This article is a list of major Judge Dredd storylines.
There have been a number of Judge Dredd storylines that have either significantly developed the "Dredd mythos" or have been "epic" in scale (i.e., been multi-part stories).
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
Some of these include:
- The Robot Wars (2000 AD Progs 10–17; prologue in Prog 9)
The Mega-City Judges face an uprising by the city's robot servant workforce, led by carpenter-droid Call-Me-Kenneth.
- The Return of Rico (Prog 30)
Joe Dredd's clone brother Rico Dredd returns from Titan seeking revenge for being apprehended 20 years earlier but instead is shot and killed by the Judge. (This story introduces Rico and the penal colony on Titan.)
- Luna One (multiple stories; Progs 42–59)
Dredd is made Judge Marshall of Luna One, a colony on the moon governed by judges from all three Mega-Cities. (This story introduced Luna One and Judges from East-Meg One and Texas City.)
- The Cursed Earth (Progs 61–85):
Dredd, accompanied by punk biker Spikes Harvey Rotten (and later the alien Tweak), leads a small group of Judges on an epic journey across the Cursed Earth, transporting the vaccine for the deadly 2T-FRU-T virus that is devastating Mega-City Two. (This multi-part epic, often referred to as ‘the first Dredd epic’, was inspired by Roger Zelazny's Damnation Alley.)
- The Day the Law Died (Progs 89–108; prologues in 86–88)
The tyrannical and insane Judge Cal, head of the Special Judicial Squad, arranges the assassination of Chief Judge Goodman and assumes the title himself. By brainwashing the Judges and employing alien mercenaries, Cal’s stranglehold on Mega-City One is almost total. Only Dredd and a few other Judges and Judge-Tutors escape to lead the resistance. (This story introduced the Kleggs and saw Chief Judge Griffin assume the Chief Judgeship after Cal is killed by Fergee.)
- Judge Death (Progs 149–151)
Judge Death, an alien superfiend from another dimension, arrives in Mega-City One. Believing all life is a crime, he embarks on a killing spree before being caught and imprisoned. (The first appearance of both Judge Death, perhaps the Mega-Cities' deadliest foe, and Psi-Judge Anderson.)
- The Judge Child (Progs 156–181)
When the best 'pre-cog' in Psi-Division, Psi-Judge Feyy, predicts a child bearing the mark of the Eagle of Justice will have the power to save the city from an unspecified future disaster, it is up to Dredd to lead the galaxy-spanning search for the child. (An attempt to break away from the restrictive confines of Mega-City One, this story introduced several long-running characters and concepts into the Dredd mythos: Judge Hershey, The Angel Gang (except for Fink Angel, who was introduced later), Murd the Oppressor, and the new head of the SJS, McGruder.)
- Judge Death Lives! (Progs 224–228)
Judge Death's three brothers, Judges Fear, Fire and Mortis arrive in Mega-City One to rescue him. The four Dark Judges seal off Billy Carter Block and begin murdering all the people trapped within. Dredd and Anderson put a stop to the killing spree and follow the quartet as they flee back to their own native dimension (known colloquially as ‘Deadworld’). The Dark Judges’ physical bodies are easily destroyed but their spirits forms are too psychically powerful, even for Anderson. However, the Psi-Judge is assisted by the vengeful souls of all the millions of murdered citizens and the four Dark Judges are seemingly destroyed. (Voted the third best story ever printed in the comic in a 2005 poll on the 2000AD online website, this tale introduced the other three Dark Judges.)
- Block Mania (Progs 236–244)
Contamination of water supplies by Orlok the Assassin leads to all-out war between Mega-City One's many city blocks. (This story introduced Orlok and saw the death of Judge Giant.)
- Apocalypse War (Progs 245–270)
Weakened by the effects of Block Mania, Mega-City One is attacked and invaded by the forces of East-Meg One. Almost half the city (400 million people) are killed in nuclear strikes. Many more die from radiation sickness, starvation and cold. The Mega-City Judges are unable to strike back as the Sov city is protected by a dimensional force field. Instead, the Judges fight a guerilla war, eventually culminating in the destruction of East-Meg One when Dredd captures a Sov missile bunker. (This story saw the death of Chief Judge Griffin and McGruder taking on the role.)
