On his way to a 20-year sentence on Titan, Dredd snaps out of his confusion, hijacks the shuttle and lands with a bang back on Earth, determined to clear his name. Deputy Chief Judge Cal wants Dredd caught – and it looks like he’ll go to bizarre lengths to ensure that happens.
Ol’ Stoney Face
Dredd starts off here as confused as he was in the last prog – assuming he must have committed the crime but now can’t remember it. He snaps back to himself this episode, and decides firmly that he didn’t commit the crime.
Once that decision has been made, he activates full Scarily Efficient Dredd Mode, snapping the chains holding him and forcing the pilot of the shuttle to take him back to Earth. He then disappears into the City, determined to find who has framed him.
There’s a great little moment on the shuttle as Dredd ponders life on Titan when he remembers Rico and the surgery that he had to endure.
I can’t talk about this prog without highlighting the fantastic moment when Dredd hops off the shuttle pod he’s just crashed into the Spaceport with the immortal line: “I have nothing to declare – except my innocence!”
Friends of Dredd
We get a very brief check-in with Judge Giant, who is very concerned about Deputy Chief Cal’s ambitions.
It’s now pretty clear that not all is well at Justice Central. Chief Judge is apparently “unwell” according to Cal, and Giant believes that Goodman has “gone to pieces” since he voted to send Dredd to Titan.
Cal relieves every available Judge of their current duties and assigns them to the manhunt for Dredd. It’s fairly clear that this order is viewed as pretty strange.
I think we can dispense with any pretence and firmly slot Deputy Chief Judge Cal into the “creep” category. He’s clearly positioning himself for power at Justice Central, and has sidelined (at the very least) Chief Judge Goodman.
Beyond his career objectives, we also get some fairly strong hints that Cal may not be the perfect picture of mental health. His office is full of artworks of himself, including a life-size bust, and – inasnely – a picture of what has to be Adolf Hitler! Now this has to be a relatively public office, right? He must have meetings occasionally! Has no-one every questioned this… “interesting” decor?
We also at one point see Cal address the bust and reflect on his own genius. Justice Central may need to look into its Human Resources department if this guy made it to No. 2 in the building.
He appeared last prog but I didn’t take too much notice, but we get another appearance from Cal’s right-hand-Judge Quincy.
Another good, energetic instalment. Since The Cursed Earth started way back in Prog #60, the pace and drama have not let up, and we’ve basically gone from cliffhanger to cliffhanger. I’m enjoying it, and given that we’ve got another mega-epic just around the corner that’s probably just as well!