Prog #18: You’ll Do Exactly What Ma Tells You! (Brainblooms)

Case File

Someone in the Big Meg is growing illegal “brainblooms” – a bio-engineered cross between plants and humans that look like bald goblin heads and imitate sounds. Dredd tracks down the grower: 100-year-old Mrs Mahaffy, who uses the plants to hypnotise Dredd. Dredd manages to overcome this and returns with backup to arrest her.

327426-19752-125028-1-2000-a-dOl’ Stoney Face

It’s Dredd’s birthday. I don’t think he’s the celebrating type.

He falls victim to the brainblooms’ hypnotic hum to the extent that he actually tries to drive himself right underneath a truck. The jolt snaps him out of it, and he smartly returns with Judge back-up.

Intriguingly, despite possession of brainblooms being a criminal offence, he lets Maria off with a warning. Seems like a good opportunity to get rid of her. Never mind.

Friends of Dredd

Walter and Maria are not getting on. I don’t care. Although, against my better judgement, I do like Walter imploring Dredd to arrest her.

Maria purchases the brainbloom for Dredd for his birthday. Maybe just a cake next time, hey?

The Big Meg

Brainblooms are banned (under Section 12 of the Bio-Penal Code) in the Big Meg according to “what they’re fed on”, but unless I completely missed it (always possible) we don’t actually find out what that is. They appear to be a somewhat popular commodity, mainly for entertainment purposes.

The Law

Judges have the power to close down shops.

Creeps

“Green Fingers” Ma Mahaffy is a 100-year-old notorious bio-criminal. She grows the brainblooms and sells them on to make “a lot of credits”. She’s pretty crafty, having trained the hybrid plants to emit a hypnotic sound that effects even Dredd himself. She’s also completely ruthless, commanding Dredd to not only radio back to Control that she’s in the clear but then to kill himself. She ends up encased in new Justice HQ riot foam.

Block Mania

It’s possible we get our first named city block! Ma Mahaffy is growing her produce on the roof garden of Tower House. It doesn’t really look big enough to be a block, but it’s a building with a name on it so I’ll take it.

Rap Sheet

Green Fingers Mahaffy is off to the cells, length unknown.

Verdict

After the 8-issue adventure we’ve just finished, it’s a tad disappointing to be back to a fairly standard “crazy technology in the future” story.

But, this one does actually hold up well. Mahaffy is a far more interesting character then all the generic gang bosses we got in the first bunch of stories, and it’s great to see her actually get one over on Dredd with the brainblooms.

The bizarre plants themselves are OK – an interesting idea that doesn’t really go anywhere amazing. The return of the “Dredd Lays Down The Law With A Snappy One-Liner” was, I suppose, inevitable.

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