48. Judge Anderson: The Psychic Crime Files by Alan Grant

Judge Anderson: The Psychic Crime Files by Alan Grant. Art by Carlos Ezquerra, Trevor Hairsine, Patrick Goddard & Boo Cook (US) - (Canada)
Judge Dredd series

Pages: 192
Ages: 16+
Finished: Feb. 10, 2012
First Published: Jan. 17, 2012
Publisher: 2000AD
Genre: YA, graphic novel, science fiction
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:  If it's a one, three or five, I marry Della, move to the West Sector's and live happy ever after.

Publisher's Summary: "Mega-City One, a futuristic metropolis sprawling across the east coast of North America. This hostile urban nightmare is policed by the Judges; tough lawmen with the ability to act as judge, jury and executioner. Within the Justice department is a section known as Psi-Division which specialises in Judges gifted with extraordinary psychic abilities. Cassandra Anderson is one such Judge; a powerful telepath with a rebellious streak and a talent for getting into trouble..."

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading:  When relatives visited us from England, I'd always get an Annual and a few related comics.  One year, when I was a teenager in the '80s someone, probably my Uncle Peter, brought me a 2000AD annual and some Judge Dredd comics.  Well I just loved them and literally read them to pieces and that is the extent of my knowledge of this comic universe.  But when I happened upon the trade collections recently I was excited to dip my toe back in and thought this stand-alone volume would be a great introduction.

I loved this book!  Judge Cassandra Anderson is drawn after '80s singer Debbie Harry, most commonly known as the lead singer for the group Blondie.  She is one awesome female futuristic crime fighting sensation with added psychic abilities.  She can read people's minds, gets psychic flashes of what is about to happen and can read the last memories from the mind of a dead body. 

This book collects seven random stories from 1989 to 2011 written by Alan Grant from the various 2000AD publications set in the Mega-City universe.  They vary in length, style and time period but they all feature Judge Anderson working a PSI case.  These stories are very futuristic and while the artists vary, the artwork is always really "out there" amazing.  There is violence, blood and quite graphic scenes but no nudity or s*xual scenes.  I found all the stories to be exciting, some more than others, but I enjoyed every one.  While Mega-City is definitely science fiction, one story did bring magic and the paranormal into the universe and it seemed to fit in well.  Being a new comer to this world, I found the stories perfectly suitable and entertaining, not requiring me to have any previous knowledge.  There is a brief one page introduction to the character which nicely gives some historical background, but it's more for fans than a primer.

The stories briefly are "The Random Man" about a man who has given up on decision-making and become a "chancer" where everything he does in life is based on the roll of a die.  Only this guy has made 6 a murderous number and is on a spree.  "Lawless" is about a criminal who creates havoc in the city because he is fed-up with the system and the crime.  Feelings Anderson can't help but agree with.  "Wiierd" takes place in a virtual reality centre where one million people live full-time and ten million visit for vacations and weekends each year.  People die natural deaths here all the time but Cassandra is called in when they have a murderer running rampant in the system.  "Biophyle" is the term used for a person who thinks that all living life, animal and plant, is viable and deserves love and respect ... except human life.  While chasing down another criminal Judge A. stumbles upon a biophyle who has a terrorist plan ready for action.  "The House of Vyle" brings the paranormal to Mega-City as Cassandra travels to Sector 108, Salem, Massachusetts where a dead man resurrected to kill another man and the Judge sent to work the case killed three people and gorged their blood until she exploded.  What Cassandra runs into leads her to another case which involves a man named Vyle, who has been missing in his own home for a year.  Finally, the book ends with two stories which take us back to Anderson's Cadet training.  In the first one she is just beginning her training at ten years old and in the second she is a teen cadet, one year away from graduation.  Both of these stories are probably the best in the book as they give much wanted insight into the character we've just read the exciting exploits of in the five previous stories. 

Looking forward to my next journey into the "Judge Dredd" universe.


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