- City of the Damned (Progs 393–406)
The Judges develop time travel technology. Dredd and Anderson travel into the future to discover more about the disaster predicted by Psi-Judge Feyy. However they learn that the Judge Child Owen Krysler has in fact caused the events, rather than preventing them from happening. Dredd has his eyes torn out but fights on, even battling an undead future version of himself. He and Anderson flee back to the present (along with the undead Dredd), where his eyes are replaced by bionics, before tracking down the Judge Child and killing him, thus preventing the future they experienced from ever happening. (The undead Dredd would return in a future story. This story was originally intended to be much longer but the creative team tired of it.)
- Oz (Progs 545–570)
When sky-surfer Chopper breaks out of jail and flees to the Sydney-Melbourne Conurb in Australia to take part in the (now legal) Supersurf 10, Dredd is sent to retrieve him. In addition, however, Dredd’s real mission is to confront the Judda, a religiously zealous army of clones, ruled over by former Council of Five member Morton Judd, who plans to dominate Mega-City One with his followers. Dredd destroys the Judda’s base (Ayers Rock) with a nuclear bomb, although some Judda are captured.
- The Dead Man (Prog 650–662)
An unknown man with no memory is found almost dead and badly scarred in the Cursed Earth by a group of settlers. After recovering from his injuries, the man heads back to Mega-City One with a young boy, Yassa Povey as his guide. Along the way, he recovers his memory and recalls that he is Dredd, having lost his memory when he encountered the Sisters of Death. (This was not billed as a 'Judge Dredd' story when it first appeared in 2000 AD and great pains were taken to hide its connection with the series. There was no reference to locations or people from the main series until towards the very end of the storyline. The ‘Judge Dredd’ stories continued alongside this one, to further the illusion.)
- A Letter to Judge Dredd (Prog 661)
Dredd receives a letter written by a child who has been killed as an indirect result of the Judges' suppression of a pro-democracy demonstration, causing him to seriously question the entire ethical basis of the Judge system, and setting in motion the chain of events recounted in the episodes that follow.
- Tale of the Dead Man (Progs 662–668) Dredd resigns and takes the Long Walk
following his assessment of ex-Judda Cadet Judge Kraken, and his crisis of faith in the Law that he had always sworn to uphold. This story acts as a prologue to Necropolis.
- Necropolis (Progs 669–673 (Countdown to Necropolis) and 674–699
(‘’Necropolis’’)) Manipulating the confused mind of Judge Kraken, the Sisters of Death are able to use the body of Psi-Judge Agee in order to take control of Mega-City One and create a trans-dimensional bridge enabling the Dark Judges to once again manifest themselves. The four Dark Judges take control of the minds of the Judges and begin systematically killing the entire population. Kraken becomes a fifth Dark Judge. Chief Judge Silver is killed.
- The Devil You Know and Twilight's Last Gleaming (Progs 750–753 and
754–756) The long running tensions between the totalitarian Judge system and the movement for the restoration of democracy in the Mega-City at last come to a head. Finally given a vote, the apathetic population mostly don’t bother and of those that do, the majority favour keeping the Judges in control. A pro-democracy protest march of almost two million people heads for Justice Central, but violence is averted when Dredd alone convinces the leaders that the referendum was fair.
- America (Megazine 1.01–1.07)
Dredd's philosophy is explored when democracy activists resort to terrorism. This story introduces the tragic characters America Jara and Bennett Beeny, as well as terrorist group Total War.
- Judgement on Gotham (a 'crossover' story co-published by DC Comics and
Fleetway.) Dredd and Batman reluctantly join forces to defeat Judge Death, who has used dimension-jump technology to breach the DC Universe and attack Gotham City. This issue was also notable for painted artwork by Simon Bisley.
- Judgement Day (progs 786–799 and Megazine 2.04–2.09)
Sabbat the Necromagus re-animates the corpses of the dead and uses them to attack the world's Mega-Cities, leading to the deaths of billions. This story includes the teaming of Dredd with Johnny Alpha, a character from another long running 2000 AD comic strip, Strontium Dog. (Dredd and Alpha had however previously crossed paths in an earlier story.)
- Mechanismo trilogy (Megazine 2.12–17, 2.22–26 and 2.37–43)
After Necropolis and Sabbat's zombies, Mega-City has lost far too many judges. To combat this, the Chief Judge test-runs ten robot judges, with disastrous results.
- Inferno (progs 842–853)
Escaped rogue Judges from Titan take over the city, forcing the Judges into exile in the Cursed Earth.
- Wilderlands (progs 891–894 and 904–918 and Megazine 2.57–2.67)
Dredd is exposed as falsifying evidence to shut down the Mechanismo project and is arrested, while Chief Judge McGruder attempts to remain in power and see Mechanismo implemented despite her failing mental capacities. When a malfunctioning Mechanismo crashes a space cruiser on an alien world in an attempt to kill McGruder, Dredd is forced to take control of the survivors. The mega-epic ended many long-running subplots including the Mechanismo Program and McGruder's second stint as Chief Judge, as well as bringing in Judge Volt, bringing back the Council of Five and introducing Judge Castillo.
