Monday, 4 March 2013

Judge Dredd: The Return Of Rico!

NAME
Judge Dredd: The Return Of Rico!

FIRST PUBLISHED
2000 A.D. Prog 30

DATELINE
17 Sep 77

This prog also featured Invasion, Dan Dare, Tharg's Future Shocks, M.A.C.H.1 and Shako strips behind a Brian Bolland Supercover.

PAGE COUNT
6

REPRINTS
Judge Dredd 14, Judge Dredd Chronicles Book 2, Judge Dredd Definitive Ed. Hall of Justice, The Complete Judge Dredd 3, The Best Of Judge Dredd, Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 01 and online. It was also one of the stories that inspired the story of the 1995 Judge Dredd movie.

SYNOPSIS
Dredd's brother returns to Mega-City One looking for revenge.

FIRSTS & LASTS
First strip with an explicit title, first appearance of Rico, first mention of Dredd being a clone, Dredd's first name and the first flashback to Dredd's youth.


INFORMATION
Twenty years ago, Mega-City One's Kennedy Space-Port only handled one shuttle a week. It has since become much busier.

There is a penal colony on Titan. Judges convicted of crimes get a sentence of twenty years there. Prisoners have their mouth and nose sealed and their body adapted to work in a vacuum without a space suit.

A Judge's respirator provides twenty minutes of Oxygen.

JUDGE DREDD
He is a clone. His first name is Joe. At the Judge Academy, his marksmanship needed work, fellow clone Rico Dredd was his best friend and got him through. On passing out day when they became rookie judges, Joe Dredd came second. Rico forces him into duel, which Joe wins.

OTHER CHARACTERS
RICO
Cloned from the same genetic material as Joe Dredd. As a cadet, he was an excellent marksman. On passing out day when they became rookie judges, he came first. Rico took bribes, ran a protection racket and killed someone that couldn't pay. Joe Dredd arrested him and he was sent to the penal colony on Titan for twenty years. He was surgically altered to work in a vacuum. He swore revenge on Joe Dredd. He served his twenty years and returned to Mega-City One to kill him. He challenged him to a duel and lost. Joe Dredd shot him dead.



MARIA
Rico gags her. She cooks paella.

GRAND JUDGE
He witnesses Rico's death.

ARRESTS
Two. After Dredd shoots a perp there are two more with their hands in the air.

DEATHS
Three. It appears that Dredd shoots a perp dead. In a flashback, Rico kills someone in his protection racket. Dredd kills Rico in a duel, Dredd drew his gun faster.

BEST LINES
Joe Dredd (thinking): "The door...or the fire escape...which have you got covered?"
Joe Dredd (spoken): "Freeze, Rico...Uuuh?"
Rico Dredd: "Triple bluff, Joe! Now drop the gun..."

Rico Dredd (having killed someone he was extorting): "Joe! Listen, we can make this look like an accident!"

WORST LINES
Rico Dredd: "I can eat vacuum and live!"

CATCHPHRASES
None.

CONTINUITY & CROSSOVERS
Dredd mentioned his time at the Academy in Judge Dredd: 'The Academy Of Law'.

INFLUENCES & REFERENCES
Dredd references the much-covered song 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' most famously released by The Hollies (1969).


MISTAKES
Dredd accuses Rico of "takings bribes."

Titan has an atmosphere, not a hospitable one admittedly but it's definitely not a vacuum.

Rico says "That's right Joe black. Airless cold like Titan - I want you to know how it felt..." and since the dialogue is so good in this strip this really stands out as awkward. Between the capitalisation and the punctuation there is a lot of room for confusion. Should it be "Black, airless, cold" or is Rico referring to Dredd as Joe Black?

RETROSPECT
The relationship between Joe and Rico Dredd will be revisited several times in later strips.

NOTES
Titan is the largest of six moons that orbit Saturn.

CREDITS
There are no credits printed in the strip itself and so the following are taken from Barney.

Script: Pat Mills
Artist: Mike McMahon
Letters: Tony Jacob

REVIEW
Up to this point the main focus of Judge Dredd has been less Judge Dredd and more Mega-City One and worldbuilding. The first story to delve into Dredd's past is excellent and ups the ante for the strip. The dialogue is wonderful, the page layouts are compeling and while the artwork varies, it is fantastic when it needs to be. It draws the focus to the reveal of Rico's face expertly. This strip achieves more in six pages than the previous six strips managed in total.