Prog #63: A Punishment Upon Deliverance! (The Cursed Earth, part 3: The Devil’s Lapdogs)

Case File

The trip through the Cursed Earth begins, and Dredd quickly finds himself in trouble in the town of Deliverance.

329421-19752-125219-1-2000-a-dOl’ Stoney Face

Dredd’s pragmatism is on display here as he confirms that Spikes will get a full pardon if he completes the vaccine-delivery mission to Mega-City 2. Dredd still doesn’t like him at all though, and the lawbreaker is only here for his bike skills.

Dredd is appalled by the punishment meted out to Deliverance’s citizens.

Friends of Dredd

(Given he’s apparently on Dredd’s team, I’ll include Spikes in this category for clarity’s sake.)

Spikes is still a major unknown factor here – he’s been forced to take part, and appears to skip out on Dredd towards the end of this prog. Even worse, he probably cheats at Future Monopoly.

The Big Meg (and Beyond)

If we’ve learnt anything from the first 2 parts of this series, it’s that the Cursed Earth is not exactly a lovely tourist destination. The trip’s first stop proves this point very well. Deliverance is a small town that is ruled with an iron and cruel sense of justice by the Lawgiver. Punishments are severe, and we get 2 young citizens here tied up in the middle of town to be eaten alive… by the Devil’s Lapdogs!

The Lapdogs themselves are nasty, nasty creatures. They live in the Death Belt, which was referenced in the first part of this series. The Belt is a mass of flying garbage created by the Atomic War, which is now home to savage rats which have adapted to their whirlwind surroundings. When the winds die, they drift down with the garbage and attack Deliverance. The Lawgiver uses this event to punish any lawbreakers.

The Law

So when Judge McMahon was giving the rundown on technical specs on the Land Raider last issue, he forgot the most important feature: boardgames!

Dredd and Spikes take out the Quasar Bikes for their first spin here. Spikes is a fan, and would probably make a run for it his bike wasn’t linked to Dredd’s and could be destroyed with the press of a button.

Creeps

The Lawgiver is an old man with a very long beard and a staff with what appears to be an official Judge eagle bearing the number 7 on it. He doesn’t acknowledge Dredd’s authority in Deliverance.

Holy Grud!

Both the visuals and implied horror of the Death Belt and the rats are incredible, and probably the most striking thing we’ve encountered in the Dredd series so far.

Rap Sheet

Dredd is technically the one behind bars here.

Verdict

After 2 issues of background and set-up, we’re finally on the road. This first stop on the way doesn’t disappoint either, with Dredd forced to face both a horrific enemy and a twisted version of justice in the Lawgiver. This is very much just the start of a story, so it’s hard to analyse that too much but just on its own this was 7 great pages and I wanted to read on straight away!

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