Prog #16: Smash the Judges! (Robot Wars, Part 7)

Case File

Call-Me-Kenneth and his band of Heavy Metal Kids storm the Grand Hall of Justice, while above the city Dredd and his robot rebels use atmospheric control to unleash an electrical storm. The robot revolution seems to be over, but Kenneth himself cannot be found.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Dredd comes up with a good strategy to defeat the robots here, utilising Mega-City 1’s weather control system to zap the robots. You would have to assume though that a 7 million mega-volt storm would damage the city just as much as the robots… Lucky this isn’t a super-technological future with flying cars and… Oh, dear.

Bluntly put, Dredd is a bit of a dick to Walter and his robot buddies. Apparently choosing to ignore that the only good ideas, strategy and actions over the last 4 issues have all come from Walter, Dredd snaps back to the robot after an innocuous bit of advice with “I don’t need any advice from an overgrown vending machine”. Not cool, man. Maybe he just finds that lisp as annoying as I do.

Despite their apparent victory, Dredd knows that his job isn’t over until the final showdown with Call-Me-Kenneth.

The Big Meg

It’s been previously established that the Big Meg has full weather control, and here we see one of the large wheel-shaped Atmosphere Control stations that float above the streets. They’re staffed by robots, and have computers which can refuse instructions that are illegal (such as creating electrical storms). They were apparently made operational in 2012, and lightning has not been seen in the skies since then.

Dredd lays hands on a “sky bus” to get up to Atmosphere Control.

The Law

The Grand Hall of Justice is no match at all for CMK and his six comrades. Some investment in better defences might be prudent, rather than just relying on Dredd all the time.

Creeps

And it was all going so well. Call-Me-Kenneth’s robot revolution appears to come undone here, as all the robots in MC-1 are zapped or rounded up by the Judges. CMK gets a hefty wallop from one of the Heavy Metal Kids, but isn’t found after the dust settles.

The Heavy Metal Kids have a good line in jaunty singing while wreaking havoc on the Judges. “Smash! Crash! Bash! Mash! Come and get it, human trash!” They meet their end when the electrical storm makes them go haywire and they bash each other to bits.

Rap Sheet

The army of robot revolutionaries are apparently “rounded up” after the battle of the Grand Hall of Justice. Do robots get charged for crimes in the Big Meg?

He he. “Charged”.

Resyk

We lose a few more of the Judges this week, and the final overall death toll from this uprising is put at “thousands” by the Chief Judge. It’s not clear how many robots are zapped by Dredd.

Verdict

Wrapping things up is never quite as satisfying as the journey itself. Dredd’s final plan is clever though, and I like that it uses technology established in a previous issue rather than some new McGuffin. I’ll admit to being a bit confused though – did Dredd’s atmospheric changes zap all the robots, or did he target just the ones at the Grand Hall?

The attack on Judge HQ is not quite the epic blockbuster I wanted it to be, although the chanting and signing of the robots as they dismember and eviscerate is wonderfully dark.

Dredd’s attitude to robots is now really hard to parse. In Robots he slaps down another Judge for enjoying the cruelty to George, but here he happily is nasty to Walter for no reason. Some consistency there would be appreciated.

The Dredd v CMK battle is still to come, and although I found this one a little flat I’m still firmly in the enjoyment camp.

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