Prog #99: Oh, Dredd! Woe, Dredd! (The Day the Law Died, part 11)

Case File

Cal seems to have taken care of Dredd and his comrades, but finds the City is still not adoring him. Cal’s Judges start to wonder if they might have backed the wrong horse.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Dredd’s Road Liner crashes through the ground into the old polluted Ohio River, which is now called The Big Smelly. He is, apparently, dead. And smelly.

Friends of Dredd

Dredd’s pals plunge with him into the smelly embrace of the underground river. This seems to mark the end of the insurrection.

The Big Meg (and Beyond)

To celebrate Dredd’s death Cal allows an entire day where all crimes are legal. But the citizens are apparently so devastated by Dredd’s final end that they are too busy mourning to take advantage.

The Law

Even the Judges are finally starting to wonder if Cal might be the right person for the job of Chief Judge. But, of course, they have helped get rid of the one Judge who might have had a shot at taking on Cal and the Kleggs.

Creeps

Cal’s joy at Dredd’s departure – which even inspires a lovely poem from him – is short-lived as he realises the citizens don’t share his jubilation. After instituting insane laws, he decided to make all crime legal. Even this doesn’t make them happy!

Resyk

We apparently see the end of Dredd, Giant and their comrades from the Academy of Law here.

Verdict

One of the things I’m trying to do with this blog is avoid as much background info as possible. I’d already read The Cursed Earth before going through it again and knew how seminal it was, and agreed with the general fan consensus (from what I can tell). This is my first time reading The Day the Law Died, and I’m now dying to know how it is viewed by most fans. Because, as much as it pains me to say it, it’s not working for me at the moment.

All the individual pieces should work. The Judges being taken over by a maniac. Dredd having to fight his own people. The citizens fighting back. But it just doesn’t come together – and it’s going way too long. Even with this specific episode, turning the focus away from Dredd could have been interesting. But what do we learn? Cal is insane. I think we knew that.

It makes no sense at all that the Judges choose now to realise Cal is crazy and needs to be stopped. The plot pings from thing to thing with only tenuous connections.

I don’t like being so down on this, and there is still a long way to go, but I had to get my thoughts down as they are now.

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2 thoughts on “Prog #99: Oh, Dredd! Woe, Dredd! (The Day the Law Died, part 11)

  1. I don’t know if there is any concensus on these early epics. The Cursed Earth, The Day The Law Died and The Judge Child all have many great moments and do a good bit of world building and character introducing but each have their flaws (the Judge Child suffers from some of the same criticisms you are levelling at TDTLD – i.e. sometimes not much happens to advance the story but it is still entertaining enough).
    I think it is with the Block Mania/Apocolypse War story that Wagner/Grant manage to nail the big story concept for Judge Dredd. This is a sequence where things start with an ice cream and gradually escalate to all out nuclear war. Dredds resolution of the crisis has recurring consequences over the next 30 years of the strip.

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    • Thanks Michael – The Apocalypse War series is one I read as it was early on in the Mega Collection so I’m looking forward to covering that one day by rather than in one big read! From what I remember, I think you’re right the escalation is much better planned out in that one.

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