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    # 
  • 6 Is 9: In the "Tales from the Pit: Black Day at Bad Rock" story, a squatter is given apartment number 666 as a reward for informing to the Judges. When he goes to open the door, it turns out to be one of the apartments Booby Trapped with explosives that an old lady from earlier in the story was using to cover up her welfare fraud.
    Priest: Did you see that Struthers? Numbers 999 must have slipped loose to make 666.
    Struthers: Yeah. Just like in a vidcom.
    Priest: Life's like that sometimes - one bad joke.
  • '90s Anti-Hero: Judge Dredd, despite being a Judge, Jury, and Executioner working for a dystopian police state, is actually a subversion, since his character is much too layered beneath the gruff exterior to ever qualify as one. However, the way in which he's depicted in Heavy Metal Dredd (published in 1993) is a straight example. Metal Dredd solves every problem with his Lawgiver pistol, to the point where he'll happily blow the legs off jaywalkers or beat someone who looks at him funny into a coma. If his version in the 2000 AD continuity was that much of a Rabid Cop, he would have already been executed by Internal Affairs for abuse of power.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Dredd takes "The Long Walk" shortly before the start of "Necropolis", during which time Dredd is replaced by fellow Fargo clone Judge Kraken pretending to be Dredd. He heads back after finding out that Mega City One has been conquered by the undead in his absence.
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    A 
  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • In addition to firing standard rounds, a Judge's Lawgiver handgun (See Also, Impossibly Cool Weapon) can fire armor piercing, heat-seeking (though, as of "Dark Justice", the department is trying to phase it out for the new Mark III Lawgiver), ricochet (for Human Shield situations), incendiary, and explosive rounds. Each of these can be combined with the full auto setting. There is also a guided round, which is a one-shot deal - the actual guided projectile is placed over the muzzle and the bullet fired through the barrel is incorporated and provides the motive power.
    • Newer issued Lawgivers come with a stun setting. However, to many judges, it's something of a Scrappy Weapon, as its effectiveness is unpredictable and somewhat unreliable.
    • Depending on the Writer, some Lawgivers have rounds that deviate from the standard six. Exorcist rounds were developed to deal with supernatural foes. Tracer rounds tagged its target with an electronic tag, allowing a target to be tracked by computer. The marker shell tags a target with green paint. And the gas round was mentioned in Gun Play as an option for the MkII Lawgiver to replace Heat Seeker or Incendiary.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Several examples including ones that are mounted on vehicles, robots, etc. etc.
  • Academy of Evil: The Dark Judges are shown to have taken over their version of the Academy of Law during the destruction of their planet to teach the trainees how to best execute citizens.
  • The Ace: Dredd is undoubtedly the greatest judge to have ever patrolled the streets of Mega City One. He's a crack marksman, an expert in hand-to-hand combat, excellent on a bike and a first rate investigator. The only thing he really seems to be lacking is people skills.
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: A story that had Freddy Krueger from Elm Street franchise prowling the streets of Mega City One was revealed in the end to be just a dream had by a bum who drank some bad booze.
  • Action Girl: Female Judges and many other female characters.
  • Actually a Doombot: Judge Death went missing after having ruled over all of Mega City One during "Necropolis". Dredd later encounters what appears to be Judge Death in a museum, but it's just a robot made in his image and not the real deal.
  • Actually Not a Vampire: In the "Cursed Earth" arc, Dredd travels through an area where the locals' blood is being harvested by a mysterious monster that they believe to be a vampire. It turns out to be the last President of the United States, put into suspended animation after his complicity in the Atomic Wars. When the machine ran out of replacement blood, his three robot servants started to collect it from elsewhere as they were programmed to keep him alive at all costs. Dredd remarks that the man was indeed a vampire, just of a different sort.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Judge Dredd is a prime example of Good Is Not Nice, since his job requires him to be the faceless, robotic enforcer of a dictatorship prone to Disproportionate Retribution. However, Judge Dredd does have rules and a code of honor he adheres to, helping out the helpless wherever he can and not taking instances where he has to Shoot the Dog lightly. At one point he even turned in his badge when he grew disgusted with the system. In the Alternate Continuity published in Heavy Metal, he is a lot more Trigger Happy and seems to go out of his way to hound innocent people.
  • Aerith and Bob: Some citizens have unusual or Punny Names, with many choosing to change by deedpoll, such as Aaron A. Aadvark, who does so to be the first name in the phone book (and first to be executed when Cal sentences the entire city to death). Judges, on the other hand, tend to have fairly normal names.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: In Dark Justice, a thousand of Mega-City One's wealthiest citizens decide to leave the Earth in a Starship Luxurious after the Day of Chaos turned much of the city into a ruin. When a reporter at the launch ceremony asks what the people who can't afford a seat are supposed to do, the spokesperson gives him a condescending pat on the head.
  • After the End: Several ends in fact. First the Atomic Wars that originally destroyed most of the planet and turned large sections of it into irradiated wastelands, later the Apocalypse War between Mega City-1 and East-Meg, then the Zombie Apocalypse caused by Sabbat The Necromagus, and then the Hate Plague spreading through MC-1 during the Day of Chaos. Humanity has managed to survive so far thanks to the sheer amount of population the mega cities hold.
  • Age-Gap Romance: In the story "Terror", a 35-year old female college professor becomes romantically involved with a 21-year old male terrorist. When she's under interrogation by the Judges, they inquire if she "likes them young", but she points out that it's not a crime.
  • Agent Provocateur: Judge Dredd crushed the Democracy march on orders of Chief Judge Silver by planting Judges in the crowd and inciting violence so they'd have an excuse to crack down hard on the protestors.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: It's pretty prevalent in robots. There are two Robot Wars over the course of the strip, the first of which is started by a carpenter droid known as Call-Me-Kenneth. Also, the Mechanismo Robo-Judge project runs into huge problems when the robots can't determine innocents from perps and end up going on killing sprees.
  • Alas, Poor Yorick: Judge Fire is shown to have been in love with a female Dark Judge who destroyed herself to spite him. He kept her skull, staring at it for years to relive the event over and over again.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Most antagonists who take Justice Dept.'s practices to their logical extremes tend to reach this conclusion, including Judge Cal, the Dark Judges, and others—all of whom punish any infraction with instant death. The Dark Judges, in particular, go so far as to deem life itself a crime because all other crimes are only committed by the living.
    "THE CRIME IS LIFE! THE SENTENCE IS DEATH!"
  • All Just a Dream: Played for Black Comedy when a man is randomly gunned down in a drive-by shooting and a first-time criminal decides to steal the dead man's wallet. Judge Dredd pursues and corners him, but when the man pleads that he regrets what he did, Dredd gives him a break and tells him to go home. Then the perp wakes up in prison with Dredd quipping "Keep dreaming".
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • The Apocalypse War has East Meg One nuke, then invade Mega City One. In the space of four days, they manage to capture the Grand Hall Of Justice until Dredd inadvertently burns it to the ground during his assassination of Chief Judge Griffin.
    • Necropolis has the Dark Judges and the Sisters of Death brainwashing most of the Judges and turning the Grand Hall of Justice into their new HQ while they work on annihilating all of Mega City One's inhibitants. It shouldn't be surprising that they redecorate the whole place with human bones.
  • Alternate Continuity: Aside from the 1995 and 2012 movies, there are several of these:
    • DC published two different Dredd continuities, the first of which portrayed Fargo as evil, the other being more consistent with the original stories.
    • There was also Heavy Metal Dredd, which upped the violence considerably.
    • Judge Dredd: Lawman of the Future, which was a version of Dredd toned down for younger readers where he wasn't allowed to kill anyone, but ostensibly (and very loosely) based on the 1995 movie.
    • There is also the new series from IDW Publishing and the Recursive Adaptation of Dredd.
    • IDW is also bringing out a "What If?" series where Dredd wasn't cured of lyncanthropy by Praeger.
    • The Alternity special had elements of the Dreddverse transplanted to different historical eras, such as Dredd leading The Untouchables, Shimura as a Samurai Cowboy facing off against the Angel gang, Mean Machine Angel as a Private Investigator with a hint of Unreliable Narrator and Harmony as Anne Bonney.
    • Adi Shankar produced a six part series of animated shorts called Judge Dredd: Superfiend, which combines elements of various Dredd stories, mostly focused on Judge Death.
  • Alternate Universe:
    • The entire basis for the "Helter Skelter" story arc, which featured an alternate depiction of each of Dredd's biggest enemies, all of which have killed the counterpart to the original Dredd from their respective home dimensions, teaming up to defeat Judge Dredd prime.
    • There was another story arc dealing with the discovery of a Mirror Universe called "Macro Zone Alpha" in which the city was an exceptionally polite place, and the brutal Judges were replaced by soft-spoken rehabilitation officers.
