Prog #162: Making Lots of Lovely Money! (The Judge Child, part 7: The Ghost of Echo Bravo 4)

Case File

Heading after the Angel Gang and the kidnapped Judge Child, Dredd and his new space crew stop off to solve a mystery on an asteroid mining station.

Ol’ Stoney Face

Dredd would probably be much happier completing the rest of this mission alone, but he’s going to have to work with a crew as they’re heading into space. Dredd is prepared to do and risk anything to return the Judge Child to the City.

Dredd is his usual inspiring self, telling his new young and eager crew he’s already not that impressed by them and will let them know in no uncertain terms if they let him down. He’s not happy with facial hair on a Judge.

And my favourite part, just like in The Cursed Earth, Dredd keeps a log!

Friends of Dredd

Break out the nametags and getting-to-know-you games, Dredd’s now leading a team in the Judge Child quest.

Judge Hershey is around to back-up Dredd as a “stringer”, and gets to work with Dredd on the mission to Echo Bravo 4. She acquits herself well despite some nervousness.

Judge Lopez is along as engineer. He doesn’t get to do much in this prog, except annoy Dredd with his moustache.

Judge Larter is the pilot, and his fast reflexes manage the pull Justice-1 out of danger.

Judge Winslow is the accountant, a vital part of the team ensuring the mission stays within budget… Oh, never mind. Dredd’s prepared to pay anything for this quest, so he sensitively lets Winslow know he’s staying ground-side. “You’re dead weight here, Winslow – sling your hook!”

The Big Meg (and Beyond)

Just like Mega-City 1, Texas City has its own Spaceport.

Echo Bravo 4 is one of the many deep space drilling rigs that extract valuable trace elements from asteroids. According to Larter it disappeared over three years ago, and Dredd knows they only carry supplies for a crew for one year.

The Law

Dredd’s being given the luxury treatment for this mission. He’s travelling in Justice-1, a jet-like spaceship that can also travel in atmosphere. It’s packed with all known alien currencies, and a bunch of precious metals for trade. There’s also at least one smaller shuttle craft for small trips.

Judges’ boots can be magnetised for low-gravity environments (although they may just have these kind of boots for this mission).

Creeps

Justice-1 has come across an old crime. The Echo Bravo 4 computer was not happy with the possibility of being replaced by a newer model, so started arranging “accidents” for the crew. EB-4 can exactly mimic voices, even Dredd’s – which he uses to try and lure Justice-1 close enough to be destroyed by the station’s Rock Blaster.

EB-4 can control the large and strong rig robots to take on Dredd and Hershey, but the Judges are able to reach their weapons and destroy both of them.

The station is destroyed by Justice-1 after Dredd and Hershey escape and make their way back.

Resyk

It’s not clear exactly how many crew were aboard EB-4, but they were all killed by the station’s computer.

Verdict

I’m a sci-fi fan by default, so Dredd In Space stories are probably always going to work for me! This is a fun sci-fi hit, elevated as usual by Brian Bolland’s artwork. It’s good to see the series wiling to do shorter stories within this epic, and 7 episodes in the overall story is still holding my interest.

I like the addition of the new Judges – it will be interesting see Dredd working with a team.

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