So, where were we? This is part two of my look at the collected 2000AD storylines that make up the Trifecta book. Highlighting the three most popular lawmen in Mega-City One, Judge Dredd, Jack "The Simping Detective" Point and Low Life's Dirty Frank. The crossover started with three individual stories for each character which I looked at the majority of in the first post on this volume. The Simping Detective's "Jokers To The Right"; Low Life's "Saudade" and Judge Dredd's "The Cold Deck". This second post will cover the rest of the individual storylines and the final merged story "Trifecta". The stories are connected by one main thread, a file is stolen from the Justice Department computers, it contains the list of all the undercover "Wally Squad" Judges currently in operation in the city. First it is passed to Jack Point, who is left with no option but to sell it on for five million creds before attempting to flee offworld. It is sold onto a crazy sharkheaded businessman called Mr. Overdrive who is building a secret city on the moon, and it is here that Dirty Frank found himself a fully paid up member of Overdrive Inc's board but his cover has been blown and he's been captured. Judge Dredd for reasons yet unknown allowed the file to be transferred to the moon, and his enemy within the department - the head of Black Ops, Judge Bachmann - is going to have her Judges massacre the Wally Squad to have a nice juicy tragedy that can be blamed on Dredd and consolidate her power grab for The Wally Squad and other undercover departments. However there seems to be a mystery person pulling the strings of our three heroes, revealed only as someone sipping tea and dunking biscuits...
The Judge Dredd story 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. For the final united storyline, all three writers are credited while the full colour art is by Carl Critchlow. The front cover to this lovely hardback edition is a lenticular one which shows Judge Dredd and when tilted Dirty Frank and Jack Point appear reflected in his visor. And big thanks again to my very good pal Lucy who lent me this book and is a walking repository of all knowledge 2000AD.
|The oranges of Dirty Frank|
Mysterious Man: "You know if an individual makes the total decision to become someone else. There is really no need to remember who one was previously. Or what one saw. Wally Squad. I think Judge Frank I could use someone in Wally Squad."
We then return to the present. Frank has been stripped to his undies and his arms manacled above his head. Mr. Overdrive is vexed that they have been torturing him for almost a day "and still not crying. It's undermining my enormous position of authority." Frank is zapped again and Mr. Overdrive demands to know who Frank is as he is not on the list and did spend millions to join Overdrive Inc.
Mr. Overdrive: "Who sent you? WHY ARE YOU HERE!"
Frank: "Genuinely haven't a clue chum."
"Bah" responds Mr. Overdrive saying he is displeased by Franks lack of ability to please him. Then a freaky looking telepath creature reads Frank's mind and informs Mr. Overdrive that, "he was not lying. He genuinely is an idiot."
|Frank gets to kick arse in his pants.|
Back with Jack Point, he is still at the Church of Simpology, reflecting on the high level of Simping there that puts him to shame. He is led to a machine that will have him undergo "idiocy auditing" so he can be fully initiated right away. The woman tells him to "Surrender to the heart of the God City". Jack wonders why people keep saying that, then is zapped by the machine. He is shown that:
Jack: "Real Simping's not about blending into a mad city. It's all about serving it"
The city needs support, needs sacrifice. The Church Of Simpology is the first wave, sending people to spread the word and when the Meg is full of believers, "turn their eyes to other flocks."
Jack: "Joy through jokes. Serenity through stupidity. Obedience through idiocy."
After this brain washing he is left alone in a room to process it. He reflects that it's dumb but isn't hurting anyone and that he also "looks forward to bringing the true and mighty word of the God City to the heathen masses."
|Wonderful use of colour.|
Judge Dredd goes to Bachmann's office and places her under arrest for crimes against Mega-City One. For embezzlement, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, sedition and aiding and abetting in the murder of Judge Franklin Breyer.
She says she hopes he as evidence for all these accusations or it won't look good for him. He says "I've got enough". He then flashes back to a radio conversation with the mysterious tea drinker. The mysterious man says he intercepted the Wally Squad list and swapped it for a "kill list".
Mysterious Man: "Everyone you have marked for death in the brave new world of ours. The neer-do-wells. The problem children. Those making our post chaos world more chaotic."
Back in the present, Dredd tells Bachmann she never had the Wally Squad list and the people on it were people Black Ops would have killed eventually.
When she says he has no proof, Dredd says on the list was a paranoid gun runner who had a recording device in his leg and he taped the Black Op Judges appearing, calling him Wally Squad then shooting him. Bachman says that is circumstantial. Dredd says they also have proof that she was embezzling funds to an off-world corporation that bought the list and was to execute Jack Point.
