Prog #26: A Day to Remember! (Dream Palace)

Case File

The Judges are trying to track down a criminal who has already carried out 2 successful, high-profile attacks in the City. Dredd gets a lead in a Dream Palace – can he stop John Nobody before he rains on the Justice Day Parade? Spoiler Alert: Yes.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Dredd, safe to say, doesn’t like the Dream Place. He seems actively angry at the practice, the customers (and their dogs) and the staff. It’s not illegal, so quite why is a bit of a mystery. He continues his tradition of being really horrible to the only people in any way useful or helpful to him (Hi Walter!).

Friends of Dredd

Walter lays the attitude on Maria here, who questions the robot being allowed to attend the Parade. Walter is free and can roam wherever he will! Yes, Walter, you can! Get away from Dredd and Maria!

The Big Meg

Apparently the citizens of Mega-City 1 don’t work more than 2 hours a day, leaving lots of “leisure” time. One such place to wind down is the Dream Palace, which provides dreams directly into your brain. You can also do the same for your dog, if you’re so inclined.

The Dream Machines have a “Nightmare Zone” setting which is apparently for medical use only. Your guess is as good as mine as to what medical use that can be.

There are 800 million citizens according the Dredd.

MC-1 has a Space Academy! How exciting! Well, used to. It was blown up. Sad face.

The Law

Dredd is assigned this case personally by the Grand Judge (although Dredd refers to him as “Chief”), as they’re worried that Nobody will target the Justice Day Parade.

The Parade itself is a celebration of the Judges – including a big statue of a Judge, holding a big book with LAW written on it in one hand, and a sword in the other. One of the floats also has The Covenant of the Judges: “Show us your lawbreakers, and we shall show them justice”.

The citizens continue to be big fans of the Judges here – JUDGES RULE OK reads one of the banners.

Creeps

John Nobody – this appears to be his actual name, not an alias – is sick of being laughed at so he decides to blow stuff up. It has apparently never occurred to him to just change his name.

Nobody uses the Dream Machines to plan his crimes. Or, do the crimes come to him in the dreams? It’s not entirely clear. Anyway, so far he’s destroyed the Transatlantic Express, poisoned the water in Sector 4 and blown up Space Academy (no!).

As Dredd sees in Nobody’s nightmare, his next plan is to spray napalm on the Judges during their special parade.

Resyk

Nobody’s attempt to terrorise the Parade is stopped at the end of the Parade Float Judge’s Big Enormous Sword – which is apparently a real sword. 

Verdict

So. Let’s deal with the plot mechanics quickly. All good, quite interesting, we get a little bit of motivation for the villain and some more backstory for the Judges and the City.

Now. Let’s deal with Dredd. This will be a longer topic for another issue, but Dredd here is unpleasant to a degree I do not like. It comes down to his interactions with the “Rainbow Girl” at the Dream Palace. They are terrible and pointless.

There’s an unpleasantness to Dredd that is at the core of his character, and which (in years to come) will inform that character in narratively interesting and challenging ways. Here, he’s just a typical macho, bullying idiot, and it’s a disservice to his character. Dredd here isn’t being stony and blunt with people while upholding the law – he’s demeaning a woman actively helping him. Dredd is more interesting than that. This doesn’t mean softer, or nicer, or a gentleman.

It may be a an over-the-top reaction, but it ruined this one for me. It’s the 70s, so I can imagine there’s going to be more of this. Let’s hope it moves on quickly.

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