Finally, Orlok gets to grips with a proper tale from the annals of Dredd stories. This time it’s the turn of the very naughty Judge Cal, who usurps the big chair of Mega City One, appoints a fish to high office and then tries to have Dredd murdered. It’s not like this sort of thing can happen in the modern world or anything, though…
November 2100-February2101 (Progs 89-108).
John Wagner writes a script rich in satire while Mick McMahon, Brett Ewins, Brendan McCarthy, Garry Leach, Ron Smith and Brian Bolland pull together to make a more or less consistent look.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT (IN ONE SENTENCE)?:
Judge Cal has Clarence Goodman murdered and assumes command of Mega City while a resistance force led by Judges Dredd and Griffin try to stop him.
WHO’S THAT IN THE HELMET?:
Chief Judge Clarence Goodman is killed by SJS Judge Quincy on Cal’s orders.
SJS Judge Quincy is berated by Cal for missing a button and, as punishment, he is made to strip down to his polka dot u-fronts and perform his duties this way.
O’Leary, Bill, Mick, Gar, Jenkins, Rizzo, Esso, Strong, Noxin and Stapleton are members of Cal’s SJS.
SJS Judge Snow is shot dead by Dredd.
SJS Judge Jones is killed by a rampaging mob in Sector 36.
Judge Murphy is also killed by a rampaging mob.
Judge Rice is killed when a pat wagon rolls into him.
Judges Jennings, Bob, Gatting and Kafka were Cal loyalists.
Judge Fish is a goldfish that becomes Deputy Chief Judge and dies in office.
Judge John Giant has suddenly developed a black patois.
Judge Cody is a resistance fighter who holds off Cal’s men while Dredd is rescued.
SJS Judge Slocum is Cal’s right hand man. He is later is pickled in vinegar to preserve him after Cal decides he worries too much.
Judge Wilkins fought alongside Griffin and Dredd in the final battles against the Kleggs.
SJS Judges Percy and Glass are made to wear dresses after failing to stop Dredd. They seem completely OK with this.
Schmaltz, Holbein, Clubman and Kelso are Tutor Judges who are killed in the fight against Cal.
Tutor Judge Jonas is bitch slapped by Dredd after he breaks under the pressure of fighting Kleggs and dies in the subsequent roadliner crash.
Tutor Judges Jurgen Griffin and Pepper survive the guerrilla war to become Chief and Deputy Chief.
Chief Judge Cal is seen dispensing judgement from a bath and is eventually killed when Ohio River halfwit Fergee hurls them both from the Statue of Judgement.
Judges Smith and Peace fight against Cal and are killed by Kleggs.
Tutor Judge Julio Fernandez makes a brave last stand to buy the fleeing guerrillas time, but the idiot simply charges his enemies and is shot to pieces in seconds. I don’t know what he taught at the Academy but it certainly wasn’t battle tactics.
Judge Cox is ordered by Cal to kill himself, probably via Twitter.
Judge Schultz is given an extra “h” in his name.
Judges Rossi are Semple are mentioned when Dredd is mistaken for one of them.
Judge Raymond is knocked out and his badge is used by Fergee.
The Klegg Grampus is made a Judge (and then Deputy Chief Judge) by Cal.
Robotic menace Walter is made a Judge by Cal.
Judge Amos is killed by Kleggs during the final battle.
IT’S CULTURAL, INNIT?:
Robin Knight is clearly a take on the bowtie wearing Robin Day.
Frank seems to be modelled on lingerie and coke aficionado Frank Bough.
Russel is based on Russell Harty.
Fergee’s badges include those of 2000AD, Superman, Batman, 7-Up, Spiderman, Coca Cola, the Society of Strip Illustrators and Mickey Mouse.
ANY LAW LORE?:
Cal’s personal firearm at the end doesn’t seem to be a regular Lawgiver.
Clarence Goodman was Chief Judge for a shocking 43 years. He was the Adam Sandler of Chief Judges.
Cal’s reign lasts 100 days and several million citizens are executed in this time.
The West Wall is constructed in just three weeks. Trump should take note of this.
