The Robot Wars

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"The Robot Wars"
Publisher IPC Magazines Ltd
Publication date 30 April – 18 June, 1977
Genre
Title(s) 2000 AD progs 10–17
Creative team
Writer(s) John Wagner
Artist(s) Ron Turner
Mike McMahon
Ian Gibson
Carlos Ezquerra
Editor(s) Tharg (Pat Mills)
Collected editions
Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01 ISBN 1-904265-79-0

The Robot Wars (1977) was the first extended storyline for Judge Dredd during which the character became the most popular in the comic 2000 AD. The first episode saw the first appearance of a long-running supporting character, Walter the Wobot, Dredd's robot manservant.

Plot[edit]

In the first episode, a robot called Call-Me-Kenneth runs amok killing people until it is apparently destroyed by Judge Dredd. However the next episode has Call-Me-Kenneth being revived in a new body. He was supposed to have been reprogrammed, but somehow his malignant persona remains and after killing the human technician that restored him he calls upon the droids of the city to rise up against their masters.

Dredd resigns in protest when his superiors refuse to pass stricter anti-robot laws to deal with the threat, but when war breaks out he returns to duty. In the war the Judges are almost defeated, but some droids remain loyal and, led by Dredd, are able to form a resistance movement. The 'new order' promised by Kenneth is nothing of the sort as the droids are subjected to work as slave labour. Dredd confronts Kenneth on the city's weather control centre, where Kenneth falls to his destruction.

The story was set in 2099. A second Robot War in 2121 was depicted in "The Doomsday Scenario," published in 1999. Both stories were written by John Wagner and had various artists.

In 2008 one reviewer wrote: "The very first story in which the Judge Dredd series finally comes alive is the Robot Wars, where the parallels between the robots in the story and black slaves is made quite explicit."[1]

Cultural references[edit]

Wagner uses parodies of the speeches of Hitler for most of Kenneth's dialogue.

The loyal robots are programmed to follow the Laws of Robotics invented by Isaac Asimov for his robot stories, though evidently the laws are not as effectively implemented in the Judge Dredd story.

Publication[edit]

The story had a single issue prologue leading into the main story:

The story has undergone extensive reprinting, most recently in Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01 (2005).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quaequam Blog Review, 2008

External links[edit]

Preceded by
None
Major Judge Dredd stories
1977
Succeeded by
The Cursed Earth