    • Judge Death and his Dark Judges originate from their own universe nicknamed "Deadworld." There was also an atomic war at some point that led to the rise of a Judge system, but technology was noticeably less advanced than in Dredd's universe, as there were no Mega-Cities.
    • There was also a time when Dredd dimension jumped and punched out Sylvester Stallone.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: In The Dead Man, Yassa Povey is saved from being eaten by feral grunts by a sinister phantom who scares them off and then pursues him. It later turns out to be the Sisters of Death looking for the Dead Man.
  • Always Gets His Man: Dredd is a satire of this archetype. He's a stellar and incorruptible cop who always gets his man by resorting to violence and brutality, but he's still a By-the-Book Cop because he lives in a dystopian Police State where such behavior is institutionalized.
  • Ambition Is Evil: It turns out that Judge Martin Sinfield would do anything to become Chief Judge, including brainwashing his predecessor to step down. Of course, he did it all for the good of the city.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: After the Total War terror attacks, a member of their assassination unit loses her memory and gains precognitive abilities after a piece of shrapnel get stuck in her head. At first she doesn't even know who she is, and is horrified to discover that she's killed many people.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The fate of Judge Cal's closest aide, Judge Slocum. Completely paralyzed but entirely conscious, Slocum is dropped into a sealed vat of vinegar for preservation... with a smile fixed to his face.
    • Dredd pulls this on Sabbat the Necromagus at the end of Judgement Day by impaling his head on the lodestone he uses to control the dead. It fixes Sabbat in place. A later story establishes that he's still there and has lost his mind.
    • Kraken has this done to him by Judge Death. Death makes him a Dark Judge and has him kill citizens, but leaves enough of his mind intact so that he's aware of the atrocities that he's committing. As he kills, he weeps. When the Dark Judges are defeated, he asks Dredd to kill him, as he can't live with himself anymore.
    • The Dark Judges themselves get this fate in their third appearance, and it couldn't have happened to a worse lot. Psi Judge Anderson figures out a way to seal them inside the void between dimensions, where they will float around in a shapeless mass for eternity, since they're immortal.
    • The fate of Judge Death at the end of "The Torture Garden" is to be once again encased in Boing (hollow super-plastic), then floating in space after an Earth-Shattering Kaboom, and forced to eternally ponder a passage on the beauty of life.
  • Angelic Transformation: Hocus Ritter, a poor farmer in the Cursed Earth, is executed by the corrupt Judges of Las Vegas, but his thirst for justice against the monster Judge Death causes him to become an angel when he enters the astral plane.
  • Animal Motif: Judges' uniforms have a distinctive eagle motif to them, in keeping with the Big Meg's Eagleland origins. Other cities have this too, usually referencing the locale. For example, Brit Cit has a lion motif to its judge uniforms, and the judges in Africa has a lion and a gazelle. Some of the Dark Judges have extinct pterodactyls on their right shoulders as a hint to what their job is. Averted by East Meg judges, who wear shoulder pads decorated with red stars.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: One strip from the early 90s featured a trio of armed animal rights activists demanding that all the zoo animals be released. They then climbed into the pit of a man-eating bear/kangaroo-like alien creature to free it. Dredd arrested the only survivor for public nuisance and animal endangerment, and would have added idiocy to his rapsheet if it weren't legal.
  • Anti-Hero: While Dredd is a brutal cop in a police state he is the good guy, and more liberal than everyone else. This is barring the early issues, wherein Dredd was, while grumpy, fairly standard in his dealings with the various creeps of the city. One story featured Dredd coming into conflict with a Satanic cult. They orchestrated events so that he would come to them so that they may sacrifice his "pure" soul. Dredd was quick to point out that he's an asshole, to which the cult leader replied that he's the purest being in their craptastic future, in the sense that he is utterly incorruptible, and the living embodiment of many things that the satanists oppose; law, order, discipline, duty, etc. In one story, the devil tries to tempt him with riches and power. Dredd refuses and defeats him.
  • Anti-Villain: Quite a few criminals are portrayed rather more sympathetically than the Judges. Notably, both Spikes Harvey Rotten and Chopper turned to crime simply to be something more than a faceless mass.
  • Antlion Monster: One of the many hazards in the Cursed Earth are Giant Trapdoor Spiders. Dredd and a group of Judges run into these during a reconnaissance mission during the "Mutant Rights" arc.
  • Anyone Can Die: Given how long the strip has been running and Mega City One's high crime rate coupled with regular disasters, important supporting characters have been known to die. Notable characters include:
    • Chief Judge Clarence Goodman, Judge Giant Sr., Chief Judge Jürgen Griffin, Don Uggie Apelino, Mayor Dave the Orangutan and Psi-Judge Omar during the seventies and eighties.
    • Judge Kraken, Chief Judge Thomas Silver, Judge “Morphy” Morph, (former) Chief Judge Hilda Margaret McGruder, Deputy Chief Judge Paul Herriman and Chief Judge Hadrian Volt during the nineties.
    • Judge Laverne Castillo, Otto Sump, Maria Cosgrove, former Chief Judge Eustace Fargo, Judge Jura Edgar, Judge Roger Niles, Deputy SJS Judge Garcia, Judge-Sergeant Charlie Joyce, former Wally Squad Judge Aimee Nixon, PJ Maybe, Anatoli Kazan & Dirty Frank and former SJS Judge Alex Gerhart during the turn of the Millenium and new Ten's.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: When Judge Anderson and Judge Dredd are seeing off the boy Yassa Povey after his recovery, Cass gives him a kiss on the cheek as a "thank you" for helping them save the day during Necropolis.
  • Apocalypse Anarchy:
    • In Origins, during the Atomic War of 2070, the young Judge trainees Dredd and Rico, along with their field supervisor, came across a group of U.S. soldiers who were gang raping a civilian in the middle of the ensuing chaos in the nuclear exchange. When the soldiers sneer that rules don't matter as they're going to die anyway, the Judges oblige them.
    • Towards the end of the Total War arc, Vienna is caught up in a sector affected by a nuclear blast. One man attempts to rape her, telling her that it hardly mattered now as the city was being nuked. Luckily, Nimrod comes to her rescue.
  • Apocalypse Cult:
    • The Seventh Heaven Apocalypse Day Group that shows up in "The Pit" arc are praying for the end of the world every day. They think they finally get their wish during a juvie riot when a tanker full of bio-acid comes barreling through the window of their church, but no such luck. The Ax-Crazy ex-Judge Priest later grants them their wish, however.
    • The Death Cultists who started showing up after Necropolis are citizens who believe in the omnicidal creed of the Dark Judges and wish to free them from containment.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Enceladus is mostly told by the recovered logs of Aimee Nixon.
  • Appropriated Appellation: When the man once known as Judge Sidney shocked even his fellow Judges with his tendency towards executing every single offender brought before him, they called him "Judge Death" as an insult. The Judge subsequently took the name for his own, and lived up to it.
  • The Apunkalypse: After the End, life in the Mega City becomes a crime-ridden mess of gangs and general lawlessness. The Judges are the only ones available to try to rein in the social chaos of The Apunkalypse. In outfit terms, people generally wear futuristic punk clothing. Max Normal was part of a subculture that rejected societal norms by being impeccably dressed, and he wore a three-piece suit. Dredd even asks him why he can't just get some freak clothes like everyone else.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Defied by Judge Dredd during the "Titan" arc when a vengeful former Judge apparently comes Back from the Dead as an ice monster. A younger Judge calls it impossible, so Dredd points out that they live in the same universe as zombies, ghosts, and the Devil himself.
  • Arch-Nemesis: Initially filled by Judge Death, though PJ Maybe seems to have taken on this role in recent years. Seems to be going back to Death after his own resurrection and PJ Maybe's death.
  • Arc Villain: Many of the strip's "Mega-Epics" usually have a major Big Bad or two causing trouble for either Judge Dredd and/or Mega-City One in general, such as:
    • Call-Me-Kenneth in "The Robot Wars"
    • Deputy Chief Judge and Head of the SJS, Judge Cal, in "The Day the Law Died!"
