A classic in the making, or a case of Dredd letting a bad apple through the ranks? It’s a two part tale about the trials and tribulations of getting the Full Eagle. The jury is out, Orlok has been drinking and Dredd is about to take a hot load to the face. I’m guessing this is not for the first time. …
August 2099 (Prog 27-28).
John Wagner pulls together a great script while Mick McMahon is shown up by Ian Gibson.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT (IN ONE SENTENCE)?:
When the notorious criminal Whitey kills Judge Alvin, Dredd is sent in to make the arrest.
WHO’S THAT IN THE HELMET?:
Judge John Giant, the son of John “Giant” Clay, has been given the surname Giant for some reason. Regardless, he graduates here.
Hunt, Wagner and Gibson all appear on the Honour Roll for 2079.
Mills, Moore, Alvin and Steele appear on a small stone next to the 2079 Roll as Lost In Action.
Wilson and Johns appear on the Honour Roll for 2078.
Cadet Judge Bobbie Smith is inducted into the Academy after a tearful farewell from his mother.
Principal Jurgen Griffin makes his first appearance, though he is not named in this story.
Chief Judge Clarence Goodman gives Giant his full eagle.
ANY LAW LORE?:
The Academy of Law is described as a giant building with areas inside being replicas of city streets. Cadets are inducted at a young age, have no contact with their family whilst training and graduate (hopefully) at the age of twenty.
When awarded the white helmet and half eagle badges, a Rookie’s fellow Cadets shout “”Hail Rookie Judge ____! May your Lawgiver always fire true.”
Helmet visors are thankfully bulletproof.
The minimum penalty under Code 11 is 30 years.
There is no death penalty for kidnap.
Dredd had only ever passed one Rookie before he assessed Giant.
The Chief Judge hands out the badges upon graduation.
At the end of the story, Giant turns his back on his father in favour of his duty to the city, a stark example of a Judge’s dedication to the Law.
It’S CULTURAL, INNIT?:
Nixon Plaza is probably a nod to Richard Nixon, 37th President of the USA and paranoid loon.
Judges are presumably named for David Hunt (Battle Picture weekly), John Wagner, Ian Gibson, Pat Mills and Alan Moore.
Future Shock is a term first coined by writer and futurist Alvin Toffler.
WHAT THE DROKK?:
When visiting the Academy, Dredd stops on a bridge over the training streets but this bridge is a fucking health and safety nightmare.
Dredd’s final test of the Rookie involves threatening to execute the perps, which is a risky one. If Giant hadn’t have believed it was Dredd’s final test (he only had Dredd’s say so and seems to go dumbstruck when Dredd explains his ruse), then he could easily have just busted his assessor for the attempted murder. Plus if Dredd really was a bad Judge, he could be using this to gauge if he could trust Giant or not. If Giant had pulled him up on it, he could easily have called it a “final test”.
WHAT’S THE ART LIKE?:
Personally I think the Gibson art is stronger even though the second part (under McMahon) is more action orientated. There’s a simplistic beauty about Gibson’s work in this and his look at the Academy is immediately iconic. Plus, circle panel and shit.
HOW MANY LINKS?:
A bona fide classic tale that nets this a solid seven links. It gives amazing insight into the making of a Judge and allows us a peek behind the curtain at the inner workings of the Department. There’s also some nice nods to fallen Judges Alvin and Steele from previous stories, giving a good sense of continuity.