Arms & Armour of the Superhero

Royal Armouries Heroes

Saturday 4th to Monday 6th May 2013

Royal Armouries, Leeds, FREE appropriate for all ages.

A chance to see a number of comic and film icons up close, including Judge Dredd, Ironman, Batman and characters from Star Wars.

I went on Saturday with my son and his fiance straight after visiting comic shops in Leeds for Free Comic Book Day. We went to see Ironman 3 afterwards to top off the day.

I’m a big fan of Judge Dredd as regular readers of the Blog will likely have noticed. I’m also a huge fan of Judge Minty, the popular fan film based on Judge Dredd and very loyal to the comic version. So when I heard that Steven Sterlacchini had lent costumes from the film to the Armouries I obviously had to go. Though to be honest I already had planned to go.

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I didn’t get a look at everything but I saw a certain metal plated fellow as soon as I arrived.

Cripes he was popular, he was almost constantly mobbed and getting cameras and phones thrust in his face. That said Ellis wanted a picture with him but didn’t want to stomp on little ones to get it.

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Eventually Ellis managed to get to meet her not quite favourite Avenger. Her favourite is Thor but she made do.

We kept it a secret from Ironman and as far as I know he isn’t a regular reader of this blog. Might hurt his feelings if he found out.

If it is any consolation to him he is my favourite. Him and Hulk. Not that I don’t like the others, wouldn’t want Widow to think I don’t like her…

Anyway. He was there and we saw him. Batman and Wolverine were there too but we didn’t see them anywhere. We wandered around and spotted a female Judge at a distance.

We then decided maybe we’d get a list of what was going on. We’ve been to the Royal Armouries plenty of times so knew where to get such lists…

List in hand we found out there was a shoot out due to take place between Dredd and Pa Angel. Outside in the amphitheatre. So it being dinnertime we went and ate dinner in the amphitheatre while we waited for the action.

Pa Angel arrived with a Judge in tow, I should have followed that lone female Judge earlier, I might have been able to save her. Now she was been dragged in front of a crowd, hands bound.

She was made to kneel at the edge of the amphitheatre, near the canal. She’d been disarmed and her helmet was gone. So she couldn’t call for help even if her radio did work out in the Cursed Earth (it wouldn’t by the way).

She’d been sent in to the Cursed Earth to capture or kill Pa Angel but he’d captured her. He had brought her in front of the crowd to execute her. No one tried to rescue her, I guess if he could capture a Judge there wasn’t much any of us could do about it. We didn’t even know for sure the rest of the Angel Gang weren’t around somewhere.

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Then Dredd arrived.

He isn’t that friendly but people were glad he’d turned up. It meant it wasn’t our problem now what happened to the lady Judge. I think the mood shift was pretty genuine.

Dredd easily made it through the crowd into the main area of the amphitheatre.

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His lawgiver wasn’t functioning and in a strange turn of events it seems Pa Angel wanted a fair fight. He set a gun on the ground and backed away, allowing Dredd to pick up the gun.

Of course Pa wasn’t playing it straight and he shot before Dredd could get the gun. He fired several times and Dredd was wounded but only slightly.

Dredd kept coming and Pa Angel drew a third gun and fired wildly as Dredd closed on him. Dredd’s wounds were clearly lighter than we’d first feared.

The captured Judge looks on, she has confidence in her colleague. He is after all Judge Dredd, clone of the Father of Justice, Judge Eustace Fargo.

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Dredd reached Pa Angel and first nuetralised his gun hand. A struggle ensued and fists flew. But now the fight was clearly in favour of the tough lawman.

Pa Angel is tough for certain but Dredd was born for this. Dredd trained for this in the harshest school on Earth, the Academy of Law.

So Dredd triumphed and rescued the captured Judge. Who in turn picked up a discarded gun to finish off Pa Angel as he rose up again behind Dredd.

Dredd gave a speech to the assembled crowd about his first appearance in 2000AD and that unlike other heroes he’d aged in line with passing years. The crowd duly applauded. All was well with the situation.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the display, I certainly did. It’s taken a long time but finally Dredd seems to be getting the recognition it deserves. A National museum putting on a Dredd display. Epic.

From this I went to see an interactive talk on drawing superheroes, the artist was Peter Doherty, a Judge Dredd artist. I was happy. I’ve seen Peter before at Thought Bubble. He runs comic creator panels like a man herding cats.

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I drew a few pictures. Ellis and Saul insulted my drawings. When I showed them to Peter he insulted them too. This is why I write a blog not draw one. I can’t even always manage to take a photo with heads in it, I have even managed to take a photo of myself instead of the subject.

I did however get Peter’s autograph on my Free Comic Book Day 2000AD Prog! Saul gave his away to a chap we met there who had missed out on getting one.

A great day all round. I did take in some of the other more regular features of the Royal Armouries but that’s not for this article. Also I’m going to review Ironman 3 so I won’t mention that in detail.

I missed a look at some of the weapons they had in the Armouries for this event so I decided to call again on Sunday 5th.

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Wouldn’t you know it I spotted Pa Angel in the distance when I was sat in the amphitheatre. Death can be a hindrance to the Angel Gang but they have a history of getting round that.

He came in empty handed this time, no unfortunate Judge in tow. Which is good, we don’t meed too many unfortunate Judges in a weekend.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

He was just as mouthy, if anything he was mouthier. This time he was threatening the crowd. Thought at one point he was going to start picking off some hecklers. Seems he knew Dredd was still in the vicinity and he was lying in wait for him.

This crowd was a bit more fiesty, they might even have tried to rescue any captured Judge, probably not…

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Dredd arrived and there was a challenge. The challenge led to an unfair gun fight. The gunfight was followed by fist fighting. And again Dredd was victorious.

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Pa Angel being Pa Angel he wasn’t about to stay down and he got up twice to make two final attempts. Dredd was alerted both times by dutiful ‘Behind You!’s.

All in a day’s work.

You know I wouldn’t be too surprised if anyone that heads to Royal Armouries in Leeds on Monday might just happen along an amphitheatre with a crowd gathering around 13:00… If they sit a while, maybe eat a sandwich, ole Pa Angel might happen by…

I didn’t send you if you go…

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