    • The “Judge Child” in "The Judge Child" arc, "Destiny's Angels" and "City of the Damned"
    • War Marshal Kazan in "The Apocalypse War"
    • The Judda led by the deranged former Judge, Morton Judd, in "Oz"
    • The Four Dark Judges and the Sisters of Death in "Necropolis"
    • Sabbat the Necromagus in "Judgement Day"
    • (Former) Judge Grice in "Inferno"
    • The Mechanismo Robot in "Wilderlands"
    • Nero Narcos in "The Doomsday Scenario"
    • Total War led by "Michael" (AKA Odwin Bierce) in "Total War"
    • The New Mutant Army led by former President Robert Linus Booth in "Origins"
    • Judge Martin Sinfield in "Tour of Duty"
    • The Fourth Faction led by Yevgeny Borisenko, along with several high-ranking agents within the upper echelons of Grand Hall and various anti-Judge groups such as Total War in the "Day of Chaos" arc
    • Judge Carolyn Bachmann and Enormo Overdrive in "Trifecta"
    • The Four Dark Judges in in "Dark Justice"
    • Texas City Chief Judge Pamelina Oswin and Senior Brit-Cit Judge Gulliver Mayhew in the "Every Empire Falls" arc
    • Notable villains in the various spin-off stories include:
      • Judge Elan Fauster in the Anderson: Psi Division story-line "City of the Dead"
      • The Hondo City Yakuza led by Masahisa Yamaguci in the Low Life stories "Hostile Takeover" and its follow-up, "The Deal"
      • Munch Inc, in the form of Fargone Private Security agent Pinkerton, followed by Munch Asset Management Head, Texanna Pincher, in the first three volumes of "Lawless"
      • The Four Dark Judges in "Dominion"
      • Rothman MacCallum in the Anderson, Psi-Division stories "Dragon Blood" and its follow-up, "NWO"
  • Arc Words: Two of them, both related to the decades-spanning arc about the legitimacy or not of the fascist city-state.
  • Artificial Human: Judge Dredd, both Judge Ricos and all of Dredd's clones. In the spin-off audio dramas from Big Finish, it's mentioned that much of Justice Department is made up of clones. In the comics themselves, it's clear that most of them are not, since it's still pretty expensive and time-consuming to specially breed clones for the job.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Judge Logan has the misfortune of repeatedly losing limbs. After being wounded during the Fargo rescue, he got an Artificial Limb in place of his left arm before switching it for a specially regrown one. Then he lost that one to Mortis' rotting touch.
    • Judge Ocks loses an arm to a Stub Gun in the Shantytown op and keeps fighting. He gets a bionic replacement and winds up as a Veteran Instructor at the academy.
  • Armor Is Useless:
    • If you're hit with Hi-Ex, Armor Piercing, or Incendiary rounds, armor won't do much for you. Several mutants and robots have weapons that make armor useless.
    • This is averted by the Soviet team in the wargame story, whose armour stands up to anything the Luna City team can throw at them. The Sovs also have guns that can fire through cover, walls, and armour to detonate on the other side. Two problems with one solution.
    • Averted with judge helmets. Several times, Dredd has been shot in the head only for the bullet to bounce harmlessly off his helmet.
  • Arrested for Heroism: Justice Department will stop at nothing to ensure that citizens don't take the Law into their own hands. Vigilante justice is illegal, and anyone who tries to be a superhero will always wind up pursued by the Judges. Even saving a Judge from certain death at the hands of a criminal is illegal, as Dredd once arrested Walter The Wobot for throwing a cweam pie in the face of a criminal who had a clear chance to kill Dredd.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The Chaos Bug, while described as a modified Toxoplasma gondii (a protozoa), is repeatedly referred to as a virus, or in one case, a toxin. Most of this comes from Judges who don't need to know biology, though it's a touch off-putting hearing Mega-City One's top microbiologist talk about testing anti-virals on it.
  • Ass Shove:
    • A short story introduces The Great Arsoli, whose act involves pulling ever larger things from his nether regions, finishing with his lovely, smiling assistant. Dredd arrests him for not declaring those items through customs.
    • Cadet Beeny takes out a criminal trying to kill her by using her boot knife to this region.
  • Attack Animal: Several mutants and other creations made by various groups and companies.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: If the story isn't about Dredd stopping some fantastic new breed of crime some other bizarre, futuristic trend among the citizens, the city is most likely being plagued by any number of monsters from Freak Lab Accidents, from nuclear radiation, from outer space in every form listed on the Alien Tropes page, or something equally unnatural and menacing for the Judges to stop. There was even once an attack by a 50 foot woman in Mega-City One.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Chief Judge is primarily a bureaucratic role since (s)he's supposed to both manage the Justice Department as a whole and lead the discussions of the Council of Five, so it depends on the person. When the situation calls for it, like a major crisis that threatens the survival of the city itself, Chief Judges will usually be out in the fray along with the rank and file Judges. Of course, they all tend to be veterans with decades of service.
  • Automated Automobiles: Not a universal phenomenon, but they definitely exist in Mega-City One. Most cars can be manually driven (by either humans or androids), but tend to have a build-in feature that makes it drive to its destination autonomously.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Stub Gun is described as the most devastating hand-held weapon ever developed. It's a laser rifle that is capable of cutting almost anything in two. However, it is prone to overheating, which can cause it to explode if overused, making it useless in sustained firefights. During the Apocalypse War, Dredd reasons that the benefits of the Stub Gun outweigh its obvious flaws and several judges make very effective use of Stub Guns against Sov armour, though several judges die from overheating Stub Guns.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname:
    • Judge Joe Dredd.
    • Averted by Call-Me-Kenneth and Elvis.
    • The protagonist of the Mandroid arc is a former Space Corps veteran by the name of Nathaniel Slaughterhouse.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Quite a few villains, but Junior Angel, in particular, is a standout.
    Junior Angel: "You got this comin', loudmouth! An' even if yo' didn't, yo'd still get it! 'Cause I'm just plumb fond of killin'!"
    • Occasional reference is made to criminals "going for the record," as in, "Record for Most People Individually Killed in a Single Night By One Person."
    • The Chaos Bug in recent "Day of Chaos" turns people into Ax-Crazy, this state lasting four days, after which they die.
    • Judge Death probably stands out as the worst of them. He was already a sadistic murderer not just when he was still alive, but before he even came of age.

    B 
  • Badass and Child Duo:
    • At the end of Fall of Deadworld, Judge Fairfax takes it upon himself to protect Jess after her entire family has been murdered by the Dark Judges and their acolytes.
    • The Dead Man has the titular Dead Man travel across the Cursed Earth with a young boy named Yassa and his dog in order to discover what happened to him. The Dead Man is established to be a hell of a shot, which is unsurprising after The Reveal that he is, in fact, Judge Dredd.
  • Badass Biker:
  • Badass Family: Judge Fargo and his bloodline are full of badasses. The man himself founded the Judge system and cleaned up crime in the Mega Cities. His clone "sons" Joseph Dredd and Rico Dredd became some of the best Judges in the force (before Rico went bad), and Joe's own clones Rico (II) and Dolman became another highly-capable Judge and a Space Marine, respectively. Rico's daughter Vienna is a normal citizen, but can handle herself in a gunfight. And Fargo's mutant relatives in the Cursed Earth get this status just for surviving the Death World they live in. Old Stoneface, Rico, Dolman, and Vienna even formed an informal family eventually.
  • Badass Moustache: Judge Guthrie sports one. His moustache is so badass that when he loses his limbs and part of his head in an explosion, it's the only part of him that manages to survive unscathed.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Chief Judge Cal routinely berates judges for minor infractions. For example, one judge loses a button from his uniform and is ordered to perform all his duties in his underwear for the remainder of the story arc.
    • When War Marshal Kazan's subordinates screw up or even tell of progress, he sends them to Siberia. With no winter clothing. Later, he gets more creative by ordering the Judge who let Dredd escape, inadvertently causing the destruction of East Meg One, to play a daily game of Russian Roulette.
    • When the Dark Judges still had a Judge force under their clawed thumbs to participate in their campaign to annihilate the living, they eagerly massacred their living minions for various infractions. When the whole civilian population was dead, the four undead ones finally killed the rest of the Judges because they had no more use for them.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: "Dark Judges: Dominion" is a pretty depressing example. It's told in the form of an Apocalyptic Log by a woman whose space colony was attacked by the Dark Judges, omnicidal monsters who believe all life to be a crime. After starting a Zombie Apocalypse they kill everyone on the planet with the last survivor knowing that they'll find her eventually and pledging to save her last bullet for herself.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: When Judge Death recounts how he began his long career of evil in his Origins Episode, the first obvious clue that he was an Enfant Terrible are his early sadistic tendencies of torturing the family dog.
  • Bald Woman: Judge Edgar and Judge Judas, both of whom are bald female Judges.
  • Banana Republic: Latin America's main Mega City Ciudad Baranquilla is run by an incredibly corrupt Justice system which operates more like a mob, with the majority of the population who are forced to live in the poorer districts being extorted on a regular basis for the benefit of the Judge Supremo and his clique. They're eventually removed from power by Mega-City One forces to install a more friendly puppet regime.
  • Bandaged Face: The main character in "The Dead Man" has his face bandaged after being burnt to a crisp. In a shocking turn of events, he turns out to be Dredd himself. Also done when Dredd or any of his relatives either of the Ricos and Judge Fargo, gets injured and needs their helmet removed, the banadages are always conveniently wrapped from the nose upwards to conceal their face.
  • Bandit Clan:the Angel family, a clan of disfigured misfits who live in the Cursed Earth, preying on the occasional traveler. Also a Cannibal Clan.
