Judge Dredd (character)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Lawgiver (Judge Dredd))
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Judge Dredd
Dredd Apocalypse War.jpg
Illustration by Carlos Ezquerra
Publication information
IPC Media (Fleetway)
Rebellion Developments
First appearance2000 AD no. 2 (5 March 1977)
Created by
In-story information
Full nameJoseph Dredd
Team affiliations
Notable aliasesThe Dead Man
  • Excellent marksman
  • Expert in unarmed combat
  • Bionic eyes grant 20/20 night vision and reduced blinking rate[1]

Judge Joseph Dredd is a fictional character created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra. He first appeared in the second issue of 2000 AD (1977), which is a British weekly anthology comic. He is the magazine's longest-running character. He also appears in a number of film and video game adaptations.

Judge Dredd is a law enforcement and judicial officer in the dystopian future city of Mega-City One, which covers most of the east coast of North America. He is a "street judge", empowered to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals.

In Great Britain, the character of Dredd and his name are sometimes invoked in discussions of police states, authoritarianism, and the rule of law.[2] Over the years Judge Dredd has been hailed as one of the best satires of American and British culture with an uncanny trend to predict upcoming events such as rampant mass surveillance, rise of populist leaders, and the COVID-19 pandemic.[3] In 2011, IGN ranked Judge Dredd 35th among the top 100 comic book heroes of all time.[4]

Judge Dredd made his live-action debut in 1995 in Judge Dredd, portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. Later, he was portrayed by Karl Urban in the 2012 adaptation Dredd. In audio dramas by Big Finish Productions, Dredd is voiced by Toby Longworth.

Character and appearance[edit]

Judge Dredd from his first published story, as drawn by Mike McMahon in 1977. The character's appearance has remained essentially unchanged since, except for a more prominent jawline.

Joseph Dredd is the most famous of the Street Judges that patrol Mega-City One, empowered to instantly convict, sentence, and sometimes execute offenders. Dredd is armed with a "Lawgiver", a pistol programmed to recognise only his palm-print and capable of firing six types of ammunition, a daystick, a boot knife and stun or gas grenades. His helmet obscures his face, except for his mouth and jaw. He rides a large "Lawmaster" motorcycle equipped with machine-guns, a powerful laser cannon, and full artificial intelligence capable of responding to orders from the Judge and operating itself.

Dredd's entire face is never shown in the strip. This began as an unofficial guideline, but soon became a rule.[5] As John Wagner explained: "It sums up the facelessness of justice − justice has no soul. So it isn't necessary for readers to see Dredd's face, and I don't want you to".[6]

On rare occasions, Dredd's face has been seen in flashbacks to his childhood; but these pictures lack detail.[7] In an early story, Dredd is forced to remove his helmet and the other characters react as if he is disfigured, but his face was covered by a faux censorship sticker.[8] In prog 52, during Dredd's tenure on the Lunar Colonies, he uses a 'face-change' machine to impersonate the crooked lawyer of a gang of bank robbers.[9]

In Carlos Ezquerra's original design, Dredd had large lips, "to put a mystery as to his racial background".[10] Not all of the artists who worked on the strip were told of this. Mike McMahon drew Dredd as a black man, while Brian Bolland and Ron Smith drew him as white. The strip was not yet printed in colour, and this went unnoticed. The idea was dropped.[when?][11]

Time passes in the Judge Dredd strip in real time, so as a year passes in life, a year passes in the comic. The first Dredd story, published in 1977, was set in 2099, whilst stories published in 2021 are set in 2143. Consequently, as former editor Alan McKenzie explains, "every year that goes by Dredd gets a year older – unlike Spider-Man, who has been a university student for the past twenty-five years!".[12] Therefore, Dredd was 38 when he first appeared, but is now 82 years old, with 64 years of active service (2079–2143), and for almost 30 years Dredd's age and fitness for duty were recurring plot points (in prog 1595 (2008), Dredd was diagnosed with benign cancer of the duodenum).

