Space Corps (comics)

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The Space Corps of 2000 AD's Judge Dredd strip are professional armies which deal with conflicts and peacekeeping away from Earth.

Mega-City One's Space Corps are the main group shown and have appeared in several stories, most notably Judge Dredd: Mandroid[1] and its sequel,[2] Warzone,[3] spinoff The Corps, and Debris.[4] They are unlicensed to act against citizens in Mega-City One (Chaos Day riots being the rare exception)[5] and the strategic interests of the city come above the interests of individual colonies, who may be abandoned to alien attack.[6]

Foreign Space Corps have been mentioned and shown: Sino-Cit in "The Corps" (who have an alliance and co-administered forts with the Klegg Empire) and Latin American and "Asian Union conscripts" in Warzone,[7] the latter involving an international coalition.

The idea of offworld soldiers had been mentioned in 1980s strips but the concept was first named and fleshed out by Garth Ennis in 1994, as "the Corps", "the military arm of Mega-City 1's Justice Dept".[8] This was written at the request of editor Alan McKenzie, who wanted a war story featuring space Judges; Ennis lost interest after the strip was partially rewritten by an uncredited figure.[9] As The Corps has the characters trying to undermine the Sino-Cit/Klegg alliance, it may have been part of McKenzie's push for a storyline (later dropped) where Mega-City One and Sino-Cit would go to war.[10] Coincidentally, The Corps came out at the same time as a long-delayed,[11] similar strip called Maelstrom, which featured another team of similarly-armoured soldiers called "STAR Judges" and also had art by Colin MacNeil. Both strips had their military forces established as Judges - the Corps' Special Squads were pulled out of the Academy of Law at ages 3–6 after showing abnormal levels of violence, and trained solely to kill.[12]

In the later, post-McKenzie stories under John Wagner (renaming them "Space Corps" and ignoring the STAR Judges) and Michael Carroll, the organisation are not Judges but instead drafted from the civilian population. Military veteran characters would be presented as former Space Corps soldiers.

They have been primarily shown fighting alien menaces off-world, starting with the Klegg Empire in "The Corps". Warzone showed them being used as an occupying force on a space colony to prevent it gaining independence, constantly fighting against local insurgent groups: the troops nicknamed this "the Forgotten War", as nobody wanted to know about Space Corps fighting humans.

When Space Corps soldiers are severely wounded, they will sometimes be turned into cyborgs: nicknamed "Mandroids", they are highly powerful and designed solely for combat.

Dredd's clone Dolman joined the Space Corps in 2126.

After Day of Chaos, Space Corps soldiers were recalled to Mega-City One to make up for the amount of dead Judges. However, in their first mission they tried to airstrike a dissident city block and were forced by Dolman to call it off.[13] When news of this got out, the citizens no longer trusted or respected the Corps - and under judicial command, they were forced to hold back on lethal force. The Corps openly saw the Judges as weak.[14]

In 2135, they fought a sixteen-week war against the alien Xhind, with most engagements being fleet battles. They were forced to work with colony insurrectionists to have a chance against the Xhind on land. (After the rebels had broken the Zhind, the Special Judicial Squad's space fleet turned and massacred them.)[15] The following April, a crack team of marines was sent under Dredd's command to Titan; during planning, Chief Judge Hershey remarked that the city no longer had the ability to send large forces[16] and Aimee Nixon taunted Hershey that the bulk of their space forces were tied up with Luther's insurgency.


  1. ^ 2000 AD #1453-1464
  2. ^ 2000 AD #1555-1566
  3. ^ Megazine #240-3
  4. ^ #1792-6
  5. ^ Prog 1779
  6. ^ Judge Dredd Megazine #334: "Insurrection III Part 1"
  7. ^ #240, "Warzone" page 2
  8. ^ Prog 919, "The Corps Part 2"
  9. ^ Thrill-Power Overload! by David Bishop (page 178)
  10. ^ Thrill-Power Overload! by David Bishop (page 164)
  11. ^ Megazine #239: "15 Years, Creep! Part 4": the strip had waited a year "for the right artist"
  12. ^ Prog 919, "The Corps Part 2"
  13. ^ Prog 1793-6
  14. ^ Prog 1801-2
  15. ^ Judge Dredd Megazine #340-2: "Insurrection III"
  16. ^ Prog 1863: "Titan Part One"