Advanced Leadership courses are taught at the Academy.
Judges undergo a daily briefing where crime info is sent directly to their brains.
A secret Grand Hall of Justice escape route exists from under Fargo’s tomb in the Hall of Heroes. It is never explained why.
Judges have apartments reserved for them in city blocks.
ANY TEETHING TROUBLES?:
Some members of the SJS are wearing Street Judge Uniforms and the SJS uniforms seem inconsistent throughout.
Once again Mega City 1 population is described as 100 million.
Giant has apparently been on a month’s leave so was not subject to Cal’s brainwashing. A month? Seriously?
When Judge Cox is ordered to shoot himself, Cal offers his own gun to carry out the deed. How would he do this if the Lawgiver will simply explode in his hand?
District (instead of Sector) 437 is mentioned.
The briefing tapes that Walter switches are very large 1970s looking devices.
Trains run on time for the first time in 170 years implying that the city dates back that far (or that New York trains have been unreliable since 1931).
The Statue Of Liberty isn’t missing the torch hand as established by later chronology.
WHAT THE DROKK?:
Goodman not only goes for a monthly rejuve treatment, but he is walking around unprotected.
As Deputy Chief Judge, Cal automatically becomes Chief? This is in direct contradiction to the appointment of later Chief Judges.
After being shot in the head, Dredd lands on his back, but is then seen lying on his front.
Cal’s hand mirror appears to be Justice Department issue (complete with eagle). They make mirrors now?
Percy and Glass are ordered to dress like girls and are sent to stores to achieve this. Why are there girl’s dresses in Justice Department stores?
Why is Judge Quincy wearing polka dot underpants under his uniform? Wouldn’t all Justice Department clothing be standard?
Giant’s speech has now become some sort of black stereotype and he even calls people “baby” at one point. Maybe he has spent his month on leave watching 1970s blaxplotation films.
Why aren’t more Tutor Judges and Cadets in the fight against Cal? They aren’t given briefings that Cal can manipulate so should be fully ready to rise up.
Giant says he hasn’t seen anything like this since the Robot War, but he was still a Cadet then and wouldn’t have been involved.
Tutor Judge Julio Fernandez is evidently a Mega City One Judge so why does he speak like a bad Mexican stereotype?
Among the badges worn by Fergee is a swastika. All that is missing is a Make America Great Again hat.
The Justice Department apparently has liquidation vats for mass executions.
If the last bloodhound died out in the year 2000, how do the Judges know what one sounds like?
The Justice Department has a badgemaker who appears to wear nothing except a moustache, a smile and a leather apron (with Badge Maker written on it in case people forget). Seriously, WTD?
When Walter is discovered by Slocum and two Kleggs he is taken before Cal. Slocum is drugged before he can explain the robot’s treachery, but the Kleggs don’t tell Cal what they and Slocum saw, allowing Walter to go free.
Walter manages at least one “Dredd” without the impediment.
The doctor who injects Slocum before he is dropped into vinegar (and placed into a conveniently available giant test tube) is another stereotype by having a bizarre German accent.
There are calls for Dredd to be Chief Judge but when he says no, people quickly switch their vote to Griffin. Some nice confidence voting there.
Though the idea of a secret passage to the Grand Hall is cool (but convenient), it’s a little shitty putting this under Fargo’s tomb. There’s no reverence there at all for the Father of Justice.
Dredd has his right arm bitten by a Klegghound. Oh, and he is shot through the fucking head.
WHAT’S THE ART LIKE?:
This is a little rollercoaster in execution. Smith’s art is arguably the weakest of the stable of artists but some of his panels are remarkable standouts. The look of the Kleggs is absolutely incredible too. Sure, they are big space crocs, but they look immense and terrifying.
HOW MANY LINKS?:
This is excellent stuff that includes dark humour, casual genocide, mental illness and good old- fashioned thrills. Once more we get some depth to the Justice System and how it works. The city becomes grander as a result with even the Undercity becoming something huge. And this story gave us a proper shitbag in the form of Judge Cal. Seven links.