Deadworld is the realm of the Dark Judges.

It started out as being recognisable as a future Earth, but - while having advanced technology - still more similar to late 20th/early 21st century than contemporary Mega-City One. There are various differences to the main reality, including the Judges and the names of American states (the existence of Tuscarora), but the crucial difference is that the world already viewed life more cheaply than Dredd's own. Judge Death once sneered that life was not the "sacred institution it is [in MC-1]".

Only children had dreams by the 21st century and it was considered a strange, dirty thing to continue doing. Psis would continue to dream and were taken away by the Judges, where their psychic energy was violently removed by the Dream Elimination Department. [1]

Tainted part7 montage

Montage of past horrors

In its past, America was part of a major war known only as "the Big One". [2]

There was severe environmental collapse during the 21st century, with extreme storms and swarms of "critters": mutated locusts. The later could escalate into critterstorms, with a particularly bad one in 2134.[3] Some unknown war had left wrecked areas of the capital, with abandoned buildings and overgrown bomb craters, such as Sector 17. [4]

The Judges would come to power as a federal force[5], armed with J-Wagons, AI Lawriders linked to the "Judgecloud", and heavy firepower. They had even greater power than in Mega-City One and could give any sentence at their discretion. [6] Psis were rounded up as children by the Justice Department.[7] Judges were trained at the remote Law School building, taught as Trainee Judges how to torture and kill without remorse[8] but normally stick to the "Three I's" of Inter, Interrogate, Intel. [9] The Judges were powerful enough to advertise graft and violence as a reason to join up (as well as "FREE LUNCHEON VOUCHERS"). [10]

Young Sidney De'ath was the son of a brutal serial killer and travelling dentist. After first helping his father kill people, he decided to report him to the Judges in order to sign up. After years of secretly murdering the "wets" in Law School who thought his ideas were sick, he was given a routine day in charge of civil court in Sixth Year. Trainee Judge Sidney gave the death sentence to all twenty seven cases, whatever their plea: when the shocked principal tried to discipline him, De'ath's passionate argument forced him to stand down. After that, the other Trainees called him "Sidney Death". [11]

One of the top bands on Deadworld was Skool of Hate. They commited group suicide after ten years. TV near the end had "My Favourite Car Smash" and "The Banzo Show", an advert for Banzo junk food. [12]

Upon graduating, the first thing Judge Death did was find and murder his mother and sister.[13] A growing anti-Judge resistance movement had formed by this point but officially did not exist.[14]

Death's philosophy of life causing crime began to catch on with other Judges, including three eager officers that included Judge Fuego. This one was nicknamed "Judge Fire" after he burned an entire school to death for breaching noise regulations.[15] Fuego would be sent undercover to infiltrate the resistance.[16] By the time he became a Senior Judge, Sidney ran the Grey Division, which became notorious for its abuse of power, although the Chief Judge never officially intervened to stop it.[17]

Crops had begun to fail after the bees died "changed" and died sick, while what did grow was often twisted and sick.[18]

Sector 17 of the capital was a derelict area that the Judges only entered mob-handed. Two witches, the future Sisters of Death, set up shop in a cave system around there and it gained a reputation of being haunted after a series of murders; the water treatment plant was named the "Cavern of Lost Souls" due to the mysterious deaths of over a hundred workers. One unfortunate man had been transformed into their lackey, Half Life, who was a test ground for various diseases.[19]

Psi-Judge Cassandra Anderson's mind ended up haunting the body of a Deadworld student called Sandra, who had gone to school with Sidney. Aware of what was going to happen, Anderson tried to find the resistance to stop Death before he ever took undead form. Unfortunately, she ran into Phobia and Nausea and was abducted for "experiments". [20] When Death found the Sisters, he faced "love at first sight"[21] (and asked them to "look after Sandra for me).

