Judge Kraken is a fictional character in the Judge Dredd comic strip featured in the long-running British comic 2000 AD. Although he only appeared in a few episodes, he was nonetheless a very important character in Tale of the Dead Man, in which he was given almost equal billing with Dredd, and in the epic story Necropolis, in which he actually replaced Dredd as the lead character in the first half of the story. Kraken first appeared by name in 2000 AD #583 (July 16, 1988).
Kraken was cloned from the DNA of Chief Judge Fargo, and was therefore effectively Judge Dredd's twin brother (since Dredd was also cloned from the same source). However he was actually many years younger than Dredd.
Kraken was originally not a judge but one of the Judda, a rogue army of clones created by the renegade Judge Morton Judd from the DNA of Mega-City One's greatest judges, and hidden in a secret base within Ayers Rock. In 2110 Judd sent his army into the Grand Hall of Justice, using teleporters in a surprise attack in an attempt to take control of the city and install himself as chief judge. After Dredd foiled the attack (killing Judd and most of the Judda), Kraken was taken prisoner. When the other prisoners were either executed or committed suicide, he alone was spared.
Kraken underwent a lengthy process of deprogramming in order to overcome his loyalty to the Judda. He was then trained to become a judge. Chief Judge Silver secretly intended that Kraken would eventually replace Dredd, who had been showing increasing signs of disillusionment with the Justice Department.
Matters finally came to a head in the events recounted in the story Tale of the Dead Man, when Dredd was assigned to supervise Kraken (now a rookie judge) to assess his suitability for graduation to full street judge. Kraken performed impeccably, his skills and judgement outshining even those of his assessor. However Dredd was able to detect lingering traces of loyalty to the creed of the Judda, and therefore failed Kraken. Consequently Kraken's original death sentence for his role in the Judda incursion was reimposed.
Immediately following Kraken's assessment, Dredd announced his resignation from the Justice Department, and took 'the long walk' into the Cursed Earth desert outside the city. However, Silver secretly ordered that Kraken be spared from execution and, overruling Dredd's decision, appointed him a full Judge. He also covered up Dredd's disappearance from the city by ordering Kraken to assume Dredd's identity.
Shortly afterwards Kraken was visited by the evil Sisters of Death who, by manipulating his doubts and confusion, were able to control his mind. They used him to trap Psi Judge Kit Agee, whose body they used as a psychic dimension bridge between Mega-City One and Deadworld. This enabled them to rescue the Dark Judges from their captivity in dimensional limbo. The Dark Judges immediately set about creating "Necropolis", a city under their complete control. The Dark Judges set about systematically exterminating the entire population. Within a few months 60 million people were slaughtered.
Dredd, with assistance from Judge Anderson, former chief judge McGruder and a handful of cadet judges, was eventually able to defeat the Dark Judges by killing Agee and severing the Sisters' link to Earth. Kraken, who by then had been enslaved and had himself become a Dark Judge, was freed at their defeat. While Dredd did not attach any blame to Kraken (and even told Kraken it could have been him in the younger man's place) Dredd could not allow him to live and killed him by a single bullet from a Lawgiver. Dredd stated that he believed Kraken did not want to live after what he had done and Kraken offered no resistance when faced with his demise, even thanking Dredd.
- Introduces the Judda. Relevant episodes illustrated by Brendan McCarthy. Kraken did not personally appear in this story
- "Bloodline" (written by John Wagner, with art by Will Simpson, in 2000 AD #583-584, 1988)
- Introduces Kraken
- "The Shooting Match" (written by John Wagner, with art by John Higgins, in 2000 AD #650, 1989)
- "Tale of the Dead Man" (written by John Wagner, with art by Will Simpson, in 2000 AD #662-668, 1990. Prologue in #661)
- Kraken's assessment
- "By Lethal Injection" (written by John Wagner, with art by Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #669-670, 1990)
- "Rights of Succession" (written by John Wagner, with art by Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #671, 1990)
- "Dear Annie" (written by John Wagner, with art by Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #672-673, 1990)
- Kraken did not personally appear in this story, which sets the scene for "Necropolis"
- "Necropolis" (written by John Wagner, with art by Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #674-699, 1990)
- "Return of the King" (written by Garth Ennis, with art by Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #733-735, 1991)
- Cameo appearance by Kraken in a flashback in second episode
- ↑ 2000 AD prog 584
- ↑ Progs 562-563
- ↑ Prog 584
- ↑ Prog 584
- ↑ Progs 662-668
- ↑ Prog 669
- ↑ Prog 668
- ↑ Prog 670
- ↑ Progs 670-671
- ↑ Progs 674-699
- ↑ Prog 698