  • Banishing Ritual: In the "Necropolis" storyline, Judge Dredd manages to save the city from the Sisters of Death by killing the Psi-Judge that they're using as a bridge to Mega City One, which banishes them back to Deadworld since they otherwise have no physical form in this dimension. The same doesn't apply to the Dark Judges however, who are occupying animated dead bodies that have to be separately destroyed.
  • Batman Gambit: During the Apocalypse War, Dredd and his team managed to get into a Sov nuke silo and launch a missile at them, bypassing their defenses. He then immediately orders his squad to stand down and surrender to the Soviets. When the Judges are being taken up to Kazan's war satellite, they see he's ordered to silo guards to self-destruct, and understand Dredd's intent in having them surrender (otherwise they'd still be down there).
  • Bear Trap: Judge Fear slings around chains with bear traps on the ends.
  • Beneath the Earth: Mega-City One was built right on top of the old cities of the eastern United States, which have since become the Undercity, an inhospitable area now housing feral mutants and various other nasties. It's so dangerous that it's sometimes chosen as an alternative to exile in the Cursed Earth by Judges who take the Long Walk.
  • Best Served Cold: Colonel Borisenko plans his revenge for the destruction of East Meg One and his own blinding over a period of thirty years. He succeeds to an extent, but doesn't quite manage to wipe out the Meg or kill Dredd, but does leave the city in ruins.
  • Betrayal by Offspring: The boy who would one day become Judge Death was inducted into the Justice Academy after he reported his father to the authorities for several murders they had both committed. He even pulled the lever at his dad's execution.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Defied by the Justice Department. They actually have a special morgue to store the bodies of criminals who might one day be revived thanks to future advances in medicine. Not even death is an escape from the Law.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Part of what makes Mega-City One a dystopia is the constant surveillance by the Judges. While they do have the justification of needing to prevent genuine crime rather than just oppressing the people for the hell of it, the city is friggin' brimming with spy drones, public and covert cameras (if they wanted to monitor someone in more detail, they could easily, say, kidnap them, replace one of their eyes with a bionic implant, and then record everything they do) and other forms of Sinister Surveillance.
  • Big Eater: Competitive eating has become a professional sport in the future the comics are set in.
  • Big, Fat Future: "The League of Fatties"
  • The Big Rotten Apple: New York City has been built over and is now known as part of the Undercity. Troggies, mutants and other creatures live down there and some are very dangerous. Some judges choose to take their long walk down there as an alternative to the Cursed Earth.
  • Bilingual Backfire: During an East Meg Two diplomatic visit to Mega City One, two of the Sov Judges talk to each other in their native tongue while ogling Hershey's arse. She retorts in their own language that they better keep their eyes in check.
  • Bit Part Bad Guys: Generally any of the petty criminals Dredd deals with on a daily basis are this, particularly in one shot strips. Even in some of the Mega Epics, Dredd can be seen cracking skulls or getting into firefights with minor criminals while musing over the greater storyline.
  • Black and Gray Morality: A very large portion of the stories fall into this. Dredd is a straight-up fascist protagonist, after all. His enemies have included a genius Serial Killer, an apocalyptic President Evil, a warmongering Soviet military junta, a deranged head judge who wanted to execute the whole city, and an undead Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Black Comedy: A core element of the later comics. For example the first place to get hit by a nuke in the apocalypse war is the reclamation project for the city block that was nuked out by a mad pirate in a hijacked nuke station 6 months earlier. We even get to see one of the workers noticing the incoming missile... The same block is also named after Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the Manhattan Project.
  • Black Like Me: A group of humans noticed that the townships mutants were exiled to under Chief Judge Sinfield actually had far more freedoms than Mega-City One did, and so disguised themselves as mutants to join them. Unfortunately for them, the Justice Department's black ops division noticed and sent an assassin after them so no one else would get any bright ideas.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands:
    • Deconstructed in an early story during Dredd's tour as Marshall of Luna-1. Dredd shoots a Sov judge's gun out of his hand when two of them attempt to execute a murderer outside their jurisdiction. Dredd succeeds in disarming the Sov judge in this manner, but the shot richochets off the gun and kills the other Sov judge, leading to war between Luna-1 and East Meg 1. At this point in the strip, war is reduced to a sport fought between two teams of soldiers, so it's not as bad as full scale war.
    • Dredd can do this, but most of the time prefers to just blow an enemy's hand off.
  • Blind and the Beast:
    • Judge Death successfully hid inside a Mega-City One apartment for several weeks because the old landlady was almost completely blind and deaf. He seemed to be a bit amused by her obliviousness and ignored her, but her other tenant wasn't so lucky.
    • The Megazine had a story where a blind Mega-City One citizen stumbled upon Judge Fear sitting on a park bench but didn't notice that he was an alien ghoul and sat down next to him. They had a fairly pleasant conversation while the bodies of joggers, families, and Judges who got too close to Fear's deadly gaze kept piling up in front of them.
  • Blind Mistake: The elderly Mrs. Gunderson, who's both near-blind and practically deaf, does this all the time, such as walking into a wall when she's looking for the door or pouring a drink on somebody's plate. She never even suspected that her former tenant 'Jay De'ath' was an alien superfiend in hiding.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three most well-known female Judges fit this mold: Judge Anderson (blonde), Judge Hershey (brunette), and Judge DeMarco (redhead).
  • Blood Bath: A Dredd strip published in the "Judge Dredd Mega Special 1995" concerns a pop singer who retained his youth and good looks through The Dark Arts, human sacrifice, and bathing in blood—the literal blood bath being implied to be the most crucial step in the singer's rejuvenation rituals. Strangely enough, 22nd Century technology has made several means of rejuvenation (including some that are legal) readily available to Mega-City One citizens, which makes it a bit odd to see somebody taking this route instead.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Judge Dredd is pretty cynical and violent to start with, but Heavy Metal Dredd is packed with Ludicrous Gibs and everyone being Made of Plasticine. That's prettty much all there is to it, all the political themes and moral ambiguity surrounding an Anti-Hero like Dredd that make the 2000 AD continuity an interesting read have been excised in favor of balls-to-the-wall splatter.
  • Blood Knight:
    • Dredd wants nothing more than to be on the streets. He's most at home when he's there, busting heads. He has turned down the Chief Judge's position on numerous occasions and any time he's behind a desk or his time on the council, he is deeply uncomfortable. He lampshades this on his return from Luna 1, noting that he lives in a Wretched Hive, but he loves it.
    • Failed cadets tend to become department auxiliaries, Rangers or Space Corps Marines on account of how their training has conditioned them.
  • Bond One-Liner: Judge Dredd and few other characters occasionally fire one off.
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: The department stumbles across a batch of clones made from stolen genetic material of serving judges and imprisons a Hershey clone. The clone escapes and takes a judge's Lawgiver. She manages to make use of it by removing the judge's hand and using that to operate the weapon.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: Defied when a pair of Bonnie and Clyde wannabes run into Judge Death in the Cursed Earth. They're so high on drugs during their killing spree that they don't even seem to notice that their companion is a bit on the lifeless side. The girl actually offers herself to their new friend after her boyfriend goes to sleep, but he just shoves his claw through her chest, pointing out that he's long past that particular stage.
  • Bounty Hunter: Many of these work the Cursed Earth in true Old West tradition. Many ex-Judges have taken on this line of work after taking The Long Walk.
  • Brain in a Jar: In one (unnamed) story, a wealthy old man abducted a young man and had his own brain implanted in the young man's body. Dredd caught him and sentenced him to "life," while making sure the "stolen property" — the young man's body — was returned to his mother for burial. This left the old man's brain in a jar, completely helpless and unable to communicate.
  • Brain Transplant: At the end of "America", the narrator Bennet Beeny witnesses his soulmate America Jara be gunned down by the Judges in a failed terrorist attack on the Statue of Liberty. After America is declared braindead, Beeny has his brain placed in America's body so they can still be together. In a later story, Beeny's new body begins to shut down because it's rejecting the implant.
  • Brainwashed: During the Apocalypse War, Chief Judge Griffin was captured and brainwashed by East Meg One forces to sing the praises of the Soviet occupiers. As security was too tight to mount a rescue, Judge Dredd had to assassinate him instead.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Judge Death likes to do this to some of his victims, mind controlling them to go on killing sprees. He made Judge Kraken an honorary Dark Judge to help in carrying out "judgment" on the people, leaving Kraken aware enough to know what he's doing and being able to do nothing but weep as he slayed. Several Death impersonators also went crazy and started to think they actually were Death.
  • Brainwash Residue: After Judge Kraken is captured following his participation in the Judda incursion, he undergoes an extensive deprogramming to counter the brainwashing used by Morton Judd. However, some traces of his Judda past still remain, which is later used by the Sisters of Death to bring Kraken under their own control.
