Friday, February 22, 2013

Big Finish - Get Karter!

This was the seventh Big Finish 2000AD release. Get Karter! from October 2002, written by David Bishop and directed by John Ainsworth.

Judge Dredd is heading for Brit-Cit on a revenge trip, after crime boss Harry Karter sent the assassin Erebus to murder Mega-City One's toughest lawman. A precog said Dredd would cause problems for Karter in the future - now Dredd wants to make that prophecy come true! And Judge Amy Steel is going with him, with her own score to settle with Karter, he's her step-father and she suspects him of murdering her real father.

David Bishop has a better grip on Dredd's character and this a much better story than my recent encounters with Dreddline and I Love Judge Dredd. The title is an obvious nod the the classic Michael Caine movie and there's even a short parody of the fantastic theme tune from that film. In keeping with its source this has a hard edged, noir feel to it. Dredd has to team up with a British Detective Judge called Armitage who has appeared in the Megazine, and as a plain clothes detective he gets to wear the archetypal private eye's trenchcoat. Meanwhile Amy Steel is investigating her past and trying to discover who actually shot her father. It's a voyage of discovery with a major impact on her character. Sadly this is the last story she appears in which is a shame. The episodes where she acted as on our way into the stories worked best for me.

Keeping this story serious and dark produces terrific results. There is a lot of humour in the comic strips but it is very difficult to get that humour into a radio play without descending into campiness  Playing it straight works much better and this is the best Dredd story I have listened to since Death Trap.

Longworth, Buckfield and Trevor Littledale as Armitage are all very good, as is Steven Wickham as the Brit-Cit crime boss Karter. The production is great and I was pleased to find the first CD extras for a 2000AD story with an episode called "Big Finish Talks Back" at the end. I was delighted to learn that Toby Longworth has been reading 2000AD since Prog 1.

This is a 4 star story that is right up there with Death Trap and the two Strontium Dog stories featuring Simon Pegg. 4 out of 5 green elbow pads to the chest for Get Karter!

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