Prog #116: I Love You Uncle Joe! (Vienna)

Case File

One of Dredd’s old arrests wants revenge, and gets personal by kidnapping Dredd’s niece Vienna.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Not much to talk about here so let’s move on…

OK, this is seismic for Dredd. We have to handwave the fact we’ve never heard of Vienna before, and that she’s apparently been part of Dredd’s life since Rico’s demise at his hands. Accepting that, Dredd apparently sees Vienna infrequently but enough that the girl has a strong connection with him. We actually see him pushing Vienna on a swing!

“Wracked with guilt” would be a stretch, but it’s clear that Dredd is still affected by how things went down with Rico. To the extent that he hasn’t told Vienna who killed her father. In taking down Harry C he admits that he’d even like to kill him for threatening Vienna, apparently the first time he’s ever thought that.

Dredd has been keeping some distance from Vienna since Rico’s death, despite some strong emotional blackmail from her current guardian. After this incident he plans to increase that distance – he’s a Judge, and likely to die on duty. He doesn’t want Vienna to lose someone else she loves.

Man, isn’t Judge Dredd just meant to be a fun future cop series?

Friends (and Family) of Dredd

Welcome to the world of Judge Dredd, Vienna. I’m sure everything will go just fine.

Vienna is Rico’s daughter, making her Dredd’s niece. We don’t get any information on Vienna’s birth – who her mother was, or how Rico even had her when he would have been on Titan.

Following her father’s death, Vienna lives with a guardian (I assume): Ms Pasternak. She sees Dredd occasionally and loves him – calling him Uncle Joe and even loving him despite his poor attitude towards hugs.

She’s finally told here that Dredd killed her father – and immediately understands and says if he did it it must have been necessary. This is pretty insane, and surely has to point to some sort of trauma-related issues.

The Law

Apparently Judges can’t kill someone unless it would save the life of someone else. Which surely applies in this situation!

Lawgivers can fire stun shots.

Creeps

Harry C is a whiz with electronics, although the extent we see of that here is a single laser beam and an ankle trap. He was put away by Dredd a while back, and is out for revenge (oh God we’re back in the annuals). He’s not got any moral qualms about strapping a young girl under a buzz saw. Nice guy.

We don’t find out how he found out about Vienna, but if this two-bit crim can find her that’s pretty worrying.

Rap Sheet

Harry C is heading back to jail.

Verdict

There’s obviously a huge issue that’s a little tricky to get past here – Rico was on Titan for 20 years, how does he have a young daughter?

But I’ve never really cared too much about plot holes in stories I like, and there’s too much to enjoy here to worry about it. It’s a bit too emotionally overwrought, and some of the dialogue is too heavy-handed, but it’s trying to cover a lot in a handful of pages.

It’s a fantastic idea to give Dredd some personal stakes, and a little girl running around calling him Uncle Joe is somehow heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. The end is a gut punch as we get another glimpse into Dredd’s hard view of a hard world.

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