Prog #117: I’m Gonna Save Myself Some Paperwork! (Cityblock 1)

Case File

Patrolling a Cityblock, Dredd chases down a perp who ends up guilty of a range of offences. But what was he guilty of to start with?

492538-67193_20061019152603_large-1Ol’ Stoney Face

After his heroics saving Mega-Cities One and Two recently, we’re back to Dredd as the iron force of the Law. He senses that the Cityblock he’s patrolling is on the verge of riot – but we see no indication of that whatsoever.

This is another great illustration of Dredd’s philosophy of zero tolerance, and we see that philosophy skewered a bit here as havoc and mayhem result from trying to enforce a littering violation.

From one point of view, Dredd risks the lives of other citizens to prosecute this one individual of a low-level crime. Despite this, he does not regret or doubt his actions for a second.

Friends of Dredd

According to a small marquee in the background, there’s now a movie called Fergee: The True Story.

The Big Meg (and Beyond)

We’re back to the population being 800 million. Much of this mass of humanity is crammed into enormous Cityblocks, which can fit 60,000 people.

The blocks have everything from hospitals to gardens, beaches, shopping malls and crematoriums. Apparently some citizens spend their entire lives in these skyscrapers.

The Law

It’s interesting to think back to how popular the Judges seemed early in the series. We definitely are getting some different perspectives now – the Judges as seen by the “criminal” here are a terrifying, ruthless and arbitrary force.

Is this view prevalent among citizens? Have things changed since Cal’s reign of terror, enforced by hypnotised Judges?

Creeps

The fleeing criminal is spotted by Dredd dropping a candy wrapper – and then in the course of trying to escape justice becomes guilty of vehicle theft, kidnap, possible manslaughter, 18 other violations of the penal code and 7 traffic offences.

He tried to escape Dredd because the Judge yelled at him, and he panicked. From Dredd’s point of view, the citizen was a fool who should not have tried to flee the Law.

In a clever move, we never learn this criminal’s name. Which means in the Big Meg under the Law of the Judges, he could be anyone.

Block Mania

Yay, our first City Block! Dredd’s multi-level chase takes place in Charlton Heston Block.

Rap Sheet

Given the list of offences, we can assume the unnamed citizen is going away for a long time.

Verdict

Really liked this one. A great introduction to a great concept – the enormous Cityblocks – and a very dark look at the all-present power and terror of the Judges. This is how to tell a tight story in a small amount of pages.

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