3.5*

 

3*

 

Bob's Burgers Ongoing #1: Digital Exclusive Edition - Rachel Hastings,Justin Hook,Mike Olsen,Jeff Drake,Ben Dickerson,Brian Hall,Mark Von Der Heide,Adam Beechen,JC McNamee,Frank Forte,Steven Theis,Tom Riggin,Mario D'Anna,Adam Phillips,Hector Reynoso,Anthony AguinaldoBob's Burgers Ongoing #2: Digital Exclusive Edition - Rachel Hastings,Jeff Drake,Brian Hall,Steven Theis,Joe Healy,Emiko SawanoboriBob's Burgers Ongoing #3: Digital Exclusive Edition - Loren Bouchard,Rachel Hastings,Anneliese Waddington,Brian Hall,Anthony Aguinaldo,Hector Reynoso,Mike GuerenaBob's Burgers Ongoing #4 - Justin Hook,Rachel Hastings,Anneliese Waddington,Tom Riggin,Tom Connor,Marcelo BenavidesEvil Ernie: Godeater #1: Digital Exclusive Edition - Justin Jordan,Keith Davidsen,Colton Worley,Cezar Razek

 

 

 

Yearly reading challenge update (July) -  98/150

 

Read in July - 26

Audio - 0

Novel/novella - 9

Graphic Novels - 17

 

5*

 

Punisher Max: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 (The Punisher (2004-2009)) - Garth Ennis,Darick Robertson,Lewis Larosa,Leandro Fernandez,Tim Bradstreet

 

4.5*

 

Ghouls - Edward LeeA Dust Bowl Tale of Bonnie and Clyde: A Short Story - James Lee Burke

 

4*

 

Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile - James Jean,Craig Hamilton,Lan Medina,Steve Leialoha,Bill WillinghamFrom Ashes - Sandy DeLucaRoadkill - Joseph D'LaceyShadowed - Bill GauthierGreat Divide #1 - Ben Fisher,Adam MarkiewiczThe Brothers Grimm: Illuminated Fairy Tales, Vol. 1 [Kindle in Motion] - Brothers Grimm ,Kali Ciesemier,Wesley Allsbrook,Daniel Krall,Peter Diamond,Ashley Mackenzie,Nicolas Rix,Rovina Cai,M.S. CorleyHis Work To See - Richard WrightFor Those Who Dream Monsters - Anna Taborska,Steve Upham,Charles Black,Reggie Oliver,Reggie OliverDawn / Vampirella - Joseph Michael Linsner

 

3.5*

 

Spying on Gods - David G. Barnett

 

3*

 

The Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man #1: Digital Exclusive Edition - Van Jensen,Ron SalasKiss #1 - Amy Chu,Kewber BaalCage Hero #1 (of 4): Digital Exclusive Edition - Ian Parker,Kevin Eastman,Rik Hoskin,Renato ReiCage Hero #2: Digital Exclusive Edition - Ian Parker,Kevin Eastman,Rik Hoskin,Renato ReiCage Hero #3: Digital Exclusive Edition - Ian Parker,Kevin Eastman,Rik Hoskin,Renato ReiCage Hero #4: Digital Exclusive Edition - Ian Parker,Rik Hoskin,Kevin Eastman,Renato Rei

 

2.5*

 

2*

 

Homies #1 - David Gonzales,Elliott Serrano,Andrew HuertaHonor: Protect. Serve. Beat. Burn. (Fire I) - Bill JemasSlab: The Doctor Is in (Fire I) - Brian FinkelsteinMedic: Flatline (Fire I) - Brian FinkelsteinIntertwined #1 - Fabrice Sapolsky,Fred Pham-ChuongThe Green Hornet: Golden Age Re-Mastered #1 (The Green Hornet: Golden Age Re-Mastered Vol. 1) - Fran Striker,Bert Whitman AssociatesThe Green Hornet: Golden Age Re-Mastered #2 (The Green Hornet: Golden Age Re-Mastered Vol. 1) - Fran Striker,Bert Whitman Associates

 

 

Challenges

 

Total reading challenge 98/150 (65%)

 

A-Z Challenge - 18/26 (69%)

 

Graphic novels challenge - 37/50 (74%)

 

Random TBR Challenge - 6/25 (24%)

 

Just lagging behind in the TBR challenge, have managed to catch up with everything else.

 

On a personal note it's been a stressful few months with insurance repair issues and the insurance company only just denying my claim after pissing around for a few months. I have now had to go back to my former insurer to lodge a claim, very frustrating, especially as I had wanted my property to go on the market at the end of September/early October. Trying not to panic but hopefully things will go a little bit smoother over the next few months.

Still leaving in December so nothings changing that and to be honest it can't come soon enough.

 

 

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