Prog #27: Can’t Catch Me, Judgo Boy! (The Academy of Law, part 1)

Case File

Dredd is assigned a rookie judge to either pass or fail and become a full Judge. Things don’t go well for Cadet Judge Giant as he and Dredd take down a “futsie”.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Dredd fondly remembers his time at the Academy as hard, but good years. He was first in the Honour Roll of the class of 2079. Given Dredd states Judges graduate at 20, that makes Dredd 40 now.

Shock horror – Dredd isn’t hugs and rainbows with rookies. Apparently he’s only ever passed one. He’s not impressed with Giant so far.

Friends of Dredd

Not exactly a “friend” of Dredd here, but we meet Judge Cadet Giant – son of the Harlem Heroes aeroball champion. Apparently his parents wanted something “better” for him, so they signed him up for a decade or more of gruelling training where one mistake could see him expelled, and where his final graduation is dependent on the whim of a random Senior Judge. Thanks guys!

Giant is very nervous around Dredd. In fact, he shoots Dredd in the face. As first impressions go…

Dredd fails Giant here, mainly due to not remembering the correct sentencing for futsies, but I imagine the whole shooting him in the head thing probably was a factor too. Report of a kidnapping in Sector Three gives the rookie one more chance.

The Law

The Academy of Law, in the heart of the Big Meg, is a large and imposing building that recruits and trains Judges. The Academy includes a huge arena with a life-size duplicate of a section of the City where Judges train with robots. These tests use live ammunition.

Judges are taken in at a very young age, and don’t graduate until they turn 20. Judges appear to leave their family behind when they are signed up – the Law is their family now (not terrifying at all). We see little Bobbie Smith being signed up by his mother in the background of one page, and Cadet Giant is enlisted by his father. The children appear to have little say.

The training process appears intense and uncompromising. We witness one cadet apparently likely to be kicked out for failing one training course – in his 9th year. Let’s hope they get a lot of applicants – a policy of being kicked out for one mistake can’t leave too many successful cadets.

Judges’ helmets are bullet-proof.

Creeps

Happy Harry is a “futsie” – someone suffering from future shock, unable to cope with the pressures of living in the 1970s comic book idea of what 2099 will be like. I know how he feels.

Futsies tend to go all mad and murdery – but bizarrely, it’s classified as a medical condition and not a crime. So instead of a cell, he gets a doctor. A bit bizarre given how strictly we’ve seen the law enforced so far.

Despite Giant’s clumsiness, Dredd takes down Harry with a leg shot before sending him off to group therapy.

Resyk

Happy Harry appears to have taken out two citizens before Dredd and Giant arrive on the scene.

Verdict

Much better. I’m finding as the case-of-the-week stories are faltering, I’m very interested in the world-building touches that we’re getting. I can accept the obvious inconsistencies and logical leaps needed to make a lot of this work, as the heightened world of MC-1 is the right context for that.

The idea of the futsies is also a nice touch, and is a good spin on the ever-present complaining about the “speed of modern life”. The multi-part issues definitely allow for more room to breathe, and I’m looking forward to more of them going forward.

After my rant on Dredd’s characterisation last week, it’s great to get an immediate improvement here. Dredd is still blunt and harsh, but here it makes sense. It’s clear he wants the rookies to be prepared to face the harsh life as a Judge on the street. This characterisation of Dredd is what works so well.

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