In the comic strip, the cities of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States had become so polluted that by the end of the twenty-first century they were simply sealed over with concrete, and a new city was built on top. This city was to be named Mega-City One, whilst the remains of the old city below became known as "the Undercity". (Tempest established that a few significant buildings were moved to the Mega-City for the tourists)
Important Undercity stories
The Undercity is inhabited by various mutants and criminals (or perps as they are known in the comic), and has featured in several Judge Dredd stories. These always involve confrontations with the inhabitants (often blind and sometimes mutated), as well as travel to some remarkably well-preserved locations that would still be familiar to present-day inhabitants of the region.
The Day the Law Died
Cry of the Werewolf
In the aftermath of the Apocalypse War, while the city is getting back on its feet, a crack in Norman Pitlik block opens. This cleft extends deep below the city allowing a number of strange creatures to the surface – werewolves.
The judges manage to defeat them but it turns out one of the werewolves is Judge Bram, who had taken the Long Walk. An infected Judge Korkoran also transformed before being subdued by a headbutt from Dredd. With these subjects to work on Tech Judge Cassidy discovers a radioactive compound that is causing the changes, which he names Cassidium.
McGruder orders Dredd to track down the source and neutralise it and so he descends into East Undercity (old New York). He makes it to below Norman Pitlik block and then follows the werewolf tracks to Broadway where he loses the trail. At which point he stumbles across a mob of robots riding an old steam train with an albino werewolf tied to the front.
The beast is the leader of the werewolf pack and in a fight with the robots it gets free. This allows Dredd to track the creature back to the others in Central Park. It is here that he finds the source of the Cassidium. He neutralises it but has to fight his way out and is bitten by the white werewolf. As Dredd's transformation starts he uses his lawmaster to summon the other werewolves to a trap over a rad pit.
He kills the last of the werewolves but only in the nick of time as he is transformed. Judge Prager turns up and spots that the beast is Dredd at the last moment. He uses Stumm gas to subdue him and carries him to the gates of the Undercity. Delivering his cargo he turns around and heads straight back down into Undercity again.
Judges Dredd, Anderson, McGruder and a small band of cadet judges use the Big Smelly river (previously the Ohio River) to travel beneath the city in order to avoid and fight back against the Sisters of Death
Out of the Undercity
Over a decade after “Cry of the Werewolf” a battered figure bangs on the gates to the Undercity. As he has a badge they open the door to find Judge Prager who collapses (showing the signs of 20 years below the city). He is taken to a hospital and offered a special dispensation so he can return to the surface. He rejects this and seems intent on getting some more ammunition and returning underground. However, the full moon rises and it is clear he has also become infected and is a werewolf himself.
He escapes and returns to the Undercity with Dredd in pursuit. Following the sound of drums Dredd discovers the real threat that Prager had come to warn them about. In the old White House, Bones has raised an army of Trogs that he will unleash on the city. With the help of the lupine Prager, Dredd scatters the poor excuse for an army. As he makes his escape Bones threatens "I'll be back -- an' next time I'll turn their damned city into a killing ground" (prog 1316). What this threat is becomes clear 6 issues later.
Prager's lycanthropy appears to be a different strain, as it is brought on only by the full moon, but he declines the offer to see if it can be cured: "real big buzz once a month, I can tell you." (prog 1316) So, with a change of uniform (he takes Dredd's) and all Dredd's spare ammo, he returns to his beat under the city.
Judge Dredd vs. Aliens
Mr Bones returned as promised bringing Xenomorph into Mega-City One. The hive is grown out of sight in the Undercity right below the Grand Hall of Justice and his plan is to use explosives to blow a hole big enough to flood the centre of justice with aliens.
Dredd and Judge Karyn of Psi Division led a rescue mission that ran into the supernatural Shadow King and his vampire, leading to Karyn being possessed (and possibly having her mind destroyed) by the monster.
The Tempest spinoff strip by Al Ewing takes place primarily in the Undercity. Ninja crime lord Tempest, the secret criminal overlord of Mega-City One, fled to the Undercity after The Doomsday Scenario, and has spent the strips attempting to regain wealth or to dominate the Undercity. In the first Tempest, a rogue bomb-droid turned zealot named Mes-1-A tried to turn the Undercity into a mechanical paradise, killing troggies and turning them into cyborgs.
- Judge Dredd:
- "Cry of the Werewolf" (by John Wagner/Alan Grant and Steve Dillon, in 2000 AD #322-328, 1983)
- "Out of the Undercity" (by John Wagner and Carl Critchlow, in 2000 AD #1313-1316, 2003)
- Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Incubus (with writers John Wagner and Andy Diggle and artist Henry Flint, in 2000 AD #1332-1335, 2003, tpb, 104 pages, Rebellion Developments, 2003, ISBN 1-904265-10-3, Dark Horse, 2004, ISBN 1-56971-983-7)
- "Descent" (by Gordon Rennie and Boo Cook, 2000 AD #1432-1436, 2005)