Saturday, February 28, 2009

Prog 3 - Judge Dredd

The problem Pat Mills faced with Dredd initially was creating crimes for this Lawman of the Future to deal with. That's why he rejected 'The Bank Raid' script. It was too ordinary a crime for Dredd to deal with.

This chapter, 'The New You' was written by Mills and was McMahons second drawn strip. McMahons first Dredd strip was 'Frankenstein 2' from Prog 6.

From the splash page we learn that New York is now part of Mega City 1. There's a dangerous criminal Scarface Levine...and he's on the run. He reckons that by getting his face changed he'll be able to escape detection from the law. The face change clinics are really a great concept. Wagner would later have some fun with this idea when Dredd has one of his 'moon' adventures. The criminals in that story have their faces changed to resemble classic comedians.

Levine forces 'A New You' face change clinic staff member to change his appearance and minutes later he's back on the streets. But Levine is arrogant. He realises the 'law cameras' can't identify him and decides to pull one over on Dredd. (The law camera have the words 'Police Control' on it, obviously Judges haven't taken total control of the law yet.)Big mistake...Dredd recognizes him. Levine panics and races away. Dredd pursues him.
Another point of interest is that Dredd's bike is now referred to as a 'Lawmaster'.
Dredd manages to jump on top of the speeding vechicle. Levine tries to shoot him off...but he is no match for Dredd and the judge administers justice. Dredd hops back onto his lawmaster before Levines vehicle crashes. Notice Levines face in that last panel above. Initially he was drawn with the bullet going through his head but because of the recent fallout over 'Action' it was censored and the ending of the strip was changed. Dialogue was altered so that Levine was slowly dying from the shot and he would be put into a timestretcher jail instead of just being blown away by Dredd. Dredd explains to Levine how he knew it was him, even though his face had been changed.
and we end with a classic Dredd line.
I say 'end' even though there is one more page. The last page was drawn by Carlos Ezquerra for the rejected pilot 'Bank Raid'. Mills thought that the artwork was so good that it would have been a shame to waste it and it was also on the back page of the comic which would have been in color. So, it would make for a great poster of what Mega City 1 looked like. He wasn't wrong. It's a great piece of art...and it has another classic Dredd line.
You'll notice the kid eating the ice-cream with his mom. From the 'Bank raid' script the kid tells his mom that he wants to be a Judge when he 'grows up' and she says 'Hush Tommy! and for goodness sake don't drop any litter or you may never grow up!'

Another reason why Mills tacked this page on was to give the impression that Dredd's pursuit of Levine was no big deal and he carries on his patrol as if it was nothing new. It's all just part of everyday law enforcement when you're a Judge.

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