How Dredd's aging would be addressed was a source of reader speculation until 2016, when writer Michael Carroll and artist Ben Willsher published the story "Carousel",[13] in which Dredd is ordered to undertake rejuvenation treatment. Regarding the possible death of the character, in an interview with Empire in 2012 Wagner said: "There could be many ways to end it, but the probability is that I won't still be around when it happens! I would love to write it, but I can't see it happening. I'll leave the script in my will".[14]


The Lawgiver is a fictional weapon used by the Judges including Judge Dredd. The Lawgiver is a self-loading handgun featuring manual and automatic focusing and targeting, plus a built in computer capable of controlling its operation. It fires a range of speciality ammunition. An in-line gunsight shows the view directly down the barrel. A Lawgiver can only be operated by its designated Judge owner, whose palm print is programmed into the gun's memory. Any attempt by a non-designated user to fire a Lawgiver causes the weapon to self-destruct (a feature introduced by writer Malcolm Shaw).[15]

An earlier weapon appeared in the Origins storyline. Though little was known about the gun itself, it was capable of firing standard and armour-piercing rounds.

The gun has a maximum range of up to three miles and has six distinct settings:[16]

  • Standard execution - A standard bullet, with identical effects to normal kinetic energy projectile weapons.
  • Heat Seeker or Hot Shot - A standard bullet propelled by the unstable element, 'Argon 88 b'. Heatseeker rounds lock onto the target's heat source, enabling the Judge to target fleeing perps, accurately fire in low-light situations and so forth.
  • Ricochet - A metal bullet coated with rubber. Ricochet rounds can bounce off solid surfaces while retaining enough kinetic energy to penetrate flesh. This enables the Judge to, for example, kill a perp that is using a human shield, bouncing their shot off a back wall and hitting the target from behind.
  • Incendiary - Capable of setting its target on fire. Less widely used due to practicalities of incinerating targets in built-up city areas, although useful against unconventional adversaries such as Judge Death.
  • Armour Piercing - Armour-piercing rounds are extremely dense and contain a more powerful charge for higher muzzle velocity. Useful against cybernetic criminals and armoured opponents. When used against humans, it can travel through multiple targets.
  • High-Explosive (HI-EX) - A round containing an amount of extremely concentrated high explosive. Judges must employ caution when using this extremely dangerous round; the blast caused by the exploding bullets can just as easily harm those firing as well as the target. Generally used rarely; against crowding attackers or large/dangerous foes.

Fictional character biography[edit]

In 2066, Joseph Dredd and his older (by twelve minutes) "brother" Rico Dredd are cloned from the DNA of Chief Judge Fargo, the founder of the Judge System, who was said to have died in the line of duty years before.[17] Their growth is artificially accelerated in gestation so they are "born" with the physiological and mental development of a 5-year-old child, with appropriate knowledge and training already implanted in their brains.[18] The last name "Dredd" is chosen by the genetic scientist who created them, Morton Judd, to "instill fear in the population."[18]

In 2070, the corrupt President Robert Linus Booth starts World War III, also known as the Atomic Wars, and the Judges move to restore order to the panic-stricken public. Cadets Joe Dredd and Rico Dredd are temporarily made full judges to help restore order under the supervision of Judge Kinnison, despite being physically and mentally only nine years old. They make their first kills stopping a rape gang but are unable to prevent Kinnison's death in action.[19] During the war, they discover their clone-father Eustace Fargo is still alive, hidden by higher ranking judges. Seeing them as kin, Fargo recruits Joe and Rico to be his temporary bodyguards. He openly tells them his doubts regarding about the Justice Department, wondering if the system has taken away "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" while trying to instill strict order and control. Three weeks later, Fargo is placed in suspended animation and the Dredd brothers return to the Academy. After the Battle of Armageddon in 2071, President "Bad Bob" Booth is captured, tried for war crimes, and sentenced to suspended animation. In the wake of World War III, the office of the President is retired and the Judges now have full control over what's left of America.

