A prisoner of Call-Me-Kenneth and his robot army, Dredd is given a tour of the factory and introduced to his punishment: a robot copy of himself into which his brain will be plugged. Friendly Old Robot Walter busts him out of his cell and brings good news – the robots aren’t so happy with their new leader and could be persuaded to take him on.
Ol’ Stoney Face
Dredd must have paid attention in history class, comparing Call-Me-Kenneth to Adolf Hitler.
He must have missed “Escaping from Robot Prison 101” however, as his attempt to break out merely leaves him with a beating. He is reliant (again) on Walter coming to the rescue, melting Dredd’s handcuffs with corrosive acid.
Call-Me-Kenneth is committing hard to the evil despot dictator role, even uttering the deathless phrase: “I’m a big fan of Adolf Hitler”. His punishments for robots that don’t work hard enough include being struck with whips dipped in corrosive acid, and the penalty for failing to lubricate joints is ripping out your own circuits.
Unsurprisingly, it appears many of the robots are starting to wander if switching from the fleshy ones to CMK was such a great idea.
Call-Me-Kenneth has also developed the Block-Buster Seven, a very large robot whose head is a one-ton bomb (we’ve all had nights like that). He can take out large groups of people in a way eloquently described by as “messy, but very effective”.
Dredd’s cell includes a pair of robotic handcuffs, who I am unashamed to say I prefer character-wise to Walter the Wobot (grrrr).
We’re again in the murky ethical area of deciding whether we count robots or just fleshy ones, but the only deaths we get are the robot guilty of the heinous crime of failing to apply some WD40 and Dredd’s chatty robot handcuffs. Nice knowin’ you, Cuffy.
A pretty dark look at the daily grind of Call-Me-Kenneth’s “hell factory” as Dredd succinctly puts it. The story is pretty clear – the robots have replaced one form of servitude for another, and CMK’s rule may actually be worse. Not subtle, but I’m perfectly fine with that. This is a serialised comic told in 5-6 page bursts – as long as it’s fun and engaging I’m on board.
CMK’s fate for Dredd is pretty disturbing, and puts me in mind of the Cybermen from Doctor Who.
I know I’m just going to have to get over this, but Walter may be one of my favourite characters in the Dreddverse so far if he didn’t have that unnecessary lip. It says something when a pair of robotic handcuffs who get barely 2 pages of action are more fun to spend time with then Dredd’s sidekick who is, again, smart and brave.
The Case Files I’m reading don’t include who the artists are for each issue, but there’s a clear change of artist here. The first page is really fantastic, dark and packed with detail.
On with the insuwwection! Damn it.