Writer Michael Carroll goes back to Dredd’s early days and the aftermath of one of the most difficult decisions he ever had to make. The revelation that not only did Judge Dredd have a brother but that he himself arrested him for corruption was one of the defining moments in the character’s history.
Now, Carroll – who has already established himself as a fan favourite writer at 2000 AD – brings new depth to this iconic moment with Judge Dredd Year Two: The Righteous Man, which explore the implications of this fateful decision for the young Judge Dredd.
As the Judges cart Rico Dredd away for questioning and exile on Titan, his clone-brother Joe comes under scrutiny. They’re cut from the same cloth; can Joe Dredd be trusted? An investigation begins, and Dredd is shipped off to an iridium-mining town in the Cursed Earth, which has come under pressure from mutant raiders. But everything is not as it seems. When the reason for the raids becomes clear, Dredd will have some tough decisions to make.
While Pat Mills’ introduction of a ‘long lost’ brother for Dredd could have been another piece of easily forgotten old continuity from a period when Dredd’s character was still finding its feet, series co-creator John Wagner took it and spun a vast dynastic plotline out of it that has time and again reared its head, most notably in the Origins storyline, a mark of Mills and Wagner’s strength as writers and just how adaptable the premise of Judge Dredd.
Rico’s existence was revealed in ‘The Return of Rico’ story by Pat Mills and Mick McMahon in 1977, which saw Rico, later played by Armand Assante in the 1995 Judge Dredd film, escape from the maximum security prison for rogue Judges on the moon of Titan and confront his brother – only for Dredd to execute him and stoically carry his body to the morgue.