Distinguishing themselves, the Dredds are fast-tracked through the Academy of Law. Rico graduates at the top of their class in 2079, with Joseph graduating second. Joe's final assessment is done under the supervision of Judge Morphy, who is impressed with the young man and passes him. Joe later discovers Rico has embraced corruption, engaging in multiple crimes including murder, justifying his actions by saying Judges are thugs and killers by nature. Rico asks Joe to help him cover his crimes, but Joe arrests his brother instead, sentencing him to 20 years of labor on the penal colony on Saturn's moon Titan (a typical punishment for corrupt Judges). Joe Dredd continues operating as a judge, quickly gaining a reputation throughout the city as a formidable and incorruptible law enforcement agent. In 2099, Rico Dredd returns to Earth after serving his 20-year sentence. He comes after Joe for revenge, challenging him to a fast draw. No longer used to Earth's gravity, Rico loses and Joe shoots him dead in self-defence. Visibly upset, Joe insists he be the one to carry his brother's body away.[20]

Over the decades, Joe Dredd becomes a major force protecting Mega-City One and is sometimes the biggest catalyst in preventing its destruction. Offered the opportunity to become Chief Judge in 2101, Dredd declines, preferring to serve on the streets enforcing the law, though he does temporarily serve in other senior positions.[21] In "Tour of Duty", Dredd is appointed to the Council of Five, Mega-City One's highest governing body below the Chief Judge,[22] on which he serves for two years (2132 to 2134).[23] On several occasions, he saves his city from conquest or destruction by powerful enemies, and in 2114 he saves the entire world during the Fourth World War.[24]

In 2107, Dredd loses his eyes in combat during the story City of the Damned. He has them replaced with bionic eyes that granted him night-vision. In 2112, he suffers near-fatal wounds when a battle leads him to fall into a lake of acidic chemicals, burning his entire body. Later on, he undergoes rejuvenation treatment, healing him and added more vitality than a man his age would normally have. In 2130, Dredd is diagnosed with cancer of the duodenum, though it was benign.[25] In 2138, at 72 years old, Dredd undergoes another "rejuve" treatment after being ordered to. It is specified that his entire epidermis, vascular, and muscular tissue are rebuilt on a cellular level, once again restoring some lost youth and vitality. He turns down an offer for a full treatment that would rebuild his internal organs and skeleton.

Although Dredd holds his duty above every other priority, this devotion is not blind. On two occasions (in "The Robot Wars" and "Tale of the Dead Man"), Dredd resigns from the force on principle, but both times he later returns, believing the Judge System while imperfect and vulnerable to corruption is the best protection that currently exists for people.[26] In 2113, Dredd insists the Justice Department gamble its existence on a referendum to prove its legitimacy.[27] In 2116, he risks 20 years imprisonment with hard labour when he challenges the policy of a Chief Judge.[28] In 2129, Dredd threatens to resign if the Chief Judge doesn't change the city's harsh anti-mutant apartheid laws.[29]

In 2129 (2000 AD #1535), Dredd is present when his clone-father Eustace Fargo is revived from cryogenic suspension only to die later the same day. Before Fargo dies, he calls for Dredd to be at his side and admits his conclusion that the Judge system was a mistake that killed the American Dream, that it was meant to fix things but not last forever. Since Joe and Rico Dredd are his blood, Eustace hopes they will fix his mistakes, implying they should replace the Judge System with something else (he was unaware Rico Dredd had gone renegade and later died at Joe's hand). After Eustace Fargo dies, Dredd decides not to share the man's final words.

In more recent years, Dredd has met other Fargo clones such as Kraken and Nimrod, and a rogue clone of himself called DRƎDD.[citation needed] He has also developed a family of sorts with the introduction of two younger clones of his own named Judge Dolman and Judge Rico (no first name). Dredd also discovered his older brother Rico Dredd fathered a daughter, Vienna Dredd, who now looks on Joe as an uncle.


Dredd's first stories take place in the year 2099, 122 years after its publication date in 1977. His regular stories are generally set 122 years after their real-world publication date unless otherwise stated as a flashback or prequel story.

The setting of Judge Dredd is a dystopian future Earth damaged by a series of international conflicts; much of the planet has become radioactive wasteland, and so populations have aggregated in enormous conurbations known as 'mega-cities'.[30] The story is centred on the megalopolis of Mega-City One, on the east coast of North America. Within Mega-City One, extensive automation (including intelligent robots) has rendered the majority of the population unemployed.[31] As a consequence, the general population is prone to embracing any fashion or craze they encounter.[32] Mega-City One is surrounded by the inhospitable "Cursed Earth".[33] Much of the remaining world's geography is somewhat vague, although other mega-cities are visited in the strip.

