“Why don’t ye’ try a lil’ swig o’ Old Riley’s toilet wine?”
Well, here I finally am, with my very own column! I must say it’s been long enough!! (only joking, I need this job to eat) To settle me in this month is the new 2000ad audio release, Judge Dredd: Trapped On Titan.
So far, with the exception of the plodding Wanted Dredd Or Alive (although this was the opening CD) the 2000ad audio dramas have been of a brilliantly high standard, and harken back to the days when Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet had their own audio LP’s. This month’s story gets right into the thick of the action, as an undercover Judge Dredd infiltrates the galaxy’s toughest prison- Titan.
With our hero is Judge Mordin, played for those who you with a keen ear and a Dr Who audio CD as Peri, the Doctors ever faithful side kick. What follows on from Dredd entering Titan is a very funny, very good audio CD.
For starters the characters make this a winner- Irishman Riley (see quote above) is an absolute hoot, and the Grudfather (played by the ever excellent Toby Longworth) is the best Godfather rip off I have ever heard in my life. Then there is the Mr Macky (South Park’s school counsellor) style therapist- Malcolm. He is a terrifically over the top character, but fits in nicely with the plotting with his continual mmmkay’s and his inane psychobabble.
Then there is Dredd’s (masquerading as prisoner Joe Smith) guide through the mayhem, Honest Bob, played by Andrew Fettes. Fettes gives little life to Bob, and he comes across as somewhat of a boring ‘normal’ guy in the middle of this hilarious jumble of stereotypes, but to be fair, the man is only playing the role as written.
As ever, Longworth’s Dredd is as flat as a pancake- but that’s Dredd- sharp, cutting, to the point- he is perfectly used in this series. His coolness under pressure, his black wit is so very well written that these stories are not separate to the Dredd world as published in 2000ad and the Megazine, but actually now part of the mythos.
But back to the story. The plot is a well written one, with some nice links to Dredd’s past and his brother Rico, and some very funny one liners and observations are thrown into the mix. The alien menace as featured at the end however, is a little flat, and it seems a bit of a cop out after the build up, but this is a small flaw and is redeemed by a climax that seems darker and more contradictory to the story that has preceeded it, and I would even go so far as to say it’s the best ending of all the audio Dredd tales.
There is one false note however, this is a prison for the worst of the worst, the scum of the universe (men in black rip off I know!!). So, how come all these maniac killers and psychotic drug lords are all so nice?? I know this play can’t be gritty and dark, that’s really not much fun and the comedic way in which this story is played is perfect, but you sometimes have to remember where this story is set.
So is it any good?? Well, yes. As every new Dredd comes out, it eclipses the last in terms of story and scope and is simply better than what came before. The running time of this CD is the longest (even though it does not quite reaching the promised 70 minutes on the CD case) the story sharp and satirical and a great deal of fun. As said in the review for The Big Shot! It would be nice to see a story arc developing- hopefully what started in that previous disc will be continued by next months Get Karter! and not just finished there and then.
Only time will tell, and I will tell you in the review for Get Karter! coming next month.
ANY GOOD? A smart script, a good cast and some great characters make this disc one of the best so far released. Some parts of the story don’t always ring true, but the low-key ending will stick in the memory for a long time to come. Six plays in, the bloom hasn’t yet come off the rose for Big Finish’s audio series and with next months Get Karter! on its way it doesn’t look like the pace will slow. A great CD, well worth your hard earned cash.
FOUR OUT OF FIVE