The people vs. Samson Ojay
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.