Mega-City One's population lives in gigantic towers known as City Blocks, each holding some 50,000 people.[34] Each is named after some historical person or TV character, usually for comic effect. For example, Joe Dredd used to live in the Rowdy Yates Block – Rowdy Yates was a character in the American TV cowboy drama Rawhide, played by a young Clint Eastwood. Eastwood would later play the lead in Dirty Harry – one of the thematic influences by which Judge Dredd was inspired. A number of stories feature rivalries between different blocks,[35] on many occasions breaking into full-scale gun battles between them[36] (such as in the story "Block Mania").[37] The story Origins revealed that Mega-City One was formed by urban sprawl rather than deliberate design, and by 2051 it was recognised as the world's first mega-city. The Judges' powers reflect the difficulty of maintaining order. Mega-City One extends from Boston to Charlotte; but extended into Florida before the Apocalypse War laid waste to the southern sectors.[38] At its height, the city contained a population of about 800 million; after the Apocalypse War, it was halved to 400 million. Following Chaos Day in 2134, the city was reduced to 50 million. However, immigration quickly increased the population to 72 million by 2137.[39]

There are four other major population centres in Dredd's Northern America: the first is Texas City, including several of the southern former United States and based on Wild West manners.[40] South of the city is Mex-City. Far north is Uranium City. Canada, now called Canadia, remains a nation with scattered communities. Mega-City Two once existed on the West Coast, but was destroyed in 2114 during the world war known as Judgement Day.[41] Nuclear deserts and destruction elsewhere in the world are also extensive: much of the North Atlantic is severely polluted, and is now known as the "Black Atlantic".[42] An underwater settlement known as Atlantis exists in the Atlantic, half-way along a tunnel from Mega-City One to Brit-Cit (England).[43]

Nuclear desert also stretches across western Europe. The British Isles are Brit-Cit, Cal-Hab (Scotland), and Murphyville in Ireland.[44] The continent has Euro-City (eastern France and part of Germany), Ciudad España (eastern Spain), the Ruhr and Berlin Conurbs in Germany, Vatican City, and a scattering of other city-states. Russia's East-Meg One was destroyed by Dredd at the climax of the Apocalypse War in 2104.[45] Further east is East-Meg Two,[46] which has other territories under the "Sov Block" banner. Mongolia, lacking a Mega-City or Judge system, has called itself the Mongolian Free State and criminals have flocked there for a safe haven; East-Meg Two performed vicious clearances there in 2125.[citation needed]

Compared to North America and Europe, South America is shown to be in much better condition. Large fertile farmlands still exist and feed many cities worldwide, as do jungles and a variety of wild life. The main population centres are the highly corrupt cities of Ciudad Barranquilla in Argentina and Pan-Andes Conurb in the Andes on the Bolivian and Peruvian borders. Formerly two other cities existed, South-Am City and Brasilia, both of which were annihilated on Judgement Day.

In Asia, separated from East-Meg Two by an extensive nuclear desert, are Sino-City One (destroyed during Judgement Day) and Sino-City Two in eastern China, with Hong Tong built in the remains of Hong Kong. Hondo City lies on the remains of the islands of Japan.[47] Nu-Delhi (previously Indo-Cit and Delhi-City) is in southern India. Surrounding Sino-City 2 is the Radlands of Ji, a nuclear desert containing outlaw gangs and martial arts schools.[48] In the Pacific, cities survive in southeastern Australia or "Oz" (the Sydney-Melbourne Conurbation), the Solomon Islands (Solomon City), Tonga (Friendly City), and the New Pacific City; New Zealand is said to exist as well. All of Indonesia's islands are now linked by a network of mutant coral called "The Web", described as a lawless hotbed of crime, although a city called Djakarta did exist there at one point but was lost on Judgement Day.

The Middle East is without many major cities, being either nuclear or natural deserts, and only the mega-city of Luxor, Egypt has survived; the Mediterranean coast is heavily damaged by mutagens. In Africa much of the south is nuclear desert and a 'Great African Dustbowl' has formed in the northwest; but a large number of nation states have survived, whereof Simba City (Gabon), New Jerusalem (Ethiopia), Zambian Metropolitan, and Dar es Salaam are the largest cities. Nuclear fallout and pollution appear to have missed Antarctica and the Arctic, allowing one mega-city (Antarctic City) to be constructed there.

