Another Dredd epic, this time taking Dredd out of the city and into deep space. The genesis of any epic up to this point seems to be taking Joe out of the city and getting to the root of the man behind the badge while at the same time leaving the fate of the Big Meg resting on the mission. In this case, the mission involves Dredd going around in search of a youthful “bird-boy”. His first stop should have been Thailand.
John Wagner and Alan Grant’s script here whips along well while Mick McMahon, Brian Bolland and Ron Smith.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT (IN ONE SENTENCE)?:
Dredd goes in search of the Judge Child, predicted to one day rule the city in its darkest hour.
WHO’S THAT IN THE HELMET?:
Chief Judge Jurgen Griffin sends Dredd on his mission.
Psi Judge Feyy, an 88.8% accurate pre-cog, dies predicting the Judge Child will one day rule the city in its darkest hour. He gives no insight into lottery numbers, sadly.
Texas City Judge Orrie greets Dredd as he arrives in Texas City.
The moustachioed Judge Lopez is assigned to be the Engineer on board Justice 1 and is berated by Dredd for his facial hair. He dies after taking Oracle Spice.
Pilot Judge Larter flies Justice 1.
Accounts Division Judge Winslow brings all know currencies aboard Justice 1 but is dismissed from the crew before take-off due to being deadweight.
Judge Barbara Hershey makes her first appearance as “stringer” on board Justice 1, a role which seems to just consist of accompanying Dredd wherever he goes or relaxing in the bike bay while Lopez does all the work. No wonder she is upset when he dies as she will now have to pull his share of the graft and actually do a bit.
ANY LAW LORE?:
Precogs are part of Psi Division.
The first use of a message pod is seen as radio transmissions across the Cursed Earth are impossible in places.
Texas City is conducting mutant clearances, indicating that they had a more tolerant attitude to mutants in the city up until this point. It appears to be about half the size of the Big Meg.
A Lawmaster is capable of independent action, including the execution of perps. It can also maintain fire for at least two minutes.
Lesser Lingo was colonised in 2055 and has a human population of 250,000.
Bio-chipping is illegal in Mega City 1.
Dredd doesn’t want to live forever.
Bike cannon have a minimum and maximum elevation and can fire cannon flares.
Lawmasters have hand held torches in their stowage compartments.
Justice 1 is equipped with lasers, blast screens, starshell flares, x-ray scanners, armour piercing nukes and depth charges. It is 123m long and has retractable sections.
Section 34B of the Security of the City Act entitles a Judge to carry out executions.
Long Guns are carried on Lawmasters and can put a round in Pa Angel from 12km away.
IT’S CULTURAL, INNIT?:
Captain Jim Flint is doubtless a nod to the Treasure Island parrot.
PC 49 may be a nod to the Eagle character “Policeman 49”.
The adverts on Agros mention Furry (Fairy) Liquid and the Brax Anti-personnel mines which spoofs the ads for “Bounty” bars.
The body hire joints on Lesser Lingo are named after Avis and Hertz.
It may be a stretch, but the Grunwalder is coming on like a Drag Race version of C-3PO.
The New Mutieland Territiories are mentioned.
Uniform colours are still not settled and Dredd seems to have two Lawgivers again.
When Hershey cries more than once over the demise of Lopez, Dredd says this is “understandable” at the death of a colleague. However, Cadets are dismissed for the same thing (see A Tale From Walter’s Scrapbook 2) and they are less well trained than Judges so should actually be given more leeway.
The respirator Dredd uses is another different type to those seen before. This one appears to be a clear mask over the face and chin.
Krysler appears in a vision to Dredd. Couldn’t he have done this earlier?
WHAT THE DROKK?:
Dredd enters Texas City by boat, presumably from Lake Louisiana. Shouldn’t he have been using a strat bat? And what is he doing on a pleasure cruise of the lake when he could have simply driven around it?
The first act of Dredd on Justice 1 is to slate the “younger crop of Judges”. Isn’t this unprofessional? These people have trained for 15 years and passed final assessment to get here so surely they deserve some respect.
Dredd turns Eastender for a brief moment with his “if I blow the gaff too soon” comment.
Joe has a transmitter implanted under some synthi skin, but this appears to be accessed by peeling his glove. So is it in the glove or are the gloves made of synthi skin?
Brother Bunsen appears to lose the eyepatch when McMahon draws him.
It seems a bit weird that when the President’s biochip is stolen on Lesser Lingo they let the host body assume the responsibilities instead of the Vice President.
Dredd states that the Judge Child mission is more important than anything, even their lives, yet they stop off to investigate Echo Bravo 4 and even pick up a hitchhiker at a relief station.
Dredd has a dig at Lopez regarding his facial hair (a “character weakness”) yet seemed ok with Morphy and other Judges to have moustaches and beards. Maybe it is just because he is one of the “younger crop”?
The Jigsaw disease seems inconsistent. When features waste away, any tissue that is supported by these absent areas remains in place, so they must have some substance to support them. In one scene, half of Prosser’s head as well as his mouth are seen floating in the positions they should occupy. However, when he is hanging by his fingertips and these disappear he falls.
When Lopez dies he is ejected into space in a coffin bearing his name on an eagle crest. Did they have this coffin on board especially or did they make it and the crest? Imagine getting on board for a mission and they have your coffin “just in case”.
When the Dredd revives Hershey and Larter with respirators, where does Hershey’s come from? She’s not wearing a helmet.
When the on board robots ask the salesman where the Judges are, they are all in very dramatic poses.
In this section of the strip, the dragon is called a “Nanja” but the box says “Ninja”.
Dredd also makes a hell of a supposition with the black marbles being able to reverse the effects of the silver ones.
Pa and Jr Angel clearly hit the lava and die, making Wagner’s resurrection of them later a huge betrayal of the story and the readers’ respect.
Xanadu is remarked as being an open planet yet still has a sheriff?
Torture apparently gives Old Joe some form of sixth sense. I guess Guantanamo Bay must be like Charles Xavier’s school.
Dredd passes no sentence on Krysler, even though he has killed. In fact he leaves him on an open planet where he can become a threat to others.
WHAT’S THE ART LIKE?:
There’s a great image of Dredd leaving the city and this is one that will be revisited later. Bolland definitely pulls off the best work here, especially with the scenes on Bedlam. However, Smith comes into his own with some dense work including the chaos of the battle scenes on Agros and the look of Faro’s city. McMahon’s Texas City is a revelation though and immediately highlights the differences between that and the Big Meg. The highlight from him is the Buggo stuff which steals the show.
HOW MANY LINKS?:
Not quite perfect and there is a futility to the story at times with a few episodes being dead ends with more filler than a Tesco horseburger. That ending, though interesting is downbeat and leaves too many questions unanswered. .
Five links for the amazing art and the grim humour on offer at times.