I always thought it was weird that, even though Dredd make such a big deal about Judge Lopez having a moustache, Ron felt compelled to put a dashing little Erroll Flynn 'tache on every other Judge he drew...
... and himself
. I suppose that's the difference between a situation where Dredd's one of 60,000 (?) judges in a city of 800 million people and when he's isolated on a ship with two other people, with nothing outside but the vast empty lawlessness of space. Most stories which depict those kind of voyages (The Odyssey
, The Searchers
, Mutiny on the Bounty
) present them as explorations of their characters too, setting them against each other and testing their endurance and resolve to their limits in an effort to get at the heart of what they really
are when pushed to their limits and reduced to their essence.
It'd be a stretch to argue that The Judge Child
is a deep psychological study of Dredd, but it does demonstrate something really fundamental about the character, that he's incredibly twitchy about even the slightest sign of self-regard, regarding that as an indication of corruption or dereliction of duty (an after effect of Rico), and that he is fundamentally a bully. Even as recently as stories like Uncle Ump's Umpty Candy
(145) it was possible to understand Dredd as a harsh but fair figure, but the Lopez incident demonstrated that when there are no citizens around upon whom Dredd can take out his fierce self-loathing, and the only other authority is a green judge like Hershey who's unable to challenge Dredd's authority, he's an absolute prick.
The fact that Hershey's still around, and has developed into the kind of figure who can cast that incident up to make Dredd aware of both his current and his present failings, is one of the joys of reading this strip. It's clear that incident played a key role in shaping both Hershey's understanding of Dredd and her own idea of the kind of judge/Chief Judge she wanted to be.