  • Breakout Character:
    • It's easy to forget that Judge Dredd didn't debut in 2000 AD until Prog 2. He's appeared in every issue since then and even got his own monthly magazine.
    • Judge Dredd has its own example in the psychic Judge Anderson, who was introduced in the same comic that introduced recurring villain Judge Death as one of the monster judge's unfortunate victims when she sacrifices herself to trap him inside a Boing-encased Anderson-shaped can. Her looks (based on Debbie Harry initially) and free-spirited jest in contrast with Dredd's signature gruffness made her so popular that she was brought back and even got her own spinoff, Anderson: Psi-Division.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Marty Zpok, aka The Muzak Killer, prefers twentieth century music and commits his murders with antique weapons (9mm rounds are considered long obsolete in the Dreddverse).
  • Break the Cutie: Bennett Beeny starts out as an ordinary citizen, growing up with his friend (and unrequited love), America. America becomes a democratic campaigner and, later, a member of Total War, while Benny finds success and fortune with his comedy music numbers. They reunite while Benny is looking for a slabwalker and his throat is shot out by Total War. America and Benny spend a night together before America asks for money to destroy the Statue Of Liberty in a symbolic gesture. Benny sells Total War out to Justice Department on the condition that America not be harmed. Unfortunately, one judge ignores Dredd's ceasefire order and shoots her. From there, Benny' musical output takes on a sadder tone as he transplants his own brain into America's body so that he'll always be with her.
  • Break the Fake: During a routine inspection of the Dark Judges' containment unit, Dredd smashes the Crystal Orb containing Judge Death after noticing that the spirit inside it doesn't move. A rookie Judge instinctively draws his gun (not that it would have helped), but Dredd explains that the crystals were designed NOT to be breakable by anything less than a high explosive device, proving that the real orb was switched for a fake one.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: During the Total War arc, a citizen reports one of the thermonuclear devices hidden in his scrapyard by terrorists. The terrified cit loses control of his bladder when the Judges carefully remove the device to detonate it in the Cursed Earth, but one of the Judges assures him that fear of being incinerated is nothing special.
  • Bungled Suicide: At the start of the "Necropolis" arc, Chief Judge Silver tries to commit suicide with his Lawgiver pistol when he realizes that he's inadvertently handed over his city to the Dark Judges on a silver platter. He botches the attempt, consigning himself to a Fate Worse than Death instead.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
    • Psi division is portrayed as this, the idea being a more relaxed attitude is a tradeoff for psionic powers. Anderson in particular is shown to be rather flippant with her superiors. However, in recent years, Psi division is increasingly portrayed as a laughingstock within the department.
    • The "Wally Squad" (the undercover division) is also tolerated for being a bit weird, as the nature of their work means they have to fit in with strange people.
  • Buried in a Pile of Corpses:
    • Zigzagged Trope. After Necropolis, Judge Death hides among the mountain of corpses of his own victims to avoid the manhunt for him. However, he's already a zombie to begin with.
    • In Dominion and The Torture Garden, Rosco evades the Dark Judges several times by hiding among the piles of corpses they've created. The first time, she had simply been knocked out during the slaughter, the second time it's intentional.
  • Burn the Orphanage:
    • On at least one occasion Judge Death went on a killing spree in an orphan shelter, and later, a maternity ward in a bet to lure Judge Anderson into a trap and kill her, knowing that she would immediately race to the children's rescue.
    • His colleague Judge Fire gained his name when he burned down an elementary school with eighteen hundred students inside (on the basis of "noise pollution") even before they all became undead monsters.
  • Burn the Undead:
    • During the "Judgment Day" arc, the Mega-City One Judges have to set their own city wall on fire to delay the invasion of zombies from the Cursed Earth.
    • Subverted in the case of the Dark Judges, who can only be slowed down by the Lawgiver's incendiary bullets (and Judge Fire is obviously immune). It will destroy the host body, but their spirits can then roam free to find a new one.
  • The Bus Came Back: Characters have been known to reappear decades after they were Put on a Bus.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Because he deals with hundreds if not thousands of perps daily, Dredd can hardly be expected to remember them all. During the strip's 10th anniversary, the villain from the first strip escapes and demands Dredd to come to him. Dredd's narration asks who he even is.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Dredd will follow Justice Dept.'s codes and regulations to the letter. Even in the rare event that Dredd lets a personal matter affect his decisions (big no-no for Mega-City Judges), he'll always be the first (and, usually, the only) Judge to call for his own removal from the force... though he's always talked out of it by his superiors, especially the Chief Judge.

    C 
  • Cain and Abel: Dredd and his brother, Rico. Origins establishes that Eustace and Ephram Fargo were this way as well, though not as bad as Dredd and Rico were.
  • The Caligula: Judge Cal, who took over Mega-City One and ruled it... insanely.
  • Caligula's Horse: Cal appointed his pet goldfish as Deputy Chief Judge.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Dredd and most other judges, thanks to voice activated lawgivers (this option can be disabled and ammo can be switched manually if the judge needs to go quiet) and radio commands for the lawmasters. Still, it gets a bit silly when judges start shouting "Boot knife!"
  • Cannibal Larder: When Judge Death first met the Sisters of Death, he was in awe of their "temple of death", meaning a killing lair with freshly dismembered human corpses used for human sacrifice and cannibalism by the Sisters.
  • Canon Foreigner: The IDW continuity introduces Pachoda and the nine deputy Dark Judges.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • Fargo's first name, Eustace, was originally used in the DC version.
    • The Stun setting for the Lawgiver was originally used in the Lawman Of The Future continuity.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • In "Dominion", the only reason Judge Death doesn't murder both of the crew members of the spaceship that bumped into him is so that he can use that person as a host, figuring that subterfuge works better for getting to the nearest seat of power. Of course, eventually the guy does outlive his usefulness.
    • In "The Torture Garden", the Dark Judges practically make a sport out of this. Having captured all the remaining survivors on Dominion, they've started "rationing" them, only killing one human each every ten days. If their captives can't figure out a reason to buy themselves more time (like keeping the rest of the prisoners in line or telling an amusing joke), they're next on the chopping block.
  • Captain Ersatz: Judge Koburn is essentially Major Eazy armed with a Lawgiver instead of a revolver, since Carlos Ezquerra recycled the character design. Eazy himself was based heavily on James Coburn.
  • Carpet of Virility: Dredd has been shown to have plenty of hair on his chest. Possibly it's a remnant of the time he was a werewolf, given that he's completely hairless in early stories.
  • The Cassandra: Subverted with Psi Judge Cassandra Anderson. As Mega-City One's most powerful psychic, her predictions are generally taken very seriously by everyone.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Zigzagged Trope. The Mega Cities have explored and colonized much of space beyond the solar system and have regular contact with alien civilizations. It seems to depend largely on the type and quality of spaceship you're using that determines how long the actual journey is, since there are also Generation Ships.
  • Casualty in the Ring: There's a story where the corrupt Judges of post-apocalyptic Las Vegas strike a deal with Judge Death (an undead Omnicidal Maniac) to participate in several boxing matches in exchange for weapons of mass destruction so he can wipe out humanity. Predictably, every fight only lasts several seconds and ends with a Gorny death in the ring.
  • Catapult Nightmare: When Dredd is taking a few hours in a sleeping pod and has a nightmare about Judge Fargo, he wakes up so rudely that he actually bangs his head against the glass.
  • Catchphrase: "I am the Law", which has become iconic of the series. Also, the Dark Judges' "The crime is life. The sentence is death", and Anderson's "Grud on a greenie!"
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Many characters are based upon real people. One gang even uses face change technology to commit crimes as various comedic personalities, including Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and the Marx Brothers.
  • Celibate Hero:
    • Dredd, as Judges in Mega-City 1 are not allow to have romantic relationships.
    • Subverted by Judge Fargo, the founder of the Judges. He instituted the laws against fraternization himself, but without having been trained by the Academy he couldn't shut out his own desires for romance. When this was discovered, he tried to shoot himself for failing his own laws.
    • Averted by both the Wally Squad and the Holocaust Squad, who are given special dispensation. Wallies get this due to the undercover nature of their work. The Holocaust Squad is essentially the Mega City One's equivalent to Kamikaze pilots, responding to the worst disasters.
    • Also averted by some other countries Judges who are allowed to have personal relationships.
    • Averted by a number of Long Walk judges, since it's outside the department's jurisdiction.
  • Celebrity Paradox: A story in an early issue of 2000 AD had Dredd busting an smuggling ring dealing in antique comic books. At the end of the story, he learns that the haul includes copies of a particularly valuable title: that unrivalled 20th-century classic, 2000 AD.
  • Cement Shoes: During the gang war between the Ape Gang and the East Side Mob, a high-ranking member of the East Side Mob gets the cement boot treatment.
  • Chainsaw Good: So many perps have made use of chainsaws as murder implements and general close combat weaponry over the years that Justice Department had to upgrade their standard issue Daystick with a titanium core in order to provide street judges adequate defence against chainsaw attacks.