The high levels of pollution have created instances of mutation in humans and animals. The mega-cities largely operate on a system of genetic apartheid, making expulsion from the cities the worst punishment possible.[49] Mega-City One ended apartheid in the 2130s, but encourages mutants to move to Cursed Earth townships instead of remaining in the city.

Earth's moon has been colonised, with a series of large domes forming Luna City;[50] another colony, Puerto Luminae, exists but is lawless.[citation needed] In addition, many deep space colonies have been established. Some are loyal to various mega-cities, while many are independent states, and others still face violent insurgencies to gain independence. The multi-national Space Corps battles both insurgencies and external alien threats. The newly discovered planet 'Hestia' (which orbits the Sun at 90 degrees to Earth's orbit) has a colony; there are some references to colonies on Mars; Saturn's moon Titan has a judicial penal colony;[51] and Mega-City One is known to have deep space missile silos on Pluto.[52]

The paranormal is both common and often openly visible and so is accepted by both civilians and Judges. Ghosts, demons, ancient gods and two different creatures both claiming to be Satan have appeared in Mega-City One, with the Grand Hall itself known to be haunted by a disgraced former Chief Judge. Magic is real and has been practiced by some criminals. Psi-Divisions worldwide tend to be the main defence against such threats.

The Judge system[edit]

Street Judges act as police, judge, jury, and executioner. Capital punishment in Mega-City One is rarely used,[53] though deaths while resisting arrest are commonplace. Numerous writers have used the Judge System to satirize contemporary politics.

Judges, once appointed, can be broadly characterised as "Street Judges" (who patrol the city), and administrative, or office-based Judges. Dredd was once offered the job of Chief Judge; but refused it.[54] The incorruptibility of the Judges is supposedly maintained by the Special Judicial Squad (SJS), although SJS Judges have themselves broken the law on occasion, most notably SJS head Judge Cal who killed the Chief Judge and usurped his office for himself.[55] The Judge System has spread world-wide, with various super-cities possessing similar methods of law enforcement. As such this political model has become the most common form of government on Earth, with only a few small areas practicing civilian rule. There is an international "Judicial Charter" which countries and city states join upon instituting a Judge System.[56]

Family and associates[edit]

  • Judge Rico Dredd. Judge Joe Dredd's older "brother," also cloned from Chief Judge Eustace Fargo and initially superior to him in physical skills. Soon after Joseph and Rico Dredd became Judges, Rico became corrupt. Joe arrests him and sentences him to twenty years on the penal colony on Saturn's moon Titan. Twenty years later, Rico seeks revenge, and Joe kills him in self-defense.[20]
  • Vienna. The daughter of Rico Dredd and a journalist who visited him on Titan. Dredd considers her his niece and goes out of his way to help her on occasion.[57]
  • Judge Rico. A clone created directly from Joe Dredd's own DNA, identical to him but decades younger. Rather than adopt the same last name as Joe Dredd, this clone decides to redeem the name of Joe's late, corrupt older brother and so becomes Judge Rico with no first name. Judge Rico eventually inherits Joe Dredd's old apartment at Rowdy Yates Block.[58]
  • Judge Anderson. For years, Dredd had a close but uneasy friendship with Cassandra Anderson of Psi-Division, which came to an end when Anderson briefly abandoned the law. After she returned to duty, Dredd initially denied their friendship, but re-affirmed it after she was injured while saving the city. Dredd has great respect for Anderson's abilities and trusts her often with his life, but sometimes finds her flippant attitude and playful jokes annoying.[59]
  • Judge Hershey. Dredd has known Chief Judge Hershey since 2102. Like all Chief Judges since Goodman, Dredd had easy access to her, but they also have a personal relationship based on mutual respect. While they have had differences at times, Dredd believed her to be "the best Chief Judge we've ever had".[60] After Hershey became terminally ill, she hid her illness from Dredd and all others but requested him to be at her side when she chose to be euthanised. Her death was faked so she could leave the city to search for rogue spies who may hold a cure, but Dredd does not appear to be aware of this.
  • Dolman. Another clone grown from Joe Dredd's DNA, but years younger. Formerly a trainee judge and member of the MC1 Space Corps. Has undergone face changing procedures to hide his heritage and so bears no resemblance to Dredd or Rico, and Vienna is the only person outside the Justice Department who knows his true identity.
  • Judge Beeny. Dredd's protégée since 2007. On Dredd's recommendation, Hershey appointed her to the Council of Five.[61]
  • Walter the Wobot and Maria. Dredd used to rent his Rowdy Yates Block apartment from Maria, a landlady with a thick, stereotypical Italian accent. After helping the Judges fight a robot revolution, a former vending machine robot called Walter the Wobot became the city's first free robot and moved in with Dredd, acting as his cook and housekeeper out of love. After several years, Dredd parts company with both Walter and Maria. Walter starts a business, then briefly goes rogue and starts his own robot revolution, leading Dredd and the second Judge Giant to arrest him. Dredd later assigns Walter a probation sentence of community service as house robot and caretaker of Mrs. Gunderson.[62]
  • Mrs. Gunderson. A sweet-natured widow living in Sylvia Plath Block in a large apartment with multiple bedrooms that she often rents. Following the "Necropolis" affair, the supernatural alien Judge Death rented a room from her, using the name "Jay De'Ath." Mrs. Gunderson was unaware of Judge Death's true nature due to the fact she is partially deaf and nearly blind, and he spared her after concluding she was the one truly innocent soul he had met. After Judge Death decides to challenge the Judges directly and no longer hide, Judge Dredd meets Mrs. Gunderson. He meets her again when it is discovered that one of her rented bedrooms is now haunted by a journalist Judge Death murdered. To ensure she can make money from the room, Judge Dredd helps Mrs. Gunderson contact a ghost-hunting group willing to rent it for their own purposes. Dredd later assigns his former house robot turned criminal Walter the Wobot to serve a probation sentence as Mrs. Gunderson's caretaker and housekeeper. Dredd visits the apartment again when Judge Death returns on the 12th anniversary of his defeat at Necropolis in the audio drama Judge Dredd: Death Trap.
  • Galen DeMarco. A Judge infatuated with Dredd. This breach of regulations led her to resign from the Justice System and become a private investigator. Dredd first tried to help her adjust to civilian life but she severed contact when he again rejected her advances.[63]
  • Fargo clan. A town occupied by the mutated descendants of Ephram Fargo, the twin brother of Chief Judge Eustace Fargo. These mutants, who share the common mutation of an overly large, exaggerated chin, are relatives of Judge Dredd himself, and consider him a "cousin". This led to Dredd campaigning to have Mega-City One's mutant segregation laws repealed.[64]
  • Judge Morphy. Dredd's mentor at the beginning of his career. The two maintained a respect and appreciation for each other over the years, arguably making him one of Dredd's only friends. The same day he told Dredd he would retire from street duty soon and hoped to become a teacher, Morphy was killed in the line of duty.[65]
  • Judge Logan. Dredd's assistant for a number of years, later promoted to sector house chief.[66] Dredd encourages Logan to become Chief Judge when Hershey resigns. His public endorsement is instrumental in Logan attaining that office.[67]
  • Judge Giant Senior. Dredd's first cadet trainee, introduced during Dredd's first year of stories. Having graduated from the Academy of Law, he is assigned to Dredd for final field assessment. After testing if he will stand up even to other judges when they break the law or codes of conduct, Dredd is satisfied and approves Giant. Giant then bid his family goodbye, saying he needed to focus all his energy on enforcing the law. Giant was a recurring character for years and saves Dredd from execution when Mega-City One is temporarily controlled by the insane Chief Judge Cal. Judge Giant Sr. is shot in the back and killed in the line of duty during the "Block Mania" story (1981) while trying to arrest Orlok, just before the Apocalypse War.
  • Judge Giant Junior. The 1989 story "Young Giant"[68] establishes Judge Giant fathered a child in 2101 before his death, despite judges being prohibited from marrying and/or creating families. Orphaned when his mother was murdered in front of him shortly after the Apocalypse War in 2104, Giant's son "Junior" is inducted into the Academy of Law. Years later, the ten-year-old Cadet Giant is supervised on a field test by Judge Dredd, who notes the cadet performs extremely well but has unresolved rage regarding the murder of his mother. With Dredd's help, Giant Jr. brings in his mother's killer according to proper protocol rather than simply hunting the man down and executing him. Giant Jr. spends the next several years as a cadet, helping Dredd on different occasions such as during the "Necropolis" affair and "Judgement Day." Five years after his introduction, Giant Junior's final assessment is conducted by Judge Dredd and he becomes a Street Judge in 2116, the youngest to do so at age 15.[69]
  • Judge Dekker. Dredd's second cadet trainee, first appearing in "Super Bowl" (in 2000 AD #370–371, 1984). Dekker quickly proves her worth and becomes a Judge after Dredd's assessment. The two fought alongside each other several times after she became a full Judge, and Dredd considered her his best cadet trainee. She died during the 1992 story "Judgement Day."
  • Judge Kraken. Another clone of Chief Judge Fargo, decades younger than Joe Dredd but otherwise identical in appearance and similar in skill. Kraken was created by Morton Judd, the geneticist who cloned and named Joe and Rico Dredd. Kraken was one of the Judda, clones subservient to Judd. After Judd's defeat, Kraken is groomed to one day succeed Dredd and trained to become a Judge, though Dredd believes he isn't mentally fit. When Dredd first temporarily quits, Chief Judge Silver makes Kraken a Judge and has him impersonate Dredd so others won't know that one of Mega-City's greatest lost faith in the system. Kraken is then manipulated and corrupted by the Dark Judges, forced to help them temporarily turn Mega-City One into Necropolis, leading to the deaths of 60 million. After the Dark Judges are defeated, Kraken's mind is free and he peacefully accepts execution by Dredd.
  • Cadet Jessica Paris. A recent addition to the family – a clone of Joe Dredd grown without SRY, making her a woman as a result. Has only made a single appearance in the comic to date in which she was shown as being heavily pregnant and the decision on what to do with her and the child being left ambiguous.[70]
  • Judge Steel. Introduced in the 2002 Big Finish Productions audio drama Judge Dredd: Wanted: Dredd or Alive, Steel was another cadet trained by Dredd who became a trusted ally. Born in Brit-Cit, 5-year-old Amy Steel joined the Judge Academy after the murder of her father, quickly transferring to Mega-City One. On her 18th birthday, she was assigned to Dredd for final assessment. Although she ignored certain orders and protocols, Dredd believed in her and said he was honored to ride with her. Dredd and Steel worked alongside each other in more audio dramas, including against Judge Death. After uncovering information about her past, she left the Judges in the audio drama Judge Dredd: Get Karter! Steel gave Dredd her badge, indicating she might return.

Recurring adversaries[edit]

Dredd's adversaries generally don't return in sequels, since they are usually killed or sentenced to long terms of incarceration. However, a few notable villains have returned in multiple stories, and some later got their own spin-off series.

  • The Dark Judges are a group of undead judges from another dimension, who believe that since all crime is committed by the living, life itself should be a crime. Usually four in number, their leader Judge Death may be said to be Dredd's arch-enemy. Death was first introduced to the series in 1980 and has featured in many stories since, in Judge Dredd and in his own series.
  • Orlok the Assassin was a secret agent from East-Meg One, the Russian counterpart to Mega-City One. He killed millions of innocent citizens with a chemical weapon.
  • Mean Machine Angel was a psychopath from the Cursed Earth around Texas. He had a cybernetic arm and head, and preferred to kill people by head-butting them to death. Generally used as comic relief.
  • PJ Maybe was a serial killer who murdered his first victim at the age of only 12. He evaded detection several times, and claimed thousands of victims, including a mayor and a deputy mayor of Mega-City One, over a criminal career lasting three decades.
  • Judge Jura Edgar was a serious adversary of Dredd even before he discovered that she was a criminal. A high-ranking judge (the head of the Public Surveillance Unit), Edgar clashed with Dredd several times, and sometimes got the better of him: a very rare example of an opponent Dredd couldn't simply arrest or kill.


