This is a story of all branches of the Law in Megacity One, an epic tale that ran in three series - Judge Dredd, Low Life and The Simping Detective - set in the aftermath of the massive series "Day of Chaos" that wiped out a big proportion of Megacity One. Judge Dredd the fascist lawman surely needs no introduction. I've covered the antics of Judge "Dirty Frank" the quirkiest member of the extremely quirky undercover "Wally Squad" from the "Low Life" series in a previous post. The third character who I am not so familiar with is "Jack Point" the titular "Simping Detective", another Wally Squad Judge undercover as private investigator who likes to "Simp" as part of his diguise, the word meaning to dress like a fool or a simpleton in Megacity slang (and of course it's a play on the title of the famous Dennis Potter play "The Singing Detective"). The three stories start out seemingly seperately. Judge Dredd dealing with a potential powergrab from within the system. Dirty Frank waking up on board a space station to find himself a board member of an organisation called "Overdrive Inc" and Jack Point given a mysterious doll to keep safe. Gradually the three strands begin to weave themselves together into an explosive finale. The collection has the chapters in the order they should ideally be read in, meaning it jumps back and forth from colour to black and white and each series has it's own distinctive artwork. The credits are as follows: Judge Dredd is written by Al Ewing and the art is by Henry Flint. The Simping Detective is written by Simon Spurrier and has art by Simon Colby and Low Life is written by Rob Williams and has art by D'Israeli. The front cover of the hardback collection is a lenticular one that shows Judge Dredd, and when tilted Dirty Frank and Jack Point appear as reflections in his visor, very cool. I'd also like to thank my very good friend Lucy McGough for lending this book to me. Cheers Lucy!
Due to the packed nature of the collection I have split it into two posts. This first one covers the most of the indivudual storylines - The Simping Detective's "Jokers To The Right"; Low Life's "Saudade" and Judge Dredd's "The Cold Deck". The second one will cover the rest of the individual storylines and the final merged story "Trifecta".
Dredd: "We're not taking any chances with the clone of War Marshal Kazan".
Dredd speaks to the prisoner, Kazan is a little old man with a chessboard. Dredd asks him about someone called "Borishenko". Kazan says he never met him and that as Dredd's enemy he had "little to look forward to but my death. Hence my defection".
He became a valued itelligence asset but Dredd says he never told them anything about Borishenko they didn't already know. Kazan says he has been confined for seven years, "my knowledge of underground guerilla factions is not what it was." Dredd says he's "dead weight" then. Kazan assumes Dredd has lobbied to have him executed.
Dredd: "I've tabled it. The sooner you're gone the better I'll like it. Unfortunately we've other fish to fry."
Kazan says he has heard of the Council changes and maybe his gift for strategy can be useful to Dredd still.
|Mega-City Justice business.|
They then move onto plans to merge all the seperate Judge divisions into larger entities. There will be a new Undercover division uniting the Wally Squad, PSU, SJS and Black Ops, and headed by someone called Bachmann. Dredd is not happy about this, "it's like putting a cockroach in charge of the exterminators". But the Acting Chief says he has no proof. She says the Chief Judge position is open still if he wants it, but if he doesn't want to burdens of Council membership, he doesn't get to make decisions.
Back with Kazan, he sets up the chessboard but his comment to Dredd, "perhaps you cannot see the real game at all" causes Dredd to shoot the chessboard to pieces. Dredd then leaves and gets a strange message over his radio from "a little glowing friend". Dredd seems to recognise who it is and the voice says, "let's you and I sit down and have a nice chat."
|Mr. Mystery contacts Dredd.|
They fight and Jack calls his backup, an alienform velociraptor called "Larf". The woman is subdued and as she lies dying she addresses him as "Judge Point". She hands him a small doll in the shape of a jester and she pleads, "please! Take it! The Broomcupboard bitch wants it". She tells him that someone made her steal it. Then she dies and under her torn clothes is revealed a Judge's badge. Jack takes the doll as someone spies on him from afar and thinks:
Jack: "This job? You weren't already a fool, youda quit years ago."
|Jack Point meets the disguised Folger.|
The butler returns telling him "they are waiting for you" and Frank puts on a suit. He goes into the boardroom and the robot introduces him as the newest boardmember of Overdrive Inc, "as per the terms of his recent contribution." When a somewhat disbelieving boardmember questions this and asks Frank his net worth, Frank says "Dirty Frank has teddy."
|Dirty Frank somewhat out of his depth.|
Frank: "Dirty Frank is genuinely scared now".
Back with Jack Point he returns to his office, depressed that he killed a fellow Judge he starts to drown his sorrows. He's called by his local Sector Chief who calls him and "abomination and a travesty" and that he has something he wants - the doll. The Judge has taken something of Jack's in retaliation. And shows him a tied up fellow PI called DeMarco, "kinda my girlfriend" thinks Jack.