- The Pit (progs 970–999)
Dredd takes the job of Sector Chief at Sector 301, an isolated area of the city that has become a dumping ground for corrupt and incompetent judges. Introduced the popular character Judge Galen DeMarco, the closest thing Dredd has had to a love interest, who would go on to star in her own strip.
- The Doomsday Scenario (progs 1141–1164 and 1167, and Megazine 3.52–3.59)
The first series to run the same story from different viewpoints concurrently from start to finish, one in 2000 AD and the other in the Judge Dredd Megazine. One is told from the viewpoint of Galen DeMarco, now a civilian, as she is caught up in crimelord Nero Narcos' attempt to take over the city with his army of robots. The other is told from Dredd's viewpoint as he is taken prisoner by Orlok the Assassin and tried by the East Meg One government in exile for his war crimes during the Apocalypse War. Once Dredd escapes (with Anderson's assistance), he secured the help of Brit-Cit in breaking Narcos' control over his robot hordes. The story saw the Judges briefly lose power and Chief Judge Volt committed suicide as a result; Hershey replaced him.
- Helter Skelter (progs 1250–1261)
An army of Dredd's greatest foes, from alternate dimensions where they won, band together under an alternate Judge Cal (see The Day the Law Died) and use dimension jump technology to invade Dredd's dimension, unable to stand the idea that there is a universe where he won. Their presence starts a total collapse of all universes, causing characters from other 2000 AD stories to appear in Mega-City One – Cal intends to exploit this chaos. Dredd defeats Cal with the help of dimension technician Darien Kenzie.
- Blood Cadets (progs 1186–1188)
Saw the introduction of a new clone of Dredd, who took the name Rico;
- Blood And Duty (progs 1300–1301)
Saw the return of Dredd's niece Vienna Pasternak. With Vienna's reintroduction and the new Rico's arrival, Dredd was given a family and several new plot points for future stories, including the Justice Department creating a large number of Dredd clones and Dredd's problems with trying to connect with his niece.
- Judge Dredd vs. Aliens -
Incubus (Prog 2003 special and 1322–1335) Pitted Dredd against the monsters from the Alien movie series, with mutant terrorist Mister Bones breeding an army of xenomorphs in the Undercity and having them assault the Department of Justice.
- Terror and Total War (progs 1392–1399 and 1408–1419)
A pair of stories that deals with the actions of a terrorist cell in Mega-City One. Fanatically dedicated to the democratic cause, Total War smuggles 12 nuclear devices into the vast megalopolis and threaten to detonate them all unless the Judges leave the City. A standard thriller plot made more significant through explorations of Judge Dredd's extended family, including Vienna and a Dredd clone, Nimrod.
- Blood Trails (progs 1440–1449)
Following on from elements of Total War and Gulag (where Dredd led a Judge team to try and free POWs from the Sov block), a clone of Sov judge Kazan tries to attack Dredd by targeting Vienna, sending the face-changing assassin Pasha to gain her trust and abduct her. In the aftermath of the story, the Kazan clone was cut loose by East-Meg 2 and claimed political asylum from Mega-City One; Dredd's long-term ally Guthrie was severely injured, losing both legs and an arm and eventually being turned into a cyborg; and both Judges Giant and Rico were severely injured.
- Origins (progs 1505–1519 and 1529–1535; prologue in
1500–1504) Consists largely of flashbacks and sets out the history of the Judges and of Chief Judge Fargo, as well as scenes from Dredd's childhood during the Third World War.
- Mutants in Mega-City One (progs 1542–1545)
Is the first in a series of short stories in which Dredd campaigns to change the apartheid laws prohibiting mutants from entering the city. This results in Chief Judge Hershey being voted out of office and replaced with Judge Francisco.
- Tour of Duty (progs 1650–1693)
Sees Judge Dredd posted out into the Cursed Earth to oversee the foundations of four new Mutant townships. The corrupt judge Martin Sinfield, puppet master behind the new Justice Department regime, manipulates Francisco so he can install himself as Chief Judge, and promptly becomes the target of repeated assassination attempts. Dredd is recalled from exile to lead the investigation into the attacks, which are the work of serial mass-murderer PJ Maybe, who has assumed the identity of mayor Byron Ambrose.
Day of Chaos