A trio of criminals are robbing banks disguised as 20th Century criminals. Getting the evidence is going to be tough, but Dredd’s prepared to use a leaf out of their book.
Ol’ Stoney Face
After a bit of consideration time, Dredd recognises the bank robbers’ disguises as 20th Century comedians. Given the only leisure time we’ve previously experienced with Dredd has seen him reading law volumes or Dostoyevsky, I love the idea that he has a secret geeky love of old comedy. He probably has old VHS’s in boxes under this bed.
Dredd comes up with the idea to have a face-change himself, impersonate the Tooley’s lawyer and tape their bragging confession. So we technically see Dredd’s face without his helmet! But it’s someone else’s. Clever.
The Big Meg (and Beyond)
New security robots are now available – although here they are completely useless. They’re basically metal snakes with a parody of a New York Cop’s head and hat on top. The First Lunar Bank might want their money back.
We’ve seen face-changing technology before, and here we see it’s on the Moon as well – and in handy portable DIY packs! It’s treated here like having your nails done, or a haircut. The implications on society if that were truly the case would be staggering, but aren’t explored here.
The Lunar Judges have access to face-changing technology as well – obviously very useful for undercover work. They also have Judges specially trained in the art of interrogation. Although they don’t do much of a job on the 3 creeps here.
Once we’ve seen past their disguises, we’re introduced to Al, Brad and Lapsley Tooley. Apparently they’re the biggest con-men in the business – which is interesting because what they’re doing here isn’t really a con as such. More just robbery with disguises.
Anyway, they’re using a portable face-changing machine to turn into 20th Century comedians like the Three Stooges, then changing their faces mid-raid and leaving as “freed hostages”. They stand up very well to Judge interrogation.
Their lawyer is Manny Bloom, the “crookedest lawyer on Luna-1”. He’s a fairly terrible gangster lawyer stereotype. Dredd and Manny seem to have crossed paths before.
Maybe they’re joking, but one of the Gang claims that they plan to use their ill-gotten gains to pay for nights at the Opera.
Just a very quick moment, but I loved the line “the face is Manny’s – but the fist is Dredd’s”.
The Tooleys are going down – and Dredd’s looking forward to what 40 years on a Dome Repair Gang will do to their faces.
I’m going to have to plead complete ignorance here. I know we get the Three Stooges but that’s about all I recognise – old-time comedy has never really been my thing! This probably caused more of a chuckle in 1978.
The rest of the storyline is straightforward enough, and a fairly simple “beaten by their own trick” ending.
I would like to point out here though how much I’m enjoying Brian Bolland’s artwork. As I talk about in the About page of this site, I am a comics novice so still learning my way around the “literacy” of comics. It’s not that I’ve disliked any of the artwork so far, but Bolland’s is really standing out to me. Very clean and detailed which is very useful for an amateur like me! I’d be very interested to know how he is viewed in the annals of 2000AD.