Bachmann blusters and enters into a mental conversation with her telepath, and tells her to scan the moonbase. The telepath says there is a mole there who has discovered the list. She also says "our partner's starting to panic - I think he's about to launch early". Bachmann says to tell him to hold off, but the telepath can't reach him. Dredd says Bachmann has gone quiet, she says her "silent partner is about to do something very silly... time for plan B". Several Black Op Judges reveal themselves and there is a gun battle that results in Bachmann shooting Dredd several times.
|Bachmann's hostile takeover begins.|
The Black Op Judges close in on his location and Frank shoots a warning shot at Mr. Overdrive to get him to close the doors. He downloads all financial and employee records as well as blueprints of Overdrive Inc.
Mr. Overdrive: "They know! Intiate Operation Overdrive! NOW!"
While Frank zooms back to Luna-1 the ground starts to rumble and his taxi is knocked over. Dirty Frank spills out, still clad in his clinging space suit layer and sees Luna-2 bristling with guns, and rising up.
Frank: "Well Dirty Frank didn't see that coming".
We return to Jack Point. His would-be assassin says he doesn't understand why Jack wasn't on the list they bought. Jack thinks that the "God-City's deemed my clogs gotta pop", and he is willing to be killed. Then his computer slate beeps and it's a message from DeMarco, she says she doesn't want to lose him.
DeMarco: "I love you. You...you ridiculous Gruddamn mess. Don't you go anywhere. Don't you give up. On anything."
|Jack gets his own back.|
As he is told this, Jack grabs his blade and stabs him through the throat. He thinks to himself afterwards:
Jack: "I've defied the Mighty Metropolis. And all the fleshy fem fantasies in the world won't fix that. How do ya break a holy hypno habit?"
He realises Judge Folger had the same indoctrination. He feels enormous guilt as he defies his conditioning. He goes to Mr. Turner, the Archmime's office and it is empty. He overhears Turner saying everyone gets an accelarated revelation. There will be a need for cannon fodder on the street. Jack Point thinks about the city and comes to a conclusion.
Jack: "Mega-City One man. It's about being part of the machine. Not above it. Not below it. In-drokking-vested. You don't need religion to make it work. Not anymore 'n you need a Gruddamn badge."
And he accesses Mr. Turner's computer records and discovers he has supplied sleep machines to every Judge Sector House in the Meg. He sees something names "Full Revelation Protocols" has been activated and that Turner has been brainwashing Judges. Then he is told his shuttle is ready to take him off-world.
|A brainwashed army of Simps.|
Bachmann: "Carolyn Bachmann here. Just calling to tell you that I'm ready to take over running the city now. Short notice I know..."
She also tells her she has Dredd, badly injured but alive. Hershey says "for Grud's sake.." But Bachmann says Grudd is outdated. She has invented a diety, The God City. Good citizens will live in Heaven above the city in Luna-2. Meanwhile the old city, Mega-City One, will be Hell, "an endless prison for those who resist me."
She tells Hershey Mega-City One "doesn't work.. it's as simple as that." She offers Hershey ten minutes to surrender. She orders the triggering of the indoctrination program from the altered sleep machines which will put more Judges on their side. "In ten minutes I want a wave of fresh bodies as brainwashed as you are" she tells her Black Op Judges.
|Bachmann outlines her plan to Hershey.|
Suddenly a hole is blown in the wall by a Judge Maitland who says "Accounts Division. Consider this an audit." She fires a smoke bomb and in the confusion she and Dredd make their getaway. Bachmann sends some goons after then, ordering their execution in the name of the God City. Maitland and Dredd stagger along, Dredd though is more injured than they realise and he collapses and falls down a flight of stairs.
|Accounts to the rescue!|
Frank returns to the present and notes he is bleeding badly and the space plastic won't allow him to stop it. He contemplates the chip in his hand with the records of Bachmann's wrong doings on it. But Luna-2, bristling with guns has taken off to attack Mega-City One.
Frank takes a running leap off the surface of the moon to catch Luna-2 but flies past it. Thinking he is going to die he bursts his space plastic suit and the blast of released air pushes him towards the city. He finds an airlock door and thinks to himself:
Frank: "Everyone has to have faith in something. Damaged, brutalised and diseased perhaps. But it's still Dirty Frank's city. And it will not die today!"
|Walking on the moon.|
But Jack is still alive, he insists he has a premonition and didn't board the shuttle because of that and not what is being done to his city. He discovers a room full of indoctrination machines and realises the people from the Church Of Simpology were just "guinea pigs". He wonders what caused the "kink" that forced the hand of whoever is behind this. He aborts the Revelation procedure and then opens the door to make his getaway only to be confronted by an angry Mr. Turner.
|Mr. Turner is displeased.|
We get a quick catch-up of the situation with the three characters. Dredd is still injured, Jack Point is fighting Mr. Turner and Frank has a rapidly depleting air supply and is trying to get into Luna-2 the flying city.
