Prog #48: Nice Wipe Out, Marshal! (The Oxygen Desert, part 1)

Case File

Dredd is on the trail of the Badlands Gang, who live beyond the Dome and raid Luna-1. But the tables are turned on Dredd when he heads out alone to take on their leader.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Dredd is finding much of the Judge-Marshal role to be tedious, particularly settling petty squabbles of the Minor Complaints Court. He wants to be out there on the streets solving real crimes – preferably involving a Gang of some kind!

He hands over to Deputy Tex and hits the streets – eventually responding to an urgent call for help after an attack by the Badlands Gang. He coordinates an effective response to the attack, but then goes out on his own to tackle their leader. This goes pear-shaped pretty quickly, and Dredd reflects that his time as Marshal has in some way blunted his skills.

According to the dramatic, dark-red boxed narration (which should always be trusted), Dredd knows that his life is always in danger of ending at any time. “When you live on a knife’s edge, you know how to face death!”

Friends of Dredd

Walter is on hand at the Court to keep Dredd’s cup filled with fresh Synthi-Caf.

The Big Meg (and Beyond)

As we saw with the Land Race, Luna-1 is being continually expanded and we see here a Roadmaker crew attacked by the Badlands Gang.

The surface outside the Dome is referred to as the Oxygen Desert. The Dome wall is made of “low-tension cell-foam” which can be easily breached but automatically seals up without any damage.

The Law

Dredd and the other Judges on Luna-1 get fancy hover-bikes (we haven’t seen them before, have we?). There are also “Sin Bins” dotted around the colony – large circular open-air cells on top of very tall poles. Criminals are left in them and collected at a later date.

The Judges use drag nets to take down the Badlands Gang members on their “dustboards”.

Judges helmets can connect to an oxygen supply from their bikes, and include an artight vacuum visor.

A Priority 1 call means lives are in danger.

Creeps

The Badlands Gang live outside the Dome in the dangerous vacuum of the lunar surface – they must have a large supply of oxygen! They break in to the Dome and attack, presumably for credits and food, using “dustboards” (basically floating surfboards).

Their leader is Wild Bill Carmody – “one bad hombre” according to one of the Judges. He’s holed up in the hills of Ipsimus, and gets the upper hand on Dredd by using a dummy in a porta-dome to distract the Judge-Marshal. He makes a run for it on a dustboard after shooting Dredd and leaving him running low on oxygen.

Rap Sheet

Dredd’s blitz on the street results in one traffic offender being banned from driving for 5 years and fined 73,000 credits; an armed robber is sentenced to 10 years on a Dome Repair Gang.

Resyk

3 Judges die in the battle with the Badlands Gang – the Gang fare worse, with everyone except Carmody killed.

Verdict

The comedy with the small claims court is a bit too broad (domestic violence jokes are just never going to stand up well now), but otherwise I liked this one. There’s some nice depth to Dredd as he acknowledges that his time as Marshal may have softened his “street skills”, and it’s good to expand the world of Luna-1 beyond the dome.

The dramatic flashback style of storytelling suits the heightened world of Dredd – the opening may actually even be parodying that kind of storytelling given how over-the-top it is.

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