Judge Silver

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Judge Silver
Judge Silver.jpg
Chief Judge Silver (painted by Carlos Ezquerra)
Publication information
Publisher Rebellion Developments
First appearance 2000 AD prog 457 (1986)
Created by John Wagner, Alan Grant and Cliff Robinson
In-story information
Full name Thomas Silver

Chief Judge Thomas Silver was chief judge (2108 to 2112) of the fictional city of Mega-City One in the Judge Dredd comic strip.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Judge Silver
Chief Judge of Mega-City One
In office
2108–2112
Preceded by Judge McGruder
Succeeded by Judge McGruder

He began his career as a street judge, serving during the Atomic War and the Second American Civil War. To his later shame, in the early 2070s he was one of the many judges who agreed with Morton Judd's ideas of genetically altering the citizens to be more docile.[1] In 2096 he was wounded in action and compelled to retire from active service. He became principal lecturer in Applied Violence at the Academy of Law, teaching the next generation of Mega-City judges.[2] (While the strip never explicitly said so, as a tutor he would have been part of the Academy's resistance to the insane Chief Judge Cal, and later seen action when the Academy was attacked during the Apocalypse War.)

In 2108 Chief Judge McGruder resigned and left the city on the Long Walk. One of her final acts as chief judge was to appoint Silver to the Council of Five, the city's highest legislature. The Council unanimously chose Silver for the highest office.[2]

Silver quickly proved to be the most right-wing, hardline chief judge the city had ever seen. In 2111, when the corrupt "STAR Judges" military platoon committed an act of deliberate genocide against the Quayaan species, Silver had the team killed for their crimes and then hushed it up, deciding to exploit the situation: the team were 'martyrs', the Quayaan killed in a legitimate act of war, and the planet was rightful spoils of war. (Beforehand, Silver had been attempting a peace deal with the planet.)[3]

In 2109 he ordered a crack-down on the Democracy movement (a loose affiliation of organisations dedicated to democratic reform ever since the Justice Department usurped the elected government of the United States in 2070), putting Judge Dredd in personal charge of a secret campaign to smear the protest groups' leaders and to sabotage their efforts at peaceful demonstration. Undercover judges placed among the protesters turned a peaceful protest march into a violent riot, giving Dredd the excuse he needed to attack the march with riot squads and make mass arrests. Silver used the ensuing massacre as an example of the dangers of democracy and the need for the iron rule of the judges. Armed with this excuse to tighten control, he took every opportunity to do so.[4]

Dredd's own responsibility for the deaths at the march, and the clandestine—indeed corrupt—way in which the law had been enforced fed his doubts about the integrity of the system to which he had belonged since birth. When in 2112 a young boy was brutally murdered by a man who had been brain-damaged by a judge during the Democratic March, Dredd's reservations came to a head and he tendered his resignation and took the Long Walk himself.[5] Silver reacted by ordering a news blackout on Dredd's resignation, and covered it up by going so far as to replace Dredd with an imposter, Judge Kraken, a clone from the same DNA as Dredd.[6] Silver believed that Dredd had become such an important figure of law-enforcement in the public mind that his departure, if it became known, would incite an intolerable increase in crime. By taking this extreme course Silver overruled Dredd's own judgement on Kraken, as Dredd had assessed Kraken and determined that he was unfit to be a judge.

Silver's judgement proved to be fatal, as only weeks later Kraken's loyalty was turned against the city, precipitating a catastrophe which resulted in the whole city falling under enemy occupation with the loss of 60 million lives. (See main article Necropolis.) Silver despaired recovering the situation and fled the command centre in Mega-City One's darkest hour of need. He attempted to commit suicide but botched the job, and was captured alive. He was murdered by Judge Death and then reanimated as a zombie, but with all his mental faculties intact so that he could be tormented endlessly while his city was systematically extinguished of all life.[7]

So ended Silver's life, but not his undeath. When Dredd returned to rescue his city, Silver again fled and hid, fearing that in his undead state he would be summarily destroyed by the survivors of the disaster. Only when several months had passed did he dare to return to the city. On arriving once more in his Grand Hall of Justice in 2113, he discovered that in his absence his predecessor, McGruder, had reclaimed her office. He challenged her right to be chief judge, pointing out that she had resigned as chief judge whereas he had not. McGruder retorted that Silver was medically dead. However, since McGruder had dissolved the Council of Five there was no recognised authority with the power to decide the issue. The constitutional crisis was finally resolved when both litigants agreed to abide by Judge Dredd's verdict. Dredd actually ruled in Silver's favour, but then convicted him of gross dereliction of duty for deserting his command in time of war. Dredd executed Silver and McGruder became chief judge by default. Silver's incinerated remains were unceremoniously swept away by a cleaner, a truly ignoble end for a head of state.[8]

