Judge Buell

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Judge Buell
Judge Buell (Judge Dredd character).jpg
Painted by Carlos Ezquerra
Publication information
Publisher IPC Media (Fleetway) to 1999, thereafter Rebellion Developments
First appearance 2000 AD #970 (1995)
Created by John Wagner
Carlos Ezquerra
In-story information
Full name Arthur Buell

Judge Arthur Buell is a fictional character in the Judge Dredd comic strip in British comic 2000 AD.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Buell first appeared in the comic as an ordinary street judge in the story "The Pit" (1995).[1] He had been sent to Sector 301, a dumping-ground for Judges who would otherwise be suspended from the force, and, as a result, one of the most violent areas of Mega-City One.[2]

Judge Dredd took over the running of Sector 301 in order to root out corruption within the local judges. For this, he set up a special anti-corruption unit outside the Special Judicial Squad, the judges' Internal Affairs division (since the local SJS judges were themselves suspect). Judge Galen DeMarco was to lead the squad and insisted on having Buell and his partner Garcia on her team. At the time, Dredd did not really trust Buell, since his methods of law enforcement were somewhat unorthodox and Dredd suspected him of using excessive force in arrests. He only agreed when DeMarco insisted that Buell be appointed or she would have nothing to do with the investigation.

Buell himself had originally loathed the idea of having to investigate his fellow judges, but quickly came around once he realised the depths that they had sunk to. When DeMarco was suspended from duty when found to be having an affair with a fellow judge (which was against regulations), Dredd put Buell in charge of the investigation. His enthusiasm and effectiveness persuaded Dredd to re-evaluate his original impression of Buell, and he formed a belated respect for his abilities. When Dredd's mission was complete and the task force disbanded, he promoted Buell to local head of SJS in Sector 301.[3]

Buell excelled in his new role, and quickly won the confidence of his superiors. When in 2122 Judge Niles stepped down as overall head of SJS he nominated Buell to succeed him, and Chief Judge Hershey readily agreed.[4] The following year Buell was appointed to the Council of Five, the city's highest government body, on which he served for eight years (2123–2131).[5] He lost his position when Chief Judge Francisco replaced Hershey.

Buell's long standing deputy at SJS was Judge Garcia. She partnered with him on the streets when they were regular street judges, often covering for him when his outbursts could lead to trouble. When Judge Dredd promoted him to head of SJS at 301, Garcia became Buell's deputy.[6] She was probably the closest Buell had to a friend both before and after his appointment to the SJS. Naturally she became deputy head of SJS for the city on his next promotion.[7]

Buell and Garcia's most notable action was to arrest Acting Chief Judge Sinfield on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.[8] When Sinfield was convicted and removed from office, Buell was reappointed to the Council of Five by Chief Judge Francisco (2132).[9]

In 2133-34, in the story Day of Chaos, the Judges were plagued by Soviet double-agents in their own ranks: this was one of the factors that stopped them from preventing the "chaos bug" epidemic. During the crisis, Buell and his judges were in charge of protecting power plants; Garcia was killed on Chaos Day itself.[10] Francisco resigned and Buell attempted to refuse to accept his resignation, but relented when Francisco pointed out that after failing to prevent the deaths of 350 million citizens he was no longer fit to hold office.[11]

Buell remained part of Hershey's interim council, but his reputation was damaged by the rogue Judges that he had failed to detect.[12] Buell was also used as a pawn in a heist plan by Lenny Zero: his sleep machine's subliminal reinforcement chip was altered, so he would put Judge Kramer in charge of a convoy (allowing Zero's heist to destroy her career).[13]

During Hershey's reorganisation of Justice Department, the Special Judicial Squad became part of the new Undercover Operations Division. Buell remained as head of SJS, but was not put in charge of the new division, as Hershey felt that Buell had failed and needed to concentrate on repairing the SJS. Buell was left despondent but did not defend himself.[14] He became worried that Judge Bachmann, his new boss, was plotting to grab power and could become the next Chief Judge. When the acting-head of Wally Squad was killed and confidential information lost, Buell went to Dredd: he hoped they could find the information before he had to tell Bachmann and give her an excuse to 'reorganise'.[15]

Bachmann's attempted coup was stopped and in 2136, Buell was seen as still on the Council. It was he who proposed the murder of whistleblower Max Blixen to set an example.[16] This episode, published in 2014, is Buell's most recent appearance as of May 2017. In December 2015 he was shown to have been replaced on the Council by another SJS judge[17] (who was subsequently named as Judge Waldron[18]). What happened to Buell, and whether Waldron is head of the SJS, are not known.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2000 AD #970
  2. ^ 2000 AD #963
  3. ^ 2000 AD #991
  4. ^ 2000 AD #1178
  5. ^ 2000 AD #1271 and #1649
  6. ^ 2000 AD #991
  7. ^ 2000 AD #1178
  8. ^ 2000 AD #1692
  9. ^ 2000 AD #1693
  10. ^ 2000 AD #1789
  11. ^ 2000 AD #1789
  12. ^ 2000 AD #1803
  13. ^ 2000 AD #1794, "Zero's 7"
  14. ^ 2000 AD #1803
  15. ^ 2000 AD #1806
  16. ^ 2000 AD #1878
  17. ^ Judge Dredd Megazine #367
  18. ^ 2000 AD #1976

Bibliography[edit]

  • "The Pit," 2000 AD #970–999 (1995–96)
  • "The Cal Legacy," 2000 AD #1178–1179 (2000)
  • "Driving Desire," 2000 AD #1271 (2001)
  • "Total War," 2000 AD #1408–1419 (2004)
  • "Under New Management," 2000 AD #1649 (2009)
  • "Tour of Duty: Mega-City Justice," 2000 AD #1687–1693 (2010)
  • "Day of Chaos," 2000 AD #1743–1789 (2012)
  • "The Cold Deck," 2000 AD #1806–1811 (2012)
  • "Mega-City Confidential," 2000 AD #1874–1878 (2014) (last episode only)
Preceded by
Judge Niles
Head of SJS
2122–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent