Rico is a character from the 2000 AD strip Judge Dredd. 'Born' from a tube full of bubbling liquid in 2066, with a physical and mental age of five years, Rico was the big brother of Judge Joe Dredd (older than him by twelve minutes), and like Joe was a clone of Chief Judge Fargo created by Morton Judd. For most of their childhood and youth the pair were the closest of friends, protecting and relying on each other. Joe claimed that his brother's personality changed for the worse after he received a head injury and radiation poisoning while they were both training in the Cursed Earth — Joe was in danger and Rico tried to save him, but fell into a pit full of irradiated material, fracturing his skull. Following this, according to Joe, Rico's behaviour became more violent and competitive. Joe didn't say anything because he felt responsible for the accident that had altered Rico's character. Despite this alarming change, Rico actually achieved higher grades than Joe when they graduated from the Academy of Law in 2079, and was awarded the Eagle of Honour.
Within a year of graduation, Rico had become disillusioned with the justice system. He started getting drunk in the middle of the afternoon and entered an illicit relationship with a citizen (something totally forbidden) who subsequently had a daughter, Vienna, by him. (NB: Accounts of Vienna's conception vary. One story has it that she was conceived when Rico had sex in his prison cell with a journalist, Fabienne Brown, who visited him on Titan.) He also began accepting bribes and demanding protection money, and eventually fatally shot a citizen who couldn't pay him.
Joe Dredd, who was present when Rico murdered the citizen, arrested his brother, charging straight towards him and knocking him out with a single punch as Rico repeatedly fired and missed. Joe's theory was that Rico subconsciously wanted Joe to kill him because he realised he had become a venal, corrupt monster, and that he missed Dredd deliberately because he was unable to kill his own clone (see quotes). Joe personally painted out Rico's name from the honour roll for the class of '79 in the Academy of Law, and Rico was sentenced to twenty years on the Judges' penal colony on Titan. As part of his sentence, he was surgically altered to be able to work in a vacuum, and his nose and mouth permanently sealed up, leaving him speaking through an artificial voice box and taking nourishment intravenously. These modifications were apparently not reversible.
After serving his sentence, Rico returned to Mega-City One to get revenge on his brother, challenging him to a gunfight. However, two decades of being accustomed to the weaker gravity on Titan had slowed his reflexes down and Joe Dredd shot him dead.
Powers and abilities
AbilitiesFinding and arresting perps; running protection rackets.
Strength levelHuman male weakened by lower gravity of Titan.
Alcohol, sex and money.
EquipmentAccessory pouch containing three heat seeker shells; helmet containing internal visor display (including infra-red) and respirator; uniform made from plasti-steel reinforced material.
Transportation(Formerly) Lawmaster bike; spaceships.
- Though Rico first appeared in 2000 AD prog 30 in 1977, the story was retold in 1995 (progs 950 to 952) to tie in with Rico's appearance in the Judge Dredd movie (in which he was played by Armand Assante). The retelling fleshed out the dialogue to focus on Rico's contempt for the 'unjust' laws of Mega-City One, and Dredd's inner hurt at what he had done to his brother. However, this caused a minor continuity error: Dredd mentioned thinking about Rico during the Cursed Earth saga, but that did not take place until progs 61-85, after Rico returned and was killed in prog 30.
- Before being arrested, Rico lived in a luxhab in John Gotti block. John Gotti was a notorious twentieth-century gangster from New York.
In a parallel universe, Rico Dredd "out-drew his hated brother, and keeps him frozen in the vaults, and wakes him up one day each year — and takes another pound of flesh." This parallel version of Rico visited Mega-City One via dimension warp (in the Garth Ennis story 'Helter Skelter'). Dredd threw his badge so hard at him that it became wedged in his head. The alt-Rico died when it was removed.
- Appearances of Rico
- Character Gallery: Rico
- Images that feature Rico
- Fan-Art Gallery: Rico
- Rico quotations
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