  1. ^ 2000 AD #406
  2. ^ Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor (22 September 2005). "'Judge Dredd' powers for police urged". Telegraph.co.uk.
  3. ^ Judge Dredd Foreshadowed Our Covid Reality, by Graeme McMillan, at wired.com, 23 April 2020.
  4. ^ IGN website
  5. ^ Jarman & Acton, pp. 74–75.
  6. ^ Jarman & Acton p. 75
  7. ^ 2000 AD #30 and 1187
  8. ^ Jarman & Acton, pp. 56 and 74.
  9. ^ "The Face Change Crimes" in 2000 AD #52 (18/2/1978), written by John Wagner, with art by Brian Bolland. Page 14.
  10. ^ Jarman & Acton, p. 22.
  11. ^ Jarman & Acton, pp. 89–90.
  12. ^ Jarman & Acton, p. 112.
  13. ^ Judge Dredd Megazine #375.
  14. ^ "Exclusive: John Wagner And Alex Garland Talk Dredd". empireonline.com.
  15. ^ "The Wreath Murders," in 2000 AD #24, 6 August 1977
  16. ^ O'Brien, Daniel. "SF:UK: how British science fiction changed the world," Reynolds & Hearn, 2000
  17. ^ "A Case for Treatment," in 2000 AD #389
  18. ^ a b "Origins," in 2000 AD #1515
  19. ^ 2000 AD #1517
  20. ^ a b "The Return of Rico," in 2000 AD #30
  21. ^ "The Day the Law Died," in 2000 AD #108
  22. ^ "Tour of Duty," 2000 AD #1693
  23. ^ "Day of Chaos," 2000 AD #1789
  24. ^ "Judgement Day," in 2000 AD #786–799
  25. ^ "The Edgar Case," 2000 AD #1595
  26. ^ "Robot Wars," 2000 AD #11; "Tale of the Dead Man," 2000 AD #668
  27. ^ "Nightmares," 2000 AD #706
  28. ^ "Prologue," Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 2 #57
  29. ^ "The Spirit of Christmas," 2000 AD #2008 (a December 2007 New Year issue)
  30. ^ 2000 AD #4
  31. ^ 2000 AD #9
  32. ^ 2000 AD #290
  33. ^ 2000 AD #4 and 61
  34. ^ 2000 AD #117 and 118
  35. ^ 2000 AD #489
  36. ^ 2000 AD #182
  37. ^ 2000 AD #236–244
  38. ^ 2000 AD #245–270
  39. ^ Judge Dredd Megazine #365
  40. ^ 2000 AD #160–161
  41. ^ Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 2 #7
  42. ^ 2000 AD #128–129
  43. ^ 2000 AD #485
  44. ^ 2000 AD #727–732
  45. ^ 2000 AD #266–267
  46. ^ 2000 AD #270
  47. ^ 2000 AD #608–611
  48. ^ 2000 AD #451
  49. ^ 2000 AD #160
  50. ^ 2000 AD #42
  51. ^ 2000 AD #30
  52. ^ 2000 AD #771
  53. ^ 2000 AD #261, 630, 1337, and Batman/Judge Dredd: Die Laughing #1-2 (1998)
  54. ^ 2000 AD #108
  55. ^ 2000 AD #89
  56. ^ 2000 AD #727 and 804
  57. ^ 2000 AD #116 and #1300
  58. ^ 2000 AD #1186–88, #1280
  59. ^ Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 3 #1–7
  60. ^ 2000 AD #1632
  61. ^ Judge Dredd Magazine #367
  62. ^ 2000 AD #60 and 288
  63. ^ 2000 AD #1101–1110, 1167; Megazine vol. 3 #52–59
  64. ^ 2000 AD #1511–1512, #1542–48, #2008
  65. ^ 2000 AD #387, 662–668, 775
  66. ^ 2000 AD #2115
  67. ^ 2000 AD #2117–2118
  68. ^ Judge Dredd: "Young Giant" (by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #651–655, 1989)
  69. ^ Judge Dredd: "Giant" (by John Wagner and Ian Gibson, in Judge Dredd Megazine vol. 2 no. 50-52, 1994)
  70. ^ The Forsaken 2000 AD #1830–1835, reprinted in Judge Dredd – Day Of Chaos: Fallout