He agrees to trade the doll for her safety and goes to where she is being held. He hands over the doll, but the Judge betrays him and decides to kill them both. But DeMarco shoots him with a laser hidden under her tongue and kills him. Freed, she departs telling Jack to throw the book at him.
|DeMarco is grateful for her rescue.|
Dredd meanwhile is out doing his job, but is distracted. A Judge called Buell comes along and informs him that the acting Wally Squad head Folger has been found dead in a "chem pit". Forensics say she had "deep tissue body alteration" so she was undercover but shouldn't have been, she was strictly admin only.
As Dredd deals with more perps, Buell asks if he wants the "worse news". Before she died, Folger withdrew some "gold clearance file" data. It's a non-copy file, when it's moved it's gone until it's put back. Buell says he is reluctant to report it up the chain of command because it means it will end up with Bachmann.
|Bachmann! *shakes fist*|
Buell: "Best case scenario? Give it five years we're looking at a new Chief Judge who makes Sinfield look like... well, like you... and that's if she wants to play nice."
As he and Dredd talk, we see a bald Judge telepathically monitoring them, "he still thinks we don't know" she says. Bachmann who is with her smiles, "does he? Good. Very good."
We return to Jack Point. The fanatics point guns at him and cry "Crimes against God! Righteous execution!" Jack takes off his clown nose and tosses it at them, it explodes and allows him to make a getaway. He returns to his office and finds his current status is "Rogue. Detain on sight". He laughs almost hysterically, "Hahahahahahahaha! I'm out. I'm out. I'm out!".
He goes to see a woman called Anne, saying he needs help. She says the underworld is buzzing, "Stolen artefact. Collectors offering biiiiig cred". He shows her the doll and she examines it, while he he asks for a face changing machine, some cash, two weeks in a sleep pod and a route offworld.
|Jack Point on the run.|
Over to Dirty Frank. Mr. Overdrive tells the board members he could "rip them to shreds with my awesome teeth" but he won't because he values them. He then speaks directly to Dirty Frank and a man called "Lom" saying he has not "had the chance to intimidate either of you" before.
He then plays a short film which shows how he made his billions, by patenting the phrase "Don't be a shark, be a great, great white shark" before having his DNA bonded to a real great white shark. He then went to Luna- 1 and bought all the struggling businesses there and asset stripped them.
|Frank is startled.|
He asks for access to a com unit and accesses his Judge file which says he has no current case on the go. Bewildered Frank doesn't understand why he is there if not on Judge business. Then "Lom" grabs him saying how stupid he is for calling up the Judge computer and he's blowing three years of undercover work in Overdrive Inc. Mr. Overdrive appears and confronts them both saying he knows Lom is Wally Squad and blows Lom's brains out.
|Tough luck "Lom".|
They discuss Folger's death, the transponder she had fitted wasn't standard issue anymore because she had moved to admin. They figure out when she was dumped, but lack a "who" and "why". Dredd gets impatient and says if Roffman can't find the perp "he'll find someone who can".
Roffman, using the time the transponder activated tracks a robot truck passing by the pit at the time of the dump. He accesses it's audio memory and gets a fragment of speech, local and which Dredd thinks he has heard before. "Patois indicates the south-west part of the sector" says Dredd. Roffman says give him an hour and he can come out with a programme that'll match the voiceprint next time the person opens his mouth.
Dredd gives him fifteen minutes to do it. We cut to the telepath with Bachmann still monitoring them. She wants access to Dredd's mind but his "mental defences are up".
Bachmann: "No, of course they are. The man's got a mind like a clenched fist. I doubt he relaxes to pee."
|The file is sold on as Dredd listens.|
Roffman: "I don't believe this! Dredd what in Grudd's name were you waiting for-"
Dredd: "That'll do Roffman. I'm going in."
Dredd busts in and finds Jack Point as the seller. He threatens the buyer with getting rough if he doesn't tell him where the file is going and tells Jack:
Dredd: "Charge is treason against Mega-City One. Solicitation and sale of classified information... and murder of Acting Wally Squad Chief Folger."
|Dredd crashes the deal.|
Jack is confident he can't be found on "my streets". Then he has a strange vision of a tea cup. "What the hell's wrong with my brain?" he mumbles. Then he is confronted by another of the religious nutters who has a gun trained on him. "The Urban Parachete demands sacrifice" he says.
Before he can kill Jack, he activates his whoopee cushion which calls Larf who attacks the armed man. Jack makes his getaway and decides to stop Simping. Wondering who can help him, he suddenly is confronted by a huge sign for "The Church Of Simpology". He grins and puts his red nose back on.
Meanwhile on the moon, Mr. Overdrive says he values loyalty and undercover Wally Squad activity is definitely disloyal, hence the need for disciplinatory murder. Frank has a flash vision of someone sipping tea from a teacup. "Are you listening to me?" shouts Mr. Overdrive.
Frank: "Sorry. Dirty Frank drifted off for a bit due to blind panic. Where were we?"
