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Giant AIRSTRIKE

Judge Giant was one of Dredd's earliest partners, the son of Harlem Heroes athlete John 'Giant' Clay and father of Judge Giant, Jnr.

He was created by John Wagner and Ian Gibson.


Biography[]

Giant was born in 2079. His father wanted something better for him than playing aeroball as he had and inducted him into the Academy of Law.[1] In his youth, he picked up the contemporary 2090s' retro-jive slang.[2]

Giant graduates

Giant's graduation

At age 20, underwent his assessment for 'full eagle' with Joseph Dredd. It was a grueling test of his judgment and abilities, and the nervous Giant fouled up by failing to detain a futsie and then giving them the wrong sentence. However, before he could be failed, they intervened in a kidnapping case and Giant was given a last chance. Tackling the criminals at the Heroes' old stadium and using a jetpack like his father, Giant was able to take out the kidnappers and save the child; Dredd then pretended he was going to execute the remaining criminals, passing Giant when the cadet stopped him at gunpoint.

He received full Judge status by Chief Judge Clarence Goodman and then informed his father he would not be home to celebrate, as he had work to do - Dredd noted to the aging Clay that he had lost his son but they'd gained a fine Judge.[3]

Giant assisted Dredd on several cases over the next two years, including corrupt trillionare Hugh Howards and the Mega-City 5000 where Giant took down the biker Spikes Harvey Rotten close to the finishing line. He would mildly irk the older Judge by nicknaming him "J.D." or "J.D. Baby" in line with retro-jive.

During the reign of the insane Chief Judge Cal, Giant avoided brainwashing and was able to save Dredd's life by pretending he wanted to execute his old assessor. Giant then got Dredd away safely and became a key member of the anti-Cal resistance, alongside his old tutors Judge Griffin and Judge Pepper. During the brutal street fighting, he was stunned by the violence and said it was worse than the Robot Wars. [4]

Unknown to Dredd, Giant had secretly started an unjudicial relationship with citizen Adele Dormer. The two had Judge Giant, Jnr., a son, who would also be called Giant.[5]

Giant rode out with Dredd on a hotdog run to find and kill Cursed Earth marauders in 2104. Cadets noted his standards would almost be as hard as Dredd's. During this run, he fought the Gila Munja and gave a two-gun funeral salute for the slain Cadet Leeson. On the way back, Giant teased him that passing two cadets out of eight survivors was "not bad for you, J.D." [6]

Orlok kills Giant

On the eve of the Apocalypse War in 2104, Judge Giant was investigating a murderer called Eugene Farady when the Block Mania hit and he was diverted to block wars. [7] Days into the chaos, he intercepted the East-Meg One assassin Orlok. He was about to arrest him when he was distracted by the agent's satellat, and Orlok shot him in the back. Dredd arrived to find Giant's corpse cold on the ground.[8]

Giant's son was found in a post-war displacement camp and inducted into the Academy when Justice Department learned who he was. Dredd was disappointed to learn the senior Giant had had the affair; he also wondered if this was why the man had died, part of his mind being focused on surviving for his family.

Years later, when Dredd was crucified by Jonni Kiss, he hallucinated Giant and Dekker saying that it was fatal to be friends with him.

During the Helter Skelter crisis of 2123, a version of Giant arrived where he'd genuinely executed Dredd for Cal. While briefly confused, Dredd swiftly realised this couldn't be the Giant he knew, for that one could never have grown old - and shot the doppleganger down, saying it was because Giant was "too slow".

In the 2140s, Dredd randomly encountered an elderly Faraday and remembered Giant's last case. The wheels of justice ground into motion and Faraday was arrested for his crimes by Giant Jnr.[9]

Trivia[]

  • The unheroic circumstances of Giant's death - killed abruptly in a cliffhanger - and Dredd barely having time to react to it was a shock for the fans and controversial for years. In an interview years later, writer Alan Grant said: "When we wrote the death of Giant, I thought it was a great idea to kill him off in such a casual, natural (for a judge) way. But when the reader outcry came, I was startled and forced to see things from their point of view."[10]
  • Harlem Heroes ran in progs (issues) 1–27 of 2000AD, with Judge Giant appearing in prog 27 and his now-elderly father appearing in prog 28. the comic. Since Judge Dredd himself did not appear in 2000 AD until prog 2, the Giant family's appearance in the comic predates Dredd's debut in his own strip.
  • Giant was part of the first inter-strip crossover within 2000AD, and remains one of the most significant as he confirms Harlem Heroes as part of Dredd's backstory.

References[]

  1. Prog 28
  2. Koan by Al Ewing, retconning his dialogue
  3. Academy of Law, progs 27 to 28
  4. The Day The Law Died
  5. Young Giant, backstory
  6. Hot Dog Run
  7. Prog 2169
  8. Block Mania
  9. Prog 2169
  10. Alan Grant interview from January 2005 (archive copy)
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