Prog #173: While I’ve Still Got a Mouth Left! (The Judge Child, part 18)

Case File

Dredd tracks down Prosser, and before he succumbs to the Jigsaw Disease learns some disturbing news about the Judge Child.

243638-19752-118568-1-2000-a-dOl’ Stoney Face

Dredd accepts Lopez’s sacrifice as part of the line of duty as a Judge, and in a great moment for his character doesn’t berate or yell at Hershey when she reacts emotionally. He actually writes in his Log that he understands her reaction, and that she is a good Judge.

Dredd is now worried that the Judge Child can not just predict the future, but manipulate it – and not necessarily for good ends.

Friends of Dredd

Hershey is shaken by Lopez’s death, and accuses Dredd of not showing leadership by insisting Lopez take the Spice and not himself.

The Big Meg (and Beyond)

The unfortunate Prosser slowly dissolves away to nothing here, with his last feature left being his mouth – which at least means he can tell Dredd the story of what happened to him.

Prosser was the pilot of the Southern Belle, the starship hijacked by the Angel Gang. The Gang offered to pay Prosser to take them to Xanadu, where someone was waiting for Owen Krysler.

After learning of Krysler’s abilities, Prosser asks the Child when he’ll get his money. The Child tells him he’ll catch a disease and cryptically uses the Humpty Dumpy nursery rhyme.

As Prosser points out, this encourages the Angel Gang to ditch Prosser on Planet AB – where he catches the disease. Owen Krysler indirectly (or directly?) caused Prosser’s death. Dredd observes something similar happened to Faro back in Memphis. The implication is that the Judge Child may not be the complete force for good Dredd had assumed.

Creeps

It’s the return (in flashback) of the Angel Gang here, and they’re as nasty as we remember. Pa Angel allows Junior to satiate his desire for murder and mayhem by spacing the crew of the Southern Belle. Apparently the Gang are due to meet someone on Planet Xanadu who will pay a lot for the Judge Child.

Resyk

Judge Lopez dies after ingesting a single drop of the Oracle Spice.

Prosser dies of the Jigsaw Disease, and no amount of royal cavalry can reassemble him.

Verdict

This one seemed to be another crazy adventure of the kind we’ve seen before, until the two sudden twists at the end. Lopez’s death genuinely shocked me, and Hershey’s reaction to it (and Dredd’s understanding) is very, very well played. It’s dramatic, but not overwrought. The revelation that the Judge Child may not be all sweet and innocent is also well done, and fits everything we’ve been told up to know.

A surprisingly great episode.

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