Overdrive asks him if he should accept Justice Department infiltration at "such a key point of The Project?" Dirty Frank starts chanting "All hail The Project" and the rest of the board members who have wandered up to see what's going on join in.
|Mr. Overdrive shows off his new city.|
Frank: "You're building Luna-2 in a giant moon crater and no one knows about it."
Mr. Overdrive tells FRank it's a "mega-city for this generation" engineered purely for profit. Mr. Overdrive sheds a tear as speaks of this:
Frank: "And lo. Even great white sharks shall weep. Which is a top name for a future Frank power ballads album."
Mr. Overdrive thanks him saying he is moved and says he was right to accept Franks huge donation, for "revolution" doesn't come cheap.
Then someone drops some sort of memory device into Mr.Ovedrive's hand and something "is confirmed from Mega-City One". The person handing it over says they successfully purchase "the list". Mr. Overdrive says there is "blood in the business waters". Frank asks how much. "Lots" responds Mr. Overdrive:
Mr. Overdrive: "Because Overdrive Inc has just successfully purchased the true identities of every single Justice Department Wally Squad operative and International Secret Agent".
|Dirty Frank is determined to save his fellow Judges.|
Frank: "This is how boardroom takeovers are done, yes?"
Back with Dredd he has caught the files buyer and he is interogating him about who he passed it onto. The perp manages to blurt out it's "the corporate guy from the vids? You know the guy - he's got a face like..." Then Bachmann orders a sniper to fire a blast from a "nightmare gun" at him. The perp sees Dredd transform into something monstrous from his childhood nightmares and dies of a fear induced heart attack.
|The Nightmare Gun in action.|
Bachmann: "She's not best pleased. In fact we'd like you to explain the matter with you in some depth. Bring your badge. We may be needing it."
On the moonbase, Frank tries feeding the board member to the crocodile guard, but his gag reflex prevents this, so he ties him up and puts him in an airlock. "Truly the ruthless business world is a ruthless... business" thinks Frank. Frank asks the guard where Mr. Overdrive has gone and is told he is off inspecting his new statue and palace in the new city.
Suddenly the alarms go off and the guard comments he has new orders that Frank is to be "captured or shot on sight." The man in the airlock was able to use a local comm unit to reveal Frank's duplicity. Frank speeds off as the rest of the guards come after him shooting.
|Frank goes space walking.|
Frank: "Whoever that is. Dirty Frank would like to give him a right slap."
He reaches the Luna-2 site and floats down onto a building. He confirms to himself he needs to find the disc and destroy it, "easy peasy". As he clambers into one of the buildings though he is greeted by a motley array of alien looking guards and captured.
We return to Jack Point, who has arrived at The Church of Simpology, an obvious parody of the "Church" of Scientology. He goes to register with a donation and submits to a security check where they find a "bugbot" in one of his teeth which they pull out. Jack has no idea how it got there. They believe him and welcome him into the Church.
|Mr. Turner - The Archmime.|
Mr. Turner: "Let's not Drokk around Jack. My sleazy little cult exists primarly to liberate creds from rich retards, and I'd feel awful about that... if the repugnant skin wastes didn't wind up happier, calmer and more fulfilled in the bargain."
He says he is cynical, but who is Jack to judge, joining a Church just to get a ticket off-world. And by funny coincidence that ticket will cost five million creds, "ha ha ha" he says.
|Tough times for Acting Chief Judge Hershey.|
Dredd is shown in, he passes a Judge Maitland who greets him then has a flashback to having found an overspend in the Black Ops department and unexplained income of a private firm of the exact amount. She is reporting it to a mystery person drinking tea and seems to have been made to forget it as she shakes her head and wonders if she dreamt it.
Judge Hershey is pissed at Dredd for allowing the list of Wally Squad operatives out into the wild. She tells him she remembers something he told her when she was eighteen:
Hershey: "I remember you saying the Chief Judge must be pure. Above corruption, and I remember thinking... really?"
She says when you take on the job you quickly become compromised by the deals you need to make. Also that Kazan's execution has been rejected thanks to Bachmann.
Hershey says Bachmann has been useful to her, "her and her 'specials' - her little psi-talents". Dredd asks if she ever suspected her. Hershey says there was nothing to suspect. Bachmann might be powermad but she has never shown any evidence of illegality and Dredd hasn't been able to provide proof to the contrary.
|Hershey is pissed at Dredd.|
Dredd: "I won't dignify that with a reply Chief Judge".
She dismisses him "for now". We then cut to Bachmann who says a "nice juicy tragedy" blamed on Dredd and Buell will allow her to restock the Wally Squad with more suitable people. She then gives the order to her Black Ops Judges:
Bachmann: "Give the word to all operatives - total annihilation. I want every name on that list dead. In less than fifteen minutes the Wally Squad as we know it will no longer exist!"
|Dun Dun Duuhh!|