Rebellion’s commitment to reprinting the entirety of Judge Dredd in thick chronological slabs means the odd historical barb pops into view long after John Wagner planted it. For Tripwire I looked at Complete Case Files 27, which could do with a few more barbs than the allotted mid-1990s period happens to catch, and a few less stabs at contemporary trends and ass-less trousers. But it does include Dredd meeting a crisis he’s been anticipating for 18 years and which took exactly that long to arrive. All reminders of the strip’s real-time progression feel more like a bracing encounter with the flinty willpower of Wagner and the other creators themselves than anything related to the Mega-City calendar.
For contrast, Judge Dredd: Titan sees the same strip in one of its more modern formations, depressive and cruel and ruthlessly single-minded, which is a trend of a whole other stripe.
Bad Company: First Casualties is Peter Milligan and Rufus Dayglo’s anti-war tirade against wasted life, wasted youth and wasted time, and so won’t stop feeling contemporary until the world comes to its senses, and probably not even then.