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The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of The Week In Geek, where we love to share our favourite, Comic Book, Video-Game, and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure. And so once more unto the geek dear agents, once more…

Happy 40th Birthday Judge Dredd…

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Not only did the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic – 2000AD reach it’s 40th anniversary milestone this year, but this month also brings us four decades of ol’ stony face himself, grim lawman of the future, the inimitable Judge Dredd. That’s right fellow fans of fantastic fiction, the UK’s biggest ever comic book star has been busting perps and incarcerating crooks for a fantastic forty years!

Dredd made his first appearance in prog #2 of 2000AD in March 1977, created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, and became an instant hit with UK comic book fans, finally we had a character who could stand toe to toe with his American peers. Like many stories emanating from 2000AD, Dredd was an extreme satire of British culture and politics, often taking these themes to ridiculous extremes (though possibly not so extreme, considering the unfortunate direction that the UK has taken in the past year)

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Dredd is the most infamous of the Judges who patrol the future city of Mega City One, riding his Lawmaster motorcycle through it’s mean streets and conferring justice utilising his Lawgiver sidearm. Judges literally are the law… judge, jury and executioner, dispensing justice as they see fit with complete autonomy, save their Book of Law. Dredd is one of the (very) few characters to have become successful outside of the British isles, and has always served as a harsh parody of how the world could end up lest it reins in it’s inherent fears and prejudices. Happy Birthday Joe, here’s to another 40!

 Zelda: Breath Of The Wild Hailed As “Greatest Game Of All Time!”

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Nintendo’s new hybrid console “The Switch” is now amongst us (well, at least the lucky few who pre-ordered the device, such is the way with new Nintendo machines… unfortunately!) and with their new machine comes a brand new entry in their (arguably) most popular series… Zelda, and the gaming media is going crazy for it!

Currently sitting with an astonishing ’98’ overall rating on Metacritic, it seems the professional game reviewers can’t get enough of Ninty’s magnum opus… with even the notorious, critically harsh gaming magazine, Edge giving it an incredible ‘100’ rating, that’s right… Edge!! 

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The Legend Of Zelda is an action RPG originally released on the Nintendo Famicom in 1986, designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. The series protagonist is a small elven boy named Link, who, at the start of virtually every game would be roused from slumber and tasked with saving Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule, from the evil shenanigans of chief antagonist, Ganon.

What makes Breath Of The Wild so different from it’s forebears though, is it’s abandoning of specific gaming tropes from previous iterations, the impressively vast world is entirely open to you from almost the get go, no slingshots, boomerangs or bombs holding you back from unlocking new areas, like earlier incarnations of the game. The physics are astounding, the graphics are gorgeous,with a rousing soundtrack and an infinite things to do, maybe this is the greatest game of all time.

Why not join us next time friends, for more Week In Geek…

Great British Comic Book Characters: Durham Red

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“Now… your blood would be a different story, I bet it’s dark, rich, full of iron… What do you say, care to indulge in a bit of… transfusion?”

Uh, maybe later Durham… Welcome fellow fans of fantastic fiction to another episode of “Great British Comic Book Characters” our occasional series that aims to acquaint you with some of the classic dramatis personae that originate from this tiny island known as the United Kingdom.

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Durham Red was originally conceived as a sidekick and possible love interest for 2000AD’s mutant bounty hunter Johnny Alpha, the character proved so popular to the fans that after Johnny’s untimely demise she was given starring role in the spin off series “Strontium Dogs”. Created by the astonishing alumni of John Wagner, Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra, Durham made her first appearance in prog #505 of 2000AD in 1987.

In the aftermath of a devastating nuclear war in 2150, that left over 70% of the British population wiped out, an increase of mutated births was prevalent due to high radiation fallout. As time progressed the mutants found themselves increasingly persecuted, facing a high degree of racism which included laws precluding them from owning businesses, sending their children to schools attended by “normal” humans and ultimately found themselves segregated from society and housed in ghettos, which included a giant mutant settlement established in the town of Milton Keynes.

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One of the very few jobs available to the mutants was that of a bounty hunter, known as Strontium Dogs, named after the Strontium 90 fallout and their distinctive search destroy (S/D) badges. These positions were deemed too dangerous for “normal” humans and were offered to the most dangerous and strongest of the mutant society. SD agents operated out of an orbiting space station known as the Doghouse, tasked with hunting down the galaxy’s very worst criminals.

Mutations in the 2000AD universe differ greatly from their other comic book counterparts, most mutants rather than being gifted with extraordinary gifts and powers (a la Marvel’s X-Men) were usually hideously malformed, but a few benefitted from non malformation and incredible physical and mental gifts. Durham Red is one such mutant, her mutation resembles that of the classic literary vampire, her body must intake a constant supply of blood to continue existence. But the gains ultimately outweigh her bloodlust in that, as long as Durham drinks the life giving plasma she is infused with super strength, lightning fast reflexes and near immortality, yet she shares none of the classical drawbacks of vampirism (inability to venture out in daylight, silver, garlic, etc).

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After spending decades hunting down the very worst the galaxy had to offer in it’s frontier planets, Durham grew weary of the constant cycle of death and devastation and voluntarily put herself into cryonic suspended animation, that lasted centuries.

She finally roused to a new order, a war had broken out between human and mutants and through the intervention of various alien races, a Pan-Species accord was reached, giving mutants the same rights of equality that “normal” humans held. Durham found that during her protracted slumber a cult had grown around her venerable legend, with her now known as the Saint of Mutants. The saint fanatic who awoke her, Judas Farrow, quickly found that the real item differed greatly to the legend that had been borne about her, but still found himself accompanying Durham on her many excursions in this new timeline. 

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Durham indirectly was the catalyst for the sterilisation of human kind after being betrayed by the mutant telepath The Offspring, who used Durham as a pawn to seek his revenge on human society. Durham filled with remorse for her part in this, retreated from the world, becoming feral, using her great gifts for survival only purposes.

A century passed before Durham was tracked down by one of her saint followers Godolkin, who needed her help in finally destroying the Offspring. After confronting Offspring in a distant section of space known as the Fracture, where time itself was ruptured, she realised that Offspring could not be killed by any normal means, so Durham dragged him down with her into a singularity, and within this space/time vortex Durham beheld many different instances of past and future selves.

Like most storylines barrelling out of 2000AD, Durham Red was a politically and racially charged tale of parochialism and intolerance, British comics have often moved along this paradigm, with the 1980’s giving birth to some of the greatest tales of fundamental liberalism and forbearance.

Durham Red lived for another millennia, adopting the identity of Empress Redwina and ultimately lived to see the time when the mutant race outnumbered their oppressive human norms.