Silver's ghost, as yet unidentified, haunts the Grand Hall of Justice.[9]

In other media[edit]

Although a black man in the comic, in the 1995 Judge Dredd film Judge Silver was played by Angus MacInnes, a white actor.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Judge Dredd:
    • "Chief Judge Resigns," written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, art by Cliff Robinson, in 2000 AD #457 (1986)
    • "Silver's Iron Rule," written by John Wagner, art by Ron Smith, in the Daily Star 15 March 1986
    • "Judge Sponsors," written by John Wagner, art by Ron Smith, in the Daily Star 10 May 1986
    • "The Raggedy Man," written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, art by John Ridgway, in 2000 AD #525–526 (1987)
  • Anderson, Psi-Division:
    • "Hour of the Wolf," written by Alan Grant, art by Barry Kitson, in 2000 AD #520–531 (1987)
  • Judge Dredd:
    • "Revolution," written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, art by John Higgins, in 2000 AD #531–533 (1987)
    • "Crime of Passion," written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, art by Barry Kitson, Daily Star 14 September – 31 October 1987 (21 September episode only)
    • "The Return of Death Fist," written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, art by Barry Kitson, in 2000 AD #540–541 (1987)
    • "Last of the Bad Guys," written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, art by John Higgins, in Judge Dredd Annual 1988 (1987)
    • "Oz," written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, art on relevant episodes by Brendan McCarthy, Will Simpson, and Barry Kitson, in 2000 AD #545–570 (1987–88)
    • "The Hitman," written by John Wagner, art by Jim Baikie, in 2000 AD #571–573 (1988)
    • "Bloodline," written by John Wagner, art by Will Simpson, in 2000 AD #583–584 (1988)
    • "Bat Mugger," written by John Wagner, art by Alan Davis, in 2000 AD #585 (1988)
    • "The Menagerie," written by John Wagner and Alan Grant, art by Mike Collins, Daily Star 4 August 1988 – 29 October 1988
  • Anderson, Psi-Division:
    • "Beyond the Void," written by Alan Grant, art by Mick Austin, in 2000 AD #612–613 (1989)
    • "Triad," written by Alan Grant, art by Arthur Ranson, in 2000 AD #635–644 (1989)
  • Judge Hershey:
    • "True Brit," written by Alan Grant, art by Doug Braithwaite, in Judge Dredd Mega-Special #2 (1989)
  • The Dead Man, written by John Wagner, art by John Ridgway, in 2000 AD #650–662 (1989–90). Note: character appears only in a flashback.
  • Judge Dredd:
    • "Tale of the Dead Man," written by John Wagner, art by Will Simpson and Jeff Anderson, in 2000 AD #662–668 (1990)
    • "By Lethal Injection," written by John Wagner, art by Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #669–670 (1990)
    • "Rights of Succession," written by John Wagner, art by Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #671 (1990)
    • "Necropolis," written by John Wagner, art by Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #674–699 (1990)
    • "The Theatre of Death," written by John Wagner, art by Ron Smith, in 2000 AD #700–701 (1990)
  • Anderson, Psi-Division:
    • "Shamballa," written by Alan Grant, art by Arthur Ranson, in 2000 AD #700–711 (1990–91)
  • Judge Dredd:
    • "Return of the King," written by Garth Ennis, art by Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #733–735 (1991)

References[edit]

  • The A-Z of Judge Dredd: The Complete Encyclopedia from Aaron Aardvark to Zachary Zziiz (by Mike Butcher, St. Martin's Press, March 1995, ISBN 0-312-13733-8)
  1. ^ 2000 AD # 560: "Oz Part 15"
  2. ^ a b 2000 AD #457
  3. ^ "Maelstrom", Megazine 2.73-2.80
  4. ^ 2000 AD #531-533
  5. ^ 2000 AD #661 and 668
  6. ^ 2000 AD #668-671
  7. ^ 2000 AD #700-701
  8. ^ 2000 AD #733-735
  9. ^ 2000 AD #735

External links[edit]