For other works in this franchise, see Judge Dredd.
A long-running Science Fiction comic created by John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra and Pat Mills, and starring the iconic character from the British Anthology Comic 2000 AD, Judge Dredd follows the adventures of the titular uncompromising Knight Templar lawman, Joseph Dredd, who cleans the bloodstained streets of the grim, far-future megalopolis that is Mega-City One, a gigantic, decaying and crime-ridden urban sprawl which covers most of what used to be the East Coast of the USA. Dredd is a "Judge", a veteran officer in a law-enforcement force whose authority allows him to quite literally act as Judge, Jury, and Executioner in a world where the criminal justice system and democratic government have long since disintegrated as a result of countless natural disasters, sky-high crime rate and world-wide nuclear wars.
The series is part Dystopian sci-fi adventure, part satirical Black Comedy. Mega City One embodies the social problems, urban decay and political issues of British and Western society since the 1970s, turned up to eleven, with Dredd and the Judges a satire of the worst excesses of police and government authority, though some people seem to think his methods are a jolly good idea.
The series is also notable for its moral complexity. By his very nature and purpose, Dredd is firmly committed to the Justice Department's brutal, draconian and ruthless methods to enforce the Law, but it has been established that Mega-City One would collapse without him and his fellow Judges, and more than once has. Dredd himself, despite being as unmoving in his ideals as a stone plinth who embraces every word of the Law, is also impeccably honest and honorable, despises corruption and unnecessary cruelty, does not discriminate his targets, goes out of his way to save innocents, has had some Pet the Dog moments throughout the years, and has been given cause to question his purpose more than once. Still, at the end of the day, he is an unapologetic authoritarian. In this setting, democracy within his society has been shown to be simply unworkable.
For those who like their classical philosophy texts, Dredd's world has a distinct air of Plato's The Republic about it.