Thursday, July 25, 2024

Why Judge Dredd Is A Great Comic Book Hero.

( It’s no mystery that Judge Dredd is one of my favorite comic book heroes. What makes him one of the greatest? Let’s find out in three points!

Judge Dredd’s Awareness and Adaptability

Judge Dredd is a clone of the greatest Chief Judge ever—Eustace Fargo—at his physical peak. As “The Father of Justice”, Fargo was seen as the perfect cop in every way. Dredd has those genres as well as training from childhood. Think of it as Bruce Wayne training in gymnastics, ninjutsu, and other marital arts from a young age while pursuing engineering and detective sciences.

Dredd was trained to be a physical menace of an officer. However, this is Mega-City One! Criminals come in all shapes, sizes, motivations, and boldness. The judges never know who or what they will run into! Sometimes, the problem isn’t solved with something like a raid or simple arrest.

So, these judges are also schooled on investigative sciences and the law from an early age. Judges remove the need for a court room judge and prosecutors except for extreme cases. While there are departments for advanced investigation and detective work, usually a judge’s awareness and on-the-street investigative skills are enough to sentence people on the spot.

Dredd is another beast. His awareness and adaptability are ridiculously high. When you factor in how much experience he already had in his 2000 A.D debut and the experience he has now, it’s no wonder he is still the top cop even though he’s older.

He can survive and avoid situations someone his age might react slower to with little effort. Dredd moves better than Batman did in Dark Knight Returns. There was time when Batman was depicted as just knowing what a substance was just by observing, smelling, and feeling it. Eventually, that gave way to sometimes using advanced technology.

While that’s cool and one of my favorite part of Batman are the gadgets, Judge Dredd is still very much old school Batman, old school detective. He just knows whatever a substance is even though he has access to technology. Rarely does anything get past Judge Dredd.


Dredd Doesn’t Miss

Now, this isn’t true as there have been times when Judge Dredd missed his shot. However, he rarely misses. I’d say that if Dredd missed, he was using the wrong ammo. His gun, the Lawgiver, is capable of different ammo from the same cartridge and his ricochet rounds have come in handy more than once.

If anything, if he fails the first time and figures out a weakness or opportunity—which Dredd always does—he’ll get his opponent the second time around. That’s definitely one of his strengths: there is always a round two if necessary.

Usually, it’s one and done but sometimes these Mega City-One scumbags can be a little craftier than expected or it’s an ambush situation. Dredd is never fooled more than once. I’d also factor this into his high level of adaptability as mentioned above.

Like any good hero leading a series, there’s some level of learning from defeats or draws. A hero who doesn’t is one that is often done for comedy or is simply a hero who is meant to fail. Dredd is one who learns from previous situations and the present one.

Remember, Dredd stories are often told in shorter form. Things move much quickly than in longer form comics and will be wrapped up sooner. It’s just the pace of Dredd stories but on top of that, Dredd just ties his business up sooner.

He doesn’t have many reoccurring foes or mortal enemies for a reason. Those who are his mortal foes are often beyond his reach as a mortal judge and not someone that he arrested and are somehow free again.

Dredd is Fighting Aging and Winning

Going back Batman in Dark Knight Returns, Bruce Wayne is fighting aging and losing. He’s carrying out his mission but his body isn’t having any of it. Meanwhile, Dredd is aging and kicking its ass—and his aging in canonical! His stories in 2000 A.D are told over the years throughout his career and adventures.

While there are different adaptations being published, all of the Dredd stories are within the main timeline of events for several of the 2000 A.D series. He’s seen tons of gnarly things, run-of-the-mill dirt bags, remnants of the past, and even otherworldly beings.

It’s all nothing different from other heroes in any other comics but it’s all done without reboots or restarts. The writers just pick things up with what previous writers presented and that’s part of these characters’ backstories.

You could say that’s more of a nod to the writing than just Dredd being near immortal but sometimes it’s great to see a hero in changing world as opposed to a rebooted or retconned world brought up to date. Everything changes around him, characters die, new threats arise, deals and treaties breakdown and it all happens over time.

That’s always been an issue with me and comics, the lack of a sense of time. Events and villains come along back-to-back, sometimes the time between these events aren’t specified or anything. However, due to the number of comics within a particular timeline, some events that occur in Doctor Strange might be behind-the-scenes in X-Men or The Avengers.

That ultimately gives writers wiggle room to reboot a timeline. Dredd has supernatural elements in some stories but the presence isn’t strong enough that a whole timeline can be reset so that Dredd doesn’t age.

Nope, he’s just duking it out with Father Time and keeping Mega City-One as safe as it deserves to be.

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.

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