Who is Orlok? (spoiler free)

1912 O2aOrlok Agent of East-Meg One
New series starts in 2000AD Prog 1912
on sale 7th January 2015 in UK & Ireland
& Digitally worldwide same day/date
via 2000AD webshop & 2000AD iOS Ap

Orlok was created by
John Wagner, Alan Grant & Steve Dillon.

East-Meg One was a Russian version of Mega-City One. When the East-Meg Judges first appeared in Luna Olympics (Prog 50 February 1978) they were referred to as Sov-Cities Judges. East-Meg One was named individually in Battle of The Black Atlantic (Progs 128 to 129 September 1979). Depicted in both stories as exaggerated future versions of the USSR.

Orlok was introduced in Block Mania (Progs 236 to 244 December 1981) but who is he?

This article is marked ‘spoiler free’ as it gives no spoilers regarding Orlok’s new series starting in 2000AD Prog 1912. The image above is a panel from the first episode, There are however a few spoilers for earlier stories further down in this article, as most are from 2003 or earlier. All stories were published as Judge Dredd stories unless I identify them otherwise. Where stories are multi-part I have given the range of issues involved (2000AD unless otherwise stated) and the month the first episode was published.

You can read more about the new story by Arthur Wyatt and Jake Lynch here on 26th December 2014, including the first two pages of the story. 

His appearance in Block Mania (included in the Judge Dredd Mega Collection) instantly sets him up as a big villain. Not only for causing the start of Block Mania but also for killing Judge Giant (see Who is Judge Giant? for more detail), Dredd’s most trusted colleague at the time. He was captured and cubed so played no part in The Apocalypse War (well there was a cameo at the beginning).

Orlok is a master assassin, the best of the best that East-Meg had trained. He had no remorse and no compassion, having no regard to the value of anyone’s life. He was as dedicated to his city as Dredd is to his. With skills such as stealth, impersonation, unarmed and armed combat of all kinds he was a born and trained killing machine. He also possessed leadership qualities, strategic planning and a very strongly developed memory. Established, as I said earlier, as a villain of some standing in his first appearance he went on to cause quite some issues in the pages of 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine.

He returned to the pages of 2000AD in Anderson Psi Division: Hour of the Wolf (Progs 520 to 531 May 1987) with sleeper agents staging a rescue mission. He’d been held for six years in Iso-Block 41. Holding a master assassin in an Iso-Block may seem foolish but he had an awful lot of information in his head. The sleeper agents sidelined Anderson so that they could prevent her solving her cryptic premonition of the rescue.

Anderson Psi Division: Triad {Progs 635 to 644 May 1989) showed another plot from an East-Meg One group, this time using children of Mega-City One with Psi talents. Attacks from this group would continue of course right up to Day of Chaos. Anderson Psi Division: Childhoods End sees Anderson meet Orlok on Mars after she has suffered a mental breakdown making her unfit to be a Judge on the streets of Mega-City One, she lets Orlok go free to the annoyance of Dredd back on Earth. What happened in that story deeply affected Orlok and his uncaring edge was removed, now he cared for freedom of will and the lives of others were important to him, as seen in his actions in Anderson Psi Division: Postcards from the Edge (Judge Dredd Megazine 2.50 to 2.60 April; 1994).

Orlok returns to Earth in Return of the Assassin (Progs 1141 to 1147 April 1999) having lived peacefully in hiding off-world since he last saw Judge Anderson. Now he is returning to his old trade, his target was of course Judge Dredd. Anderson tries to stop him but fails and Orlok again is assisted by a sleeper agent. Capturing Dredd Orlok takes his enemy to face justice in The Trial (Progs 1148 to 1150 June 1999) when he hears the plans of the rulers of the East-Meg faction the true Orlok fully returns. The story continues in Trial of Strength (Progs 1151 to 1152 July 1999) Dredd prevails and attempts to execute Orlok. Chaos ensues and Orlok escapes, Anderson is aware Orlok lives but fails to tell Dredd. This chain of events shows the complex relationship between Orlok and Anderson in great detail.

East-Meg agents resurfaced in Sin City (Progs 1289 to 1299 May 2002) Sin City was an independent floating city in the Black Atlantic, a city built for pleasure and excitement. The plot was to release a plague on the pleasure island that tourists would take back to Mega-City One. The plot was foiled and Orlok finally captured again by Dredd.

Trial of Orlok (Progs 1336 to 1337 April 2003) was his final appearance in the regular Judge Dredd continuity, Dredd’s stories run inline with publication date, each story set 122 years in the future (It is December 2136 in Dredd’s current story as I write this article in December 2014). Put on trial for his actions Orlok is sentenced to death.

Orlok Agent of East-Meg One (2000AD SciFi Special 2014) brought us an untold tale of a much younger Orlok, set during the time of the Luna War (Prog 51 February 1978). His actions in this story sow the seeds for his involvement in Block Mania. With a continuing series now being announced we have three to four years of Orlok’s career to see before we reach where we started.

Orlok is a very complex and interesting character and I think Arthur Wyatt will give us a great series.

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