Elmer 'Pa' Angel

Elmer 'Pa' Angel was the patriarch of the Angel Gang, a family of dangerous criminals originally from Texas City who preyed on travelers making their way across the Cursed Earth. Pa was enormously proud of his children's' violent behaviours and in general wickedness, and as a result would encourage it as often as possible, considering it a strength and a virtue.


"Elmer Angel" (his real name unknown) was a career criminal in Texas City with a wife and teenage daughter, and worked with the corrupt Judge Hess. In 2075, Hess planned for Elmer to rob the Southern Angel Depository bank and "escape" his Judges - and when Elmer tried to refuse the job, his family were taken hostage. The daughter died in custody during the robbery, so Hess double-crossed the gang and had them gunned down. Elmer, badly wounded, was able to flee the city with the money (killing several Judges in the process) and made it to the Cursed Earth. He was found and dropped off at a charity hospital by Filmore Faro. The hospital staff, hearing him mutter "Angel" in his sleep, took this to be his surname.

Pa Linc Angelic

While recovering, he bonded with mute, orphaned boy nicknamed Lincoln (whom he called "Linc") who was suffering from trauma after his Helltrek family were killed. Pa Angel himself had only patchy memories of his past.

When Hess caught up and began torturing him to find where the money was, Elmer requested that he let Linc see him get tortured so the boy could see the world he lived in. Unknown to Hess, Elmer was covertly instructing Linc on where to find his gun and how to prime it. With Hess wounded and left to die, Elmer - having learned from a mutant that he'd sire a large, influential brood - continued with Linc into the Radlands to find Linc's "brothers".[1]

In his new life in the Radlands, Elmer and his new wife, Ma Angel, worked for desperado Dil Grimzi but resented working for someone who wasn't family. According to Angel, they decided to go their own way after Fink Angel was born and he had "an extra face t'fill". Pa Angel betrayed Grimzi and left him for the Gila Munja, with toddler Fink in tow to watch.[2]

Pa, Ma, and the boys set up shop in a Badlands shack. 'Ma Angel' died when Junior Angel was born and soon after, Fink decided to live in a hole in the ground - both things that Pa took great pride in.[3] As Junior was youngest, Pa began to baby him - while ignoring his eldest, which is the real reason Fink ran off.[4]

In an attempt to make his boys into killers, Pa would beat them, set dogs on them, and shoot at them as "combat training". Unfortunately for Mean Angel, Pa was disgusted by his quiet, passive personality. (He once beat Mean 'for his own good' of petting a kitten.) This prompted Pa to kidnap a surgeon from nearby Texas city and force him to perform surgical modifications on his son, transforming the once gentle boy into a brutal sociopathic cyborg. Mean would go on to see the abuse as "the happiest days o' my life".[5]

In 2101, Grimzi's sons tried to con the Angels into rescuing their father by pretending there was a fortune in pre-war porn in the Munja cave. Pa was doting on Mean and especially Junior while ignoring Link. This emotional abuse made Link easy to manipulate but after he was wounded saving the clan, Pa Angel showed concern - leading to him preventing Junior from torturing a Grimzi to death so he and Junior could do it together.[6]


Sometime after this, the gang found themselves on the run from the law. As a result Pa hatched a plan to kidnap the mutant boy known as the Judge Child and profit off him. Pa eventually decided to trade him to the Grunwalder, the machine ruler of a robot kingdom on the planet Xanadu, in exchange for sanctuary. Unfortunately for the Angel gang, Pa and his boys were pursued by Judge Dredd who had chased them halfway across the galaxy to find the Judge child and bring him back to Mega-City One, which put him at odds with the Angel gang; who weren't willing to give him up so easily.

As Dredd pursued the family across Xanadu, he dispatched each member of the gang one by one, killing most of Pa's offspring and at one point even managing to wound Pa himself with a long rifle. Eventually Dredd caught up with Pa and his youngest son Junior who at this point were the last two (known) survivors of the Angel gang and confronted them at the entrance steps to the Grunwalder's fortress stronghold. During this encounter both Pa and Junior were supposedly killed by Dredd with Pa falling into a volcano and meeting his apparent demise.[7]

In 2106, the Judges brainwashed Mean into thinking Dredd was Pa Angel so he'd lead them across the Badlands. [8]

Years later, it was revealed (rather controversially) that Pa and his youngest son Junior Angel had actually survived their apparently fatal fall into a volcano and been stuck in suspended animation. They were revived and used to convince Mean Machine to cooperate with Dredd - and then were thrown in the cubes.[9] They were housed in Iso-Block 666 and were so obnoxious, the Devil couldn't stand it and teleported Dredd to their cell. (This backfired as now Pa Angel wanted to be in the Devil's gang) [10] They haven't been seen or referred to since.


  • Writer John Wagner later admitted that resurrecting Pa and Junior was a mistake which went against the usual 2000AD practice of not bringing characters back from the dead Mean Machine Angel being the notable exception) and the story has been quietly ignored ever since. When "Before They Wuz Dead" ran in the Megazine, Matt Smith stated "let's just say we're conveniently ignoring the Awakening of Angels story".[11]
  • Gordon Rennie was inspired to write Angelic by the show Hannibal: " liking the way the series has deliberate small continuity glitches in it from the very beginning, which grow as it goes on, so that – by the end of the second series – it’s abundantly clear that it’s set in its own very alternative continuity completely divergent from the later-set books and movies. I thought it would be interesting to do something similar with some classic Dredd villain. And the chance to annoy the continuity bores should never be passed up on."
  • While Angelic contradicts part of Pa's backstory in Before They Wuz Dead, there is a simple way around it: Before has it narrated by Pa and can be read as an unreliable narrator. In the story itself, a psychic implies that this may be a universe's origin for Pa Angel (and that it's already changed from how it should go) but will lead to the same place.[12]


  1. Megazine 356-9: "Angelic"
  2. Megazine #258: "Before They Wuz Dead Part 1"
  3. Destiny's Angels
  4. #261: "Before They Wuz Dead Part 4"
  5. "Destiny's Angels" "Psycho Analysis", and "The Three Amigos" for the cat story)
  6. Before They Wuz Dead
  7. The Judge Child
  8. Dredd Angel 7 episodes (Progs 377 to 383)
  9. The Three Amigos
  10. The Ballad of Devil Angel
  11. Megazine 258
  12. Angelic Part 4

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