When 'Sandra' escaped, the Judges were on a kill-spree inspired by Death and sentencing people to death for the smallest crimes. [22] People began to flee the capital.[23] Sandra joined up with the resistance and Fuego steered them into trying to liberate the psis from the Dream Elimination Department; Death was waiting with a judicial squad and many resistance members and children were killed.[24]

The Sisters eventually turned Death and his closest allies into unkillable zombies. [25] Anderson led the remaining resistance soldiers to the caves too late to stop it, as Fuego had forewarned the Sisters to speed it up. After Death killed the remaining resistance[26], his lieutenants were transformed as well and their first combined act was to kill the Chief Judge and take control. [27]

At first, few people knew anything except that a coup had happened. A mass exodus was already taking place due to the Judges' massacres. While "Superstorm Cassandra" ravaged the midwestern states, murderous cults attacked isolated towns, and food riots tore through the capital, the Dark Judges began to use the Sisters' mental powers and the dead fluids to 'recruit' various Judges and other authority figures. The corrupt Judge Fairfax, the old Chief's fixer, was targeted as a potential fourth lieutenant of Death.[28]

The regular Judges began dragging people from their homes across the capital and taken them to the Dark Judges' new base, a vast twisted monolith, for mass execution. The sun itself was being blotted out by darkness at this point. A time-travelling Death and Dredd would inadvertently end up here to witness the massacres but, despite Death's attempts, were unable to alter the timeline either way. [29]

After the planet was killed, the Dark Judges sat around with little to do and many were consumed with their own personal issues and fears. Sister Despair began experimenting on a few survivors she'd hidden away, until Judge Fire (jealous she spurned him) executed her for this treason. Judge Mortis began to grow a "garden" out of the dead but only the arrival of an alien race, giving him new people to kill, truly got him out of his ennui.[30]

Finally, Death decided that most of his acolytes had become too much like the living and gathered them for a great cull. Only his original three lieutenants survived, as he felt they could be 'rehabilitated'. After this he sat in darkness, sure there would be a way to leave Deadworld and find new sinners to judge. [31]

Dimension-travelling aliens duly arrived in Deadworld and were immediately butchered. Death used their technology to leave for Mega-City One. [32] Two years later, after the other Dark Judges had followed, Cassandra Anderson (from an earlier time to before) would track them back to Deadworld and channel the angry ghosts of the planet against the fiends. Unfortunately, their own ghosts survived and on a later trip to the dimension, Anderson would be tricked into giving them form again.


While the stories "Boyhood of a Superfiend" and "Half-Life" use slang and imagery that implicitly puts Death's origin in future Britain, "Tainted: The Fall of Deadworld" explicitly sets it in the United States.


  1. Megazine 214 and 216: "Anderson: Half-Life Part 1/3"
  2. Tainted: The Fall of Deadworld Part 7
  3. Tainted: The Fall of Deadworld
  4. Megazine 216
  5. Repeated mention of "federal offence" in Tainted
  6. Boyhood of a Superfiend
  7. Megazine 214: "Anderson: Half-Life Part 1"
  8. Boyhood of a Superfiend
  9. Tainted: The Fall of Deadworld Part 6
  10. Boyhood of a Superfiend
  11. Boyhood of a Superfiend
  12. Megazine 214-5
  13. Boyhood
  14. "Anderson: Half Life"
  15. Boyhood of a Superfiend
  16. Megazine 216
  17. Tainted: The Fall of Deadworld
  18. Prog 1973: "Tainted" part 1
  19. Boyhood, Megazine 215 and 217
  20. Anderson: Half-Life Part 1 to 2
  21. Boyhood
  22. Megazine 216, referencing Boyhood
  23. Tainted Part 1
  24. Half Life Part 3
  25. Boyhood of a Superfiend
  26. Megazine 217
  27. Boyhood of a Superfiend
  28. Tainted: The Fall of Deadworld
  29. Prog 1001-08: "Dead Reckoning"
  30. Dreams of Dreadworld
  31. prog 1949: "Dreams of Deadworld Part 4"
  32. Prog 901