'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 Eustace Fargo. The brothers graduated from the Academy of Law at the same time, with Rico actually achieving higher grades than Joe and being awarded the Eagle of Honour.
Within a year of graduation, Rico had become disillusioned with the justice system 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 murdered a citizen.
Joe Dredd arrested his brother for murder and corruption, striking his 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.
Twenty years later, Rico returned to Mega-City One to get revenge on his brother, challenging him to a gunfight, but twenty years of being accustomed to the weaker gravity on Titan had slowed his reflexes down and Joe Dredd shot him dead.
Appearances, Images, and QuotesEdit
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.