A good satire focussing on whether or not it is possible to actually live within the law or are all citizens doomed to failure.
We first heard of Russell’s Inflatable Muscles back in Prog 430 in the Nosferatu storyline. Now we meet the man himself.
This Pokes fun at the “Build Muscles Fast” advertisements that appeared in comics of the period and the success and commercialisation of bodybuilder Charles Atlas amongst others. As well as playing up the stereotype that comics readers may have been a little weak and nerdy.
Is it a highbrow statement on the meaning and commercialism of art? Is it a more personal true story? Who can say but this represents one of the less disposable stories of Judge Dredd with a likeable protagonist and a relatable situation.
It is rare that you get time for a real mystery. Especially so in a single issue story. Whilst the ending might be a little disappointing this story certainly has an intriguing hook.
We have seen robots impersonating the law before. But this Dredd parody is darkly comic. It is hard to see where this ‘hanging judge’ and the absurdity of the real mega-city laws meet. A nice call out to the Helltrekkers that would have been appearing in 2000AD about this time too.
There is an element of Scooby Doo as Dredd unmasks ghosts which aren’t really supernatural. There isn’t much emotional impact or even suspense here. What is interesting is the rainy setting, something seen only rarely in a city where weather is controlled by computer.