Dredd is assigned to watch Judge Minty on a case, and see whether he’s still fit to be a Judge.
Ol’ Stoney Face
Dredd is partnered with Judge Minty, not just to help him on the Kovaks case but also to see if Minty has still got what it takes to work as a Judge. After noting a number of times where Minty gives the criminals chances to stop what they’re doing, Dredd puts in an adverse report on the old Judge. While he has some grudging respect for Minty, Dredd is blunt in considering the old man’s judgement faulty.
Judge Minty has been a Judge for a long time, and is starting to get “strange notions” like not seeing all citizens as potential perpetrators. He wonders if the Judges were less harsh, they might be able to be a more positive force in the City. But even Minty is so much a part of the system, that he knows that means he needs to retire.
When it’s time for a Judge to retire, or when they can no longer perform their roles fully, they have the option to teach at the Academy of Law or take the Long Walk – literally walking outside the City into the Cursed Earth to take “law to the lawless – until death”.
Judges that take the Long Walk receive a guard of honour from Judges as they leave. After Chief Judge Griffin gives him the option, Minty takes the Long Walk.
The Kovaks Mob, led by the titular Kovaks, are a nasty bunch of guys who are wanted for 74 counts of murder. Dredd and Minty press an informant, Tommy, for the location of the Mob. The Judges then head over to Move It Ltd. to take them out.
The Long Walk is an incredible addition to the world of Judge Dredd and the Judges particularly. The career of a Judge, from their training right up until the end, is unrelentingly harsh and bleak. It seems so fitting that this final option is just the same.
Tommy the informant will be doing time for possessing burglary tools, an illegal firearm and having traces of tobacco in his apartment. Some of the Kovaks mob will be heading to the cells as well.
Dredd takes down many of the Kovaks mob, including Kovaks himself.
This is really good. The basic plot is basically identical to most of the early progs (Dredd and Judges take down a gang), but the shift in perspective to a senior Judge is brilliant. It says so much about this future world that any indication of not wanting to go hard on criminals is seen as weakness. Placing the “hero” of our story essentially in the role of shutting Minty and his legitimate concerns down is excellent, and continues to add the layers of darkness on both Dredd himself and the world of the 22nd Century.
An incredible use of only 5 pages, and one of my favourites.