Judge Dredd: Caligula 2100.
(AfroGamers.com) So, Judge Dredd has been around for years. A little over 41 years, actually. The series has seen a number stories in that time and the greatest judge of Mega-City One has been through a lot and seen a lot. One of those big stories in the first few years of the series was The Day the Law Died. This 1978 story was something that sprang from a hierarchy-shaking event and spiraled into the rise of one of the worse Chief Judges in Mega-City One history:
Originally a Deputy Chief Judge, Judge Cal wasn’t in his position for long at just a year. Prior to that, he served as head of the Special Judicial Squad—basically the Internal Affairs of the Justice Department. Tasked with keeping the judges honest, Judge Cal aspired for more power and the coveted Chief Judge position.
He made his way up the ranks via blackmail and forcing some Judges to become his hitmen. Rivals and allies were either kept in line or found themselves with a bit of permanent misfortune. Eventually, Cal became Deputy Chief. He was within distance of his goal. All he needed was to get rid of Judge Goodman. Luckily, he had some support in the way of Judges who had since become corrupted.
When Judge Cal made his move, it was already a wrap for Judge Goodman. Prior to this, his mind had been taken over, the Robot Wars had seen the population of Mega-City One take a hit, and there was uncertainty of Judge Dredd’s return from the Cursed Earth. While Dredd did return, it all took a toll on the man. This made him easy pickings for Cal who enacted a plan to have Dredd arrested for the killing of a civilian.
Dredd was sent to jail on Titan but managed to get free and clear himself. Revealing it was a robot made to look like the lawman. Since the information the robot used came from within the Department, the hunt for the man who set Dredd up was on. The whole time that Dredd was away, Chief Judge Goodman fell apart allowing for Cal to go forward with taking over. He would go on to have the mayor of Mega-City One imprisoned, Dredd shot, and Goodman killed.
Even though Dredd would recover—because Dredd never loses and he’s never out for too long—Cal was able to go on with his plans for Mega-City One. While he was a corrupt official who wanted power for himself, he was also an authoritarian and put the city in a state of martial law. He was also able to brainwash the majority of the judges to not question him.
The power went to Cal’s head and he became insane to the point his goldfish was appointed to his old position and is now Deputy Chief Judge Fish. At his side were two judges, one of which Cal eventually betrayed when they questioned his sanity. There was a group of citizens who banded together to fight against Cal’s reign but they were crushed by the reptile alien Kleggs that the Chief Judge brought in. As punishment, Cal had citizens executed in alphabetical order.
As expected, some citizens decided to flee the city when it was gathered that Cal was totally gone. This meant they would’ve taken their chances in the Cursed Earth. Unfortunately, the Chief Judge forced them to stay and build the wall that would keep them in. When Dredd recovered, he set about taking the fight to Cal with the help of a few almost retired judges, protege Judge Giant and his own mentor Judge Griffin.
In heading underground, he enlisted the help of the criminal Fergee. Knowing that Dredd was coming for him, Cal enlisted the help of Kleggs. The final dance for Chief Judge Cal came when he was planning to destroy Mega-City One in attempt to freeze his reign at the height of perfection—at least he felt it was a perfect reign. Dredd’s forces managed to defeat the Kleggs but were captured by Cal’s forces.
As it often happens, whenever there seems to be no way out for Dredd, he always survives thanks to some improbable shot or an ally. In this case, Fergee came through and killed Chief Judge Cal by throwing him to his death and preventing the plot.
Pull or Pass
Dredd was once again given all the kudos and it was expected that he’d become Chief Judge. He instead nominated Chief Griffin in his place, wanting to remain where the action is. Which is great, because without Dredd Mega-City One would’ve continued to lose more of its population. I mean, we’re talking over 40 years of stories and this city just gets the rough end of disasters and the like.
So is this one pull-worthy or could you pass it and read it if you come across it? It’s definitely pull-worthy purely for the peak insanity and chaos wreaked by Judge Cal. You expect Judge Dredd to pull a victory out but you’re really wondering how long will it take and how much more will Cal amp up the chaos before he does.
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.