Oz (Judge Dredd story)
|Publication date||24 October, 1987 – 16 April, 1988|
|Title(s)||2000 AD progs 545–570|
|Writer(s)||John Wagner and Alan Grant|
|Artist(s)||Cliff Robinson, Jim Baikie, Garry Leach, Brendan McCarthy, Will Simpson, Steve Dillon, Barry Kitson and John Higgins|
|Editor(s)||Tharg (Richard Burton)|
|Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 11||ISBN 978-1-905437-79-5 Search this book on .|
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"Oz" is a science fiction comics mini-series featured in the British comic 2000 AD, running for 26 episodes (progs 545 to 570) from 24 October, 1987 to 16 April, 1988.
The series was written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, with art by the following contributors: Cliff Robinson, Jim Baikie, Will Simpson, Brendan McCarthy, Steve Dillon, John Higgins, Barry Kitson and Garry Leach.
Chopper (real name Marlon Shakespeare) is a skysurfer and former graffiti-artist, who has been imprisoned for three years following the illegal Supersurf 7, in which he became a legend among skysurfers by 'shooting the fox' backwards, a near impossible manoeuvre involving flying down a road tunnel against the traffic flow.
As the now-legalised Supersurf 10 approaches, Chopper finds his fame challenged by Australian skysurfer Jug McKenzie. Despite calls from the citizens of Mega-City One for Chopper to be released in time for him to challenge McKenzie on his home turf, Judge Dredd refuses to bow to public opinion.
Chopper's journey to Oz
As Chopper is being moved to a maximum-security isolation cube, he succeeds in escaping from the Judges and flees the city. Chopper makes his way over the 'west wall' into the Cursed Earth. His journey is followed by the Mega-City One media as he evades Cursed Earth mutants and travels to the Mex-Zone. Finally arriving at the Pacific Ocean, Chopper faces the decision to return to imprisonment or to strike out 11,000 kilometres across the Pacific to Oz's megacity, the Sydney–Melbourne Conurbation. As his board runs out of power, Chopper is rescued by a lone ship piloted by a maniac robot chef. Chopper manages to take control of the ship and heads to Oz by sea.
During Chopper's journey, three teleporters enter the Grand Hall of Justice. Announcing themselves as "The Judda" they set about hunting down important judges, including Dredd himself, and killing them. Dredd succeeds in killing one of the Judda, and scientists discover that he has the same DNA as Dredd, Fargo and Rico - he is a clone. The judges realise that the Judda were cloned from DNA stolen from the judges forty years ago by renegade judge Morton Judd.
Dredd travels to Oz, ostensibly to arrest Chopper and return him to Mega City One and imprisonment. However Dredd is arrested as Chopper arrives in Oz, and apparently placed under house arrest. The Judda attack once more, but Dredd is prepared - his arrest was only a ruse - and he blocks their escape. Using one of the Judda's teleporters he travels into Ayers Rock, where he discovers an army of cloned Judda preparing to attack Mega City One. Dredd teleports to the Grand Hall and transports a nuclear warhead back to the rock, destroying the Judda.
Chopper is narrowly defeated by Jug McKenzie. Dredd is waiting at the finish line to arrest him, but Jug distracts Dredd at the last second, and Chopper escapes. In spite of his defeat, he has gained great admiration and popularity in the local populace and although Dredd still wants to recapture him, local Judge Bruce, fearing a possible riot, blocks his attempts, allows Chopper to escape into the Rad-back and orders Dredd out of Oz and back to Mega-City One.
- The "Oz" storyline had some lasting implications for future 2000 AD storylines. Kraken, a Judda cloned from the same genetic material as Dredd, was captured by Justice Department and later featured in the Necropolis series.
- The Judda reappear in the audio drama Judge Dredd: Jihad by James Swallow, which references Dredd's visit to Oz and his destruction of Judd's headquarters.
In his introduction to the Titan reprint of "Oz", Grant says he and Wagner originally intended the story to be illustrated by just two artists.
Cam Kennedy, who had drawn Chopper's previous adventure ("The Midnight Surfer") would handle the episodes depicting the character's journey to Oz and participation in Supersurf 10; Brendan McCarthy, whose time working in the Australian animation industry inspired him to propose the idea of a tribe of lost judges in the Australian outback, was tasked with designing the Judda and scheduled to handle the episodes dealing with their efforts to take revenge on Justice Department for Morton Judd's exile.
When Kennedy proved unavailable, a series of other artists were deputised to draw Chopper's odyssey, and time constraints saw Will Simpson take over from McCarthy on the last few episodes of the Judda storyline (his first work on Dredd). The series originally ran for 26 episodes (progs 545 to 570) from 24 October 1987 to 16 April 1988 and has been reprinted several times, including:
- The Complete Judge Dredd in "Oz" (Titan, ISBN 1-85286-436-2 Search this book on .)
- Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 11 (Rebellion, ISBN 978-1-905437-79-5 Search this book on .)
- Judge Dredd: The Mega Collection: Oz no. 17 (Hachette Partworks)
City of the Damned
| Major Judge Dredd stories
The Dead Man
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