Plot: Old comics are now as addictive as drugs. Dredd busts the pushers.
Verdict: At first glance this is just a lame marketing ploy or self-aggrandisement, bringing the comic you are reading into the fictional world you are reading about. But look deeper and it might just be a comment that modern life is rubbish and that humour or culture in general will never be as good as it used to be.
We also see the first appearance of Max Normal, Judge Dredd’s star informant. He is also a comment on the youth of the day and a genius creation. How do you rebel against a future society that represents every spectrum of the outlandish? By being as conservatively normal as possible. Bowler hat, pinstripe suit and umbrella. All icons of the 70’s establishment. He talks like an old school Disco cat – plenty of jive here.
Another Dredd first is the word “stomm.” Like later additions “drokk” and “by Grud” this is not only an attempt to futurise the language but to avoid trouble with the publishers and the parents. And if you think about it swearing is probably illegal in 2099 so a Mega-City cant would develop.
The internal logic is flawed as comics are illegal, worth a fortune and sold to kids. Not really seeing the economic model there. This stretches the drugs analogy a bit thin. And laughably the most futuristic comics’ technology is microfilm.
The art is great but one of the great features of this story is the attention to detail in the background. A soda joint is run by Fat Sam. A menu advertises “New Coke – The Surreal Thing,” a parody of Coca-Cola’s “real thing” tagline of the period.
This is also the introduction of setting number four on the Lawgiver. The ricochet bullet.