Thursday, July 25, 2024

Judge Dredd vs. Judge Death: Round 1.

December 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Comics, News, TV/Film/Movies

( It’s been a while since we actually looked at some stories from Judge Dredd. While enjoying 2000 A.D, I like to check out the previous stories. Unlike the major American publishers’ best monthly offerings, Britain’s best weekly offering has a long-running story where previous cases often feed into current stories. One such case is the Judge Death three-parter.

We’re going to look at the original appearance of Judge Death from January 1980. This extremely short read—just about the length of a single full-length issue—would be the birth of Judge Dredd’s greatest foe.

Also, this story introduces another Judge Dredd regular character in Psi-Judge Cassandra Anderson. While it’s short, it’s one of those Dredd stories that would be a landmark decades later.

Judge Dredd vs. Judge Death

This comic starts off with a criminal escaping only to run into Judge Death. This ghoul—he’s a literal corpse—dressed as a judge is able to kill by reaching his hand into the victim’s chest. I’m guessing he either touches their heart or crushes it but the method is usually the same.

There is a very brief investigation into finding Judge Death. Very brief. On one hand, this is 2100 or 2101 and the judges have crime-fighting technology that would be useful in 2020. However, on the other hand the investigation is so brief that in this part of the century it would be considered rushed. One might even say that it would grounds for a mistrial.

Of course, that’s just 2000 A.D. Anthology comics tend to be much shorter each issue, plus this is an action-oriented sci-fi/fantasy comic—from the late 1970s. As comic book writing goes on, stories become more detailed and involved. There is a focus on telling multiple characters’ stories and how they relate to main arc.

2000 A.D has done that since the late 1980s-early 1990s while keeping that 1960s storytelling progression. It’s sped up and story arc parts run for multiple programs or issues now.

So, the Mega City-1 judges are having a bit of trouble finding this guy. They found a piece of flesh from Judge Death and are bewildered by its age. There’s a call about a mass murder at a club and the judges head in to find Judge Death there. In the club killing, Judge Death explains that he cannot be killed.

Dredd manages to defeat his body by burning it with an inflammatory bullet but the spirit of Judge Death escapes.

Enter Judge Anderson

The judges take the skeleton of Judge Death to the Psi-Ops department. This is our first introduction to Judge Anderson, a judge with psychic abilities. As Judge Dredd goes on, she is one of most seasoned judges and become an even more powerful psi-judge. Anderson links with the skeleton which still has a link to Judge Death.

Once she is possessed by Judge Death, she serves as a medium for him to speak. He says that he comes from another dimension where life is a crime. He and his own group of judges—who would later become known as the dark judges—have erased all life in his dimension. I guess he’s bored now and came to a different, unrelated dimension to do the same. The nerve of this guy, right?

Judge Death vowed that life would be eradicated on Earth. Never mind that former-President Booth already initiated that and wiped out most of the population during the Atomic War. When Judge Death leaves, Judge Anderson is exhausted and heads home. She’s about to get some rest when Judge Death Bo Dukes into her mind and takes her over.

The Final Round of the First Fight

Anderson never gives up resisting but Judge Death is ridiculously powerful. While he and Anderson heads off to retrieve his body from the Hall of Justice and revive it, the judges are waiting for what the Psi-Ops department can pick up on their comrade.

Now, when I say this is an extremely short read, I mean it. This story accelerates rapidly and you’d think “Didn’t this villain just show up? What the hell?” Once Judge Dredd comes onto the scene, it’s game over for the story’s big bad in about 4-5 pages from the second encounter. This one might be a record-breaker.

Judge Anderson manages to get a message to the medium: “Boing”. It’s a weird one but Dredd instantly gets the plan. Why? Because he’s Judge Dredd. The guy isn’t exactly OP but defeat fears him.

In the last encounter of the story, Judge Death has already started reviving—or reanimating—his body. Dredd comes out of nowhere and blasts the skeleton to fragments! Death is annoyed and goes to escape but Dredd has the room sealed off tight. His foe returns to Anderson’s mind, aiming to kill Dredd only to get sprayed with something call “Boing” which encased her in an unescapable bubble. This meant Judge Death couldn’t’ escape either.

The story ends with Judge Anderson being laid to rest for her sacrifice.

Next Time

We’ll visit some more Judge Dredd and look at the “Blood of Satanus” storyline that followed. It’s another fast-paced, short, three-part story. Check out our retro recap on “The Cursed Earth” story arc to find out about Satanus!

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.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!