  • Chekhov's Army: The New Mutant Army is introduced in Damned Ranger as a rebel group within the Cursed Earth, fighting against judicial control. They turn up again in Origins under the command of U.S. President "Bad" Bob Booth.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • PJ Maybe, who commits his murders in a very complicated and ostentatious fashion.
    • Anatoli Kazan is a literal example, as he's always seen sitting at a chessboard.
    • Judge Smiley, the original head of Black Ops division is this also, having orchestrated The Cold Deck.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: The story of America Jara and Bennett Beeny in "America". They both grew up in the same city block, but America always had a rebellious spirit while Beeny always considered himself a coward. They moved apart as America joined the democratic movement to end the Judges' totalitarian rule and ended up destitute, while Beeny tried to play it save and ended up a succesful but ultimately unhappy musician. They find each other years later and have a one-night-stand, but America is soon killed during an arrest. Beeny transfers his brain to America's comatose body so they can still be together.
  • Citadel City: Megacities have massive defenses against infiltration from the Cursed Earth, strategic and tactical air defense, and armed forces such as the Judges.
  • The City Narrows: Sector 301, dubbed "The Pit", had a reputation as the most crime-ridden area of Mega-City One. It was unofficially being used as a dumping ground for the most incompetent members of the Justice Department, causing a spike in police corruption and ineffectiveness until Dredd was sent in to clean house.
  • City of Adventure: Mega City One, being the sprawling megalopolis that it is, always has something going on, be it rampant crime, weird hobbies, alien invasions or supernatural events.
  • City of Weirdos: Many citizens have strange hobbies in order to combat the mass boredom that the citywide level of unemployment of 87% brings.
  • Clone Army: The universe features extensive cloning by the police force to which the titular Judge Dredd belongs. Dredd is a clone himself and on occasion has to fight his "brothers" who have gone rogue. This is taken Up to Eleven by The Judda, a fringe faction of the Judges lead by a man named Morton Judd, who intended to replace the citizens of Mega-City One with clones who had been bred to be more complacent. When this failed, he and his followers escaped into the Australian outback with a batch of cloning material, and spent decades cloning an army, with the intent of taking over Mega City One in a coup.
  • Cloning Blues: Generally averted in Dredd's case. He's a clone of Chief Judge Fargo, as was his corrupt brother Rico, the insane Kraken, the second Rico, and at least 7 others, but it only rarely bothers him. Played straight with Kraken, though.
  • Cloning Body Parts: Cloning technology has developped to the point where both cloning full people and body parts is possible. Judge Logan was able to get a new arm after losing it in the line of duty.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Chief Judge MacGruder in her second stint as Chief Judge. Having taken the long walk, Dredd meets up with her during the "Necropolis" arc. Several years in the cursed earth has taken its toll on both her body and her sanity, and she only gets worse, until she has to be ousted from power.
    • There are so many citizens that fall under this trope in Mega City One that they can apply for a Mental Card which gives them an extra 12.70 Credits per week in their welfare payments.
    • Mrs. Gunderson, on account of being near blind and hard of hearing. However, this has been shown to be to her benefit. She's one of the few people to have survived an encounter with Judge Death, on account of her being his landlady when he went into hiding after Necropolis. Dredd has Walter the Wobot move in with her to serve her.
  • Les Collaborateurs:
    • When the East Meggers invaded Mega City One during the Apocalypse War, some citizens rallied to their side. Dredd at one point executes a batch to make an example out of them.
    • During Necropolis, almost the entire Justice Department helped the Dark Judges and the Sisters of Death with the genocide they carried out in Mega City One.
  • Colonized Solar System: Many deep space colonies were formed before and after the Atomic Wars. While some remain loyal to Earth, many are independent states, and others still face violent insurgencies to gain independence. The Moon is covered in colonies, both controlled by Earth's mega cities and independent; Titan has a judicial penal colony where corrupt judges are sent, references are made to colonies on Mars, and Mega City One is known to have deep space missile silos on Pluto.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Everyone. Since one of the subjects at the Academy of Law is actually called Applied Violence, it's safe to say that being a Combat Pragmatist is a requirement for Judges.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Several Creeps have this as a theme.
  • Combat Stilettos: Female Judges may have them, Depending on the Artist (especially if that artist is Brian Bolland).
  • Combat Tentacles: usually found among the mutant populations and some robots have been seen to have them.
  • Comicbook Fantasy Casting:
    • During his tour of duty in Luna-1, Dredd ran into a lawyer who looked exactly like Rondo Hatton. Dredd uses a face change machine to assume his identity and arrest the lawyer's clients. As a shout-out to the face model, "Rondo Hatton" is listed in the Luna-1 phone book when Dredd looks up the culprits of the crime-of-the-week.
    • During "Blood Trails", the villain is a Sov agent codenamed Pasha. Pasha's real appearance is a dead ringer for Vin Diesel.
    • Anderson is based on Debbie Harry.
  • Comicbook Time: Averted; Dredd canonically ages in line with the strip itself (one year's worth of published stories equals one year passed within the comics). However, due to the enchanced biology the clone Judges have, Dredd ages much slower than a normal human.
  • Consummate Professional: Dredd upholds the law like NO ONE in any other medium does.
  • Consulting a Convicted Killer: One brief Story Arc followed Dredd aiming to catch a spree-killer in Mega-City One who disintegrates his victims' bodies, only leaving their right hands. Noting similarities to a past case involving a spree-killer who had a similar motive with left hands, which Dredd had solved, Dredd consults with the perpetrator of the original crimes, now in an iso-cube. The prisoner requests that he get "a cube with a view" for his assistance, but Dredd convinces him to provide insight unconditionally after threatening him. The prisoner then divulges what he could assume about his Copycat Killer, the most important part being that the suspect must come from Brit-Cit because that's the only place the prisoner's original crimes are given any recognition.
  • Continuity Drift:
    • Judges seem to have originally been portrayed as an elite unit within the regular police force, and some early strips feature non-Judge cops as redshirts. Nowadays, the entire police force is composed of Judges.
    • The first published comic describes Dredd as operating in New York City and as having been elected to his post. Later, New York was revised to just part of Mega City One, and Judges were presented as having passed through an intense years-long training program before being graduated to duty with no election necessary.
  • Continuity Nod: The comic has been going on for 30+ years, what did you think? Many stories will have casual references dropped to past storylines and events, especially regarding the Mega Epics.
  • Cool Bike: The Lawmaster is the standard bike for street judges. Fast, powerful and equipped with a pair of cannons, it can also be voice activated to perform certain actions, such as fire support and automated movement. It also has sufficient cargo capacity to carry rations and drinking water for patrolling judges.
  • Cool Gun: The Lawgiver pistol, a standard street judge side arm with six types of Abnormal Ammo which can be selected by voice and is fired either individually for precision or rapid-fire for knockdown power.
  • Cool Helmet: In addition to providing protection against gunshots and the like, judge helmets come with built-in respirators, night vision, thermal vision and sound amplification to assist them in their duties.
  • Cop Killer Manhunt: The Judges of the Mega Cities, considering they have Judge, Jury, and Executioner built into their job, already have the authority to pass out sentences as they wish. However, (attempted) murder of a Judge is considered among the most serious offenses and always carries an instant death penalty.
  • Cosplay:
    • Cosplaying as the Judges for any reason is illegal because the uniform is restricted property — the Justice Department is more than aware of perps impersonating police officers for nefarious reasons.
    • Cosplaying as any of the Dark Judges is legal, but not advised. Judge Death's soul is so evil that anyone wearing a facsimile of his uniform tends to become Ax-Crazy and starts killing cits.
  • Counter-Earth: Hestia is a planet which orbits the Sun at nearly the same distance as the Earth but at such an angle to the ecliptic plane that it was not discovered until 2009. It is inhabited by a small colony of humans and an intelligent indigenous population who keep their distance from the colonists. The planet is also home of the lethal Dune Sharks (flying shark-like predators which can burrow beneath the ground).
  • The Coup:
    • The Judges got into power by staging a coup against the President Evil who plunged the world into nuclear war, justifying it as a necessary action to overthrow a tyrant. Then they absorbed the army as well for siding with the President, and suspended both the Senate and Congress for their inaction, leaving Justice Department the sole government apparatus.
    • Judge Bachman, the head of black ops, tries to stage a coup against Chief Judge Hershey in Trifecta. Her plan involved brainwashing people to follow a bogus cult so they would be willing to sacrifice themselves, and building a new Mega City on the moon to replace the old one.
    • Judge Death and his Dark Judges got into power by staging a coup of their own in their home dimension. There was a bloody insurrection for a while when they started to consolidate their control over Justice Department. Not every Judge was exactly onboard with the whole "life is illegal" new course.
  • Covers Always Lie: Judge Dredd Megazine issue #59 depicted a forbidden bedroom sexual encounter between Judge Dredd and Judge Galen DeMarco on the outside cover. However, in the actual story, while they both feel tempted to break those rules, it never goes any further than a "Shut Up" Kiss in an entirely different setting.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Played with during Dredd's first battle with the rogue robot Call-Me-Kenneth. Dredd shot the robot's head off, but this had no immediate effect, as Call-Me-Kenneth's "brain" was located in an armoured cavity in his chest. However, it did render Call-Me-Kenneth blind, which proved to be the deciding factor in the battle.
  • Crapsack World: After the Atomic War of 2070, most of the Earth has been reduced to a radioactive wasteland populated by mutants, warlords, and exiles. Most of the remaining population has congregated into sprawling Mega Cities, all of which are totalitarian states under martial law. The rest of the world isn't much better either. The Atlantic is severely polluted, the self-proclaimed Mongolian Free State is a safe haven for criminals, the Mediterranean coast has been ravaged by mutagens, two giant deserts have formed in Africa, and some places, such as Indonesia, are completely lawless. Inside Mega-City-One (Dredd's city, covering the U.S. East Coast), 97% of the population is unemployed, there is a massive suicide and crime rate, and such harsh book laws that people can be arrested simply for the possibility that they might be hiding something. Mutants in the megacities live under a system of apartheid, with expulsion as the worst punishment possible. Insurgencies, attempted revolutions, and terrorist attacks are all disturbingly frequent, and every few years the city has to cope with threats from without when it is again attacked by other Mega Cities, alien invaders, or a group of extradimensional monsters obsessed with destroying all life.
  • Crazy-Prepared: One story has Dredd trying to deal with a slightly-jerky Superman Expy, who happily admits that the only thing he's vulnerable to is the radioactive debris of his exploded home planet. Unfortunately for the Expy, the judges keep the radioactive debris of a large number of exploded planets on hand just in case of something like this.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Judges are sometimes named after writers and artists on the series. For instance, the list of Judges who graduated in Dredd's year includes Wagner and Gibson, obvious references to writer John Wagner and artist Ian Gibson. Interestingly, Judge Gibson turns up in a later story as a corrupt cop in the first arcs dealing with corrupt Judges.
    • Gibson's appearance appears to be a continuity patch following the reference - after the gag, Dredd's clone-brother Rico turned up. He hadn't been listed with the others, so the story with Judge Gibson being investigated and struck off the list was added to explain his absence.
    • There was also a Judge Findlay.
    • Cam Kennedy appeared as Kenny Who?
    • John Wagner appeared as a villain in Old Pals Act.
    • Greg Staples drew himself as a judge in Class of '79.
  • Creepy Souvenir:
    • One short story centered on a man trying to become famous by growing the world's largest nose — and falling afoul of a collector of body oddities, who wanted to mount the nose on a plaque. Eventually, Judge Dredd finds his hideout, with an extensive collection of heads, arms, and other parts, each one notable in some way — and each one taken forcibly and likely fatally.
    • Dave Duchese was a serial killer who acquired the monicker "The Orthodonist" because he kept his victims' teeth as souvenirs.
  • Crossover: With several of its 2000 AD stablemates.
  • Crystal Ball: In a Dark Judges story published in New Scientist, "No Future", Judge Death and his cohorts are seen observing Judges Dredd and Anderson through a crystal ball from their home dimension.
  • Crystal Prison: Whenever they're not wreaking havoc throughout Mega-City One, the Dark Judges tend to be contained in special crystal orbs designed to hold their spirit forms. The crystals in turn are kept in a Tailor-Made Prison.
  • Cult: Far too many to count. Let's just say that in a city as big as Mega-City One, there are quite a few crackpot cults and religions led by wannabe godheads that the Judges have dismantled. The scarier examples aren't beyond human sacrifice or even worship monsters like the Dark Judges.
  • Curious Qualms of Conscience: A long time problem for Judge Dredd, as he's not always able to ignore that a strict interpretation of the law sometimes leads to injustice for individuals, even though it might be best for the society as a whole. After the "Democracy" arc his doubts about the "Big Lie" (that the Judges supposedly know what's best for the people) become so bad that he resigns and goes to live in the Cursed Earth for the better part of a year.
  • Cyborg:
    • Fairly common in the 'verse. Mean Machine Angel, Nero Nercos and Judge Guthrie are notable examples.
    • Hell, people forget DREDD HIMSELF is a cyborg. He doesn't have any obvious or superhuman enhancements, but he does have a few cybernetic internal organs from years of abuse, and both his eyes are artificial after he was blinded in one storyline. The cybernetic eyes actually give him enhancements like night vision and targeting assistance when shooting, and he remarked after they were installed that he should have gotten them replaced years ago.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The conflict between Mega City One and their 'Sov Block' counterpart East Meg One resulted in a continuous cycle of revenge. The United States and the Soviet Union were old enemies until the dissolution of the countries into their respective Mega-Cities after the Atomic War of 2070. East Meg One then attempted an invasion of Mega City One during the Apocalyse War of 2104 after nuking half of their enemy's city. Judge Dredd retaliated by leading a strike team to turn the tide by nuking all of East Meg One. The remnants of their military swore revenge, the Fourth Faction of which engineered a synthetic plague to release inside Mega City One in the Day of Chaos 30 years later. The Judges eventually eliminated every key member of the Fourth Faction but were unable to stop the disease's spread, ending in 350 million deaths and the city reduced to a shadow of its former self.

    D 
  • Da Chief: Dredd himself is forced to become this for a time during The Pit arc.
  • Dancing Pants: Dredd was issued a new uniform for on-street evaluation that came with an onboard AI that could detect criminals more easily and act as a sort of Powered Armor. However, the fashion designer who created the uniform gave it a personality similar to his own and began executing perps for "crimes against fashion." When Dredd disagreed with this, the uniform removed itself from Dredd's body and went on a rampage until Dredd was able to bring it down.
  • Darker and Edgier: Early Judge Dredd stories were typical sci-fi fare for the time, and Judge Dredd was tough, but fair. As time went on, stories became more grim and Dredd's and Justice Dept.'s authoritarian and dictatorial undertones would be made increasingly more apparent and more horrific.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Dark Judges are undead lawmen from an Alternate Dimension who are obsessed with destroying all life. When they took over Mega City One during the "Necropolis" arc, their allies the Sisters of Death notably blacked out all sunlight in the city to make it as cold and dark as their black hearts.
  • The Dead Can Dance: During the "Judgment Day" arc, the Necromancer villain Sabbat creates a bunch of zombie Elite Mooks who proceed to attack Judge Dredd's strike team while dancing and singing about how they love murder.
  • The Dead Have Eyes: In the story where the other three Dark Judges revive Judge Death by using the corpse of some unlucky citizen as his new vessel, there's a panel showing Death's eyes flickering open before he dons his helmet. Same deal in The Torture Garden after part of his helmet gets blown off, showing a fleshy, bloodshot eye underneath.
  • Deadline News: As the Day of Chaos nears its destructive climax, a news reporter who had been assigned to cover the upcoming election in Mega City One sends out one last broadcast to his dead and dying viewers before blowing his brains out on live television.
  • Deadly Environment Prison: Parodied in the very first story, which ends with the perp being sentenced to a prison called Devil's Island — which is a road island surrounded on all sides by a multiple-lane freeway with traffic streaming along it at high speeds at all hours.
  • Deadly Game:
    • One early story featured an underground game show entitled 'You Bet Your Life' where stupid, greedy saps wagered the lives of their closest loved ones (and their own) on trivia questions.
    • Another was about a failed game show host who put his old rivals through a crazy contest with endless fatal results (i.e. "Congratulations! You win a golden bullet!" BAM!).
    • A third story involved a quiz show where a contestant's correct answers would allow him to pick a number between 1 and 10 which would spring a booby trap in his rival contestant's own city block, causing major property damage therein. One of the numbers triggers a flesh disintegrator planted beneath the contestant's own seat. The show's host didn't particularly care if correct answers were actually given, however, and would let contestants pick a number, anyway, no matter what.
    • There was a fourth one where people would confess to crimes and be arrested by Judges. It was stopped after it caused crime rates to go up.
    • Actual wars between cities in Dredd are sometimes conducted as a Deadly Game between small teams of Judges representing each city, as a less-destructive alternative to nuking still more of the planet. Such wars are always televised, complete with running sportscaster-style commentary.
  • Deadly Gaze: Judge Fear is a zombified Judge whose trademark move is to force his victims to stare directly at his face (normally concealed by his helmet), which shapes itself to the person's worst fears.
  • Deadly Training Area: To best simulate the real street and combat situations all Mega-City One Judges face, only live ammunition and explosives are used on training courses at the Academy of Law. If a cadet survives making even the slightest mistake on the courses, they are immediately expelled from the Academy.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dredd and Anderson.
  • Death Faked for You: Chief Judge Fargo had his failed suicide attempt covered up by the department, who staged a heroic death in the line of duty for him for public relations reasons.
  • Death World:
    • The Cursed Earth, the nuke-blasted wastelands outside of the few surviving Mega-Cities, inhabited only by mutants, criminals and exiled lawmen.
    • Even worse is Deadworld, the home dimension of Judge Death. All life is illegal. After Death destroyed it, it's nothing but a ruinous wasteland filled with piles of bones and deserted buildings. Venture there, and the undead custodians will persecute you to the full extent that their law allows.
  • Deer in the Headlights: In "Necropolis", a group of student Judges led by Cadet Giant try to escape the hellworld that Mega-City One has become after its takeover by the Dark Judges. When they're pursued by the skull-headed Judge Mortis, several of them simply give up in the face of the undead abomination. Giant has to blast off Mortis's head to shake them out of their coma.
  • Deface of the Moon: The face of the moon is used for advertising, albeit with a projected image rather than physically altering the landscape (moonscape?). One perp hijacks the projector to say "Judge Dredd wears a bra!"
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: The Dark Judges are Defeated on multiple occasions.
  • A Degree in Useless: College courses in Mega City One tend to be extremely niche with Pan-African Literature and 22nd Century Robo-Romantic Music being just two examples. And since the unemployment rate is 87% due to automation, even citizens with useful skillsets have difficulty finding work, let alone someone who took Advanced Posing.
  • Deliberately Bad Example: Judge Dredd is an authoritarian Judge, Jury, and Executioner, but his arch-nemesis Judge Death is the same type of Judge, Jury, and Executioner who reasoned that since crime is only committed by the living, life itself must be punished with death. Yes, even for someone as ruthless as Dredd, there is a far worse alternative.
  • Democracy Is Bad: Because Humans Are Morons. When the reinstitution of democracy was up for a vote, the majority chose to have the Judges remain in power, partially due to the terrorist actions committed by the pro-democracy movement, and partially because no one except a handful of Judges even remembered what democracy was even like anymore.
  • Demonic Possession:
    • When the Dark Judges are in their ghost forms they can control human vessels, especially those with psychic abilities. To manifest in their true forms, however, they require specially-prepared corpses.
    • There are also "regular" demonic possessions in Mega-City One, although they're pretty rare, no more than 20 cases or so a year (in a population of 400 million). There's a department of Psi-Division specifically devoted to demonology because of this.
  • Dented Iron: Being one of the oldest active Judges, Dredd's body has taken a lot of beatings over the years, to where it's fully covered in scars and makes him unrecognizable when he briefly resigns and takes the Long Walk.
  • Depending on the Artist:
    • In Carlos Ezquerra's original strips, Dredd had a rather sleeker, more police-like uniform; the modern, chunkier, big-booted look was created by Mike McMahon. Throughout the comic, his chin varies between prominent and ridiculous. In recent strips, as he's been getting older, his wrinkles have also been subject to artistic interpretation; while Colin MacNeil draws him with fairly smooth but weathered skin, Leigh Gallaher makes him look like a truly old man.
    • Since the Judges updated their iconic Lawgivers to the Mark II version, the depiction of that gun has gone through a strange amount of variance. General shifts in the gun's bulkiness is one thing, but some artist change what it arguably the gun's most recognizable feature, the half-circle ammo indicator, to a flat row of lights. Some artists occasionally still draw it as a Mark I.
    • The Dark Judges have been portrayed as both bizarro zombie-judges with green skin and claws, as well as truly disgusting creatures who seem to be falling apart at the seems.
  • Depending on the Writer: In some of the early stories, Pat Mills wrote Dredd as a straight up hero, as opposed to John Wagner's depiction as an Anti-Hero.
  • Depopulation Bomb: At its height, Mega-City One had a population of 800 million. That was halved during the Apocalypse War, when the southern sections were decimated in an attack by East Meg One, and later dropped to 50 million during Chaos Day. However, immigration has allowed it to rise to 72 million as of 2137.
  • Depraved Dentist:
    • In an origin story, it is revealed that the father of the man who later became Judge Death was an extremely depraved dentist. Not only did he enjoy paralysing his patients instead of anesthesizing them, then tearing out every tooth they had, but he'd also murder them mercilessly to cure them of "brain worms". A healthy role model for the good Judge, no?
    • Dave "The Orthodontist" Duchese was a Serial Killer who kept the teeth of his victims as souvenirs.
  • Descriptiveville: Hondo City covers most of Japan. And of course, Mega City One, but that was properly intentional.
  • The Determinator:
    • Dredd will stop at nothing to achieve his tasks, best exemplefied in the "City of the Damned" story arc in which Dredd loses his eyes and is forced to run a gauntlet of terrifying creatures in an inferno (made all the more worse by Dredd's blindness). When he can no longer walk, he crawls, but he never stops for he is a Judge. And it is his duty. Judge Edgar even notes that this is exactly what makes Dredd such an effective investigator. He won't give up on a case when he's determined to solve it.
    • Similarly, the end of the epic Cursed Earth saga sees Dredd crawl in Mega-City Two out of a sandstorm, having been attacked by killer robots (and that was just the very end of the mission) in order to deliver the 2T(FRU)T vaccine.
    • During "The Dead Man", Yassa notes that Dredd just refuses to die, hence why he survives with such horrific injuries.
    • Judge Prager took the Long Walk by going into the Undercity. Four years into his Walk he saved Dredd's life, but went back underground almost immediately. Even after enforcing the law there for over twenty years and becoming a lycantropic, he still refused to go topside and even managed to gain control over his wolf form.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: In the Dark Justice story that reunites the four Dark Judges, a lot of time is spent to develop their four thousand unfortunate victims who set out on a deep space voyage. The colonists are almost all completely slaughtered after the foursome infiltrates the mission. Dredd and Anderson are Late to the Tragedy, though some survivors manage to stow away on the ship.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Judge Anderson's flippant nature means she'll even mock an undead superfiend like Judge Death to his face.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • When Judge Dredd is confronted by the incarnation of Fear itself, the latter attempts to use his Nightmare Face that causes instant death to any mortal on him. Except Joe drokkin' Dredd is no mere mortal. Gaze into the fist of Dredd!
    • In a one-off story of dubious canonicity, Satan comes to Mega-City One to try and tempt Dredd. Dredd responds by not only refusing his offer, but by beating up Satan, arresting him for the crime of instigating every other crime, and locking him in iso-block 666.
  • Different States of America: Before the Dark Judges slaughtered everyone, the Alternate Universe of Deadworld used to have a state called Tuscarora, which was home to the community of Silver Creek.
  • Disaster Dominoes: One Annual story features a block war where one building falls over due to an explosion in its base, taking five others with it.
  • Disguised in Drag: "Ladies' Night" has Dredd set up an undercover operation to catch a gang that's been attacking women on the street. Three judges are required as bait for the gang, but the sector house is only able to spare two female judges. Judge Macho is forced to play the part of the third woman, complaining that, quite rightly, he won't be able to pass for a woman. It does fool the gang for long enough to get close to him, but his disguise is easily rumbled and he's forced to disarm the gang of the gun they've been using. While he takes down one of them with it, it explodes on him, leaving him wounded. After the gang splits up and is taken down by the two female judges and Dredd, Macho complains that he never wants to go undercover again. The female judges note that Dredd shouldn't have sent a man to do a woman's job.
  • Disney Villain Death: At the end of "The Pit" arc, disgraced ex-Judge Hal Jordan is killed off after he kidnaps Judge DeMarco during a massive riot so he can extort money from her (she is the heiress to a big fortune) but is kicked out off the hovercar by DeMarco. He falls to his death while clutching a bag of money, crushing two rioters in the process.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Played with in a story where a "serial killer" known as the Sex-Mek Slasher was going around carving up robotic prostitutes. Of course, this goes wrong when he mistakes a real hooker with a credit card slot implanted in her back so she can pass as a droid for a sex mek. She survives the encounter and bemoans the fact that, as a real woman, she has to pass herself off as a droid in order to get work.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • PJ Maybe returns to Mega City One to assassinate six people all because they got him kicked off the school play when he was younger.
    • Marty Zpok, aka "The Muzak Killer", went around killing pop stars because he thought modern music was crap. He also cut up a magazine critic with a chainsaw because the critic wrote a review calling him sad.
  • Divided States of America: Following the Atomic War of 2070, all that survived of the USA were its three Mega-Cities (Mega-City One covering much of the East Cost and Ohio, Mega-City Two covering much of the West, and Mega-City Three covering much of Texas and parts of the Mid-West). Mega-City Three gained independence from the other two cities shortly after the war, rechristening itself "Texas City," and by the time the comic's main story begins in 2099 Mega-Cities One and Two are both very much independent from each other as well. The rest