Frank: "A giant shark shaped supercity, heavily laden with alarming weaponry, descending on your beloved city with the intent to destroy and presumably replace it."
He manages to get inside, helped by the crocodile headed guard who fixes up Franks arm to pay him back for the kindness he showed him as part of Overdrive Inc. board. Frank asks to use a phone.
|Judge Smiley revealed.|
Judge Maitland patches up Dredd best she can, as the brainwashed Judges attack they move on with Maitland saying that one minute she was filing cards next she remembers everything about "working to bring down Black Ops with a guy with a biscuit fetish". Dredd says Smiley put the hypno-implant in her mind blocking the memories until the right trigger phrase was heard via the radio in her tooth.
Maitland: "Seriously? I had brain surgery for you?"
Dredd: "Not for me Maitland. For the Law."
She asks if it is just them and "Mr. Biscuits" against an army of religious ninjas. While Frank finds a phone and contacts Dredd informing him of the situation. Luna-2 was built with Overdrive and Bachmann's money, there are many armed mercenarys aboard, it has cutting edge weaponry "we have nothing that can stop them". Dredd responds, "we have you".
|The Simping army.|
It is the tooth removed from Jack when the joined the Church. It broadcasts the message "Bullet to King Four" and he remembers his part in this, being told by Smiley he'll be "useful". He needs only to receive an artefact and fall from grace. In the present, Jack realises he is still a Judge in that case, "Gruddamit!" He orders the Simps to gather weapons and deputises them.
Hershey and the other Judges holed up in the Grand Hall spot Luna-2. They realise they cannot win in a battle against it. She tells them to launch everything they have at it bar nukes anyway. But they can't penetrate the city's shields. Luna-2 opens fire in response.
On board Frank has another flashback to Judge Smiley telling him "there is something very important I need you to remember eventually." Frank recalls the word "Saudade". he uses it to bypass the security on the computer he is trying to access as the guards close in on him.
|Quick, Dirty Frank!|
Dredd can't believe Smiley "sent a Simp to save the day". Jack calls Larf who isn't dead and DeMarco appears and hugs him. Dredd sends them to Control while he and Maitland will make their way to Hershey and hopefully Frank can succed in his attempt to sabotage the city.
Jack and DeMarco make it through the chaos to Control and deactivate the sleep machines. Jack reflects that Judge Smiley knew he'd act out of self-preservation and used that, "knew I'd play the whole thing selfish". And that he'd find the Church of Simpology and when it came down to it he'd "do the right thing drokking thing. Stay with my city." He apologises to Larf for abandoning him before and Larf licks him. He leaves the Simps holding the fort as he has something he has to do.
|The battle for Mega-City One.|
The shields down, Mega-City One's missiles start hitting the flying city. Mr. Overdrive, enraged beyond belief lunges at Jack.
Mr. Overdrive: "You are not successful. Name one thing you have that I cannot buy!"
|Mr. Overdrive is also displeased.|
Dredd and Maitland make it to the Grand Hall where Hershey is still alive. After bringing her up to speed with events, Jack Point and Dirty Frank also arrive on the scene and together they go to take on Bachmann.
She starts beating Dredd with her fists, but he just tells her she shouldn't have got distracted and Judge Smiley shuts her up by blowing her brains out. He introduces himself to Hershey. He's been living in the walls for twenty years:
Smiley: "I was put in place as a failsafe, you see. A Judge to judge the Judges - that was my role. I felt I'd perform it more efficiently from behind the scenes."
|Checkmate from Smiley.|
Hershey meanwhile is angry at Dredd for nearly allowing a coup to take place, "because you didn't trust me." Jack and DeMarco take off for some sexy time together, while Dredd, Maitland and Frank contemplate the city. Dredd says maybe it is hell, but Frank says they'll never abandon it, "it is... home."
Dredd: "Come on. We've got work to do."
|The Big Meg always endures.|
And that's it for this year. The first full year I have written this blog and I do enjoy sharing the somewhat random collection of comics from my bookcases with you sexy, sexy people. Join me in 2016 for more Obscure Alan Moore, blatant Garth Ennis favouritism, manga, superheroes, hot babes, hunky men, guns, swords, political commentary, cute animals, boobs, blood and lots of fighting. Merry Christmas all, have a seasonal kitty cat pic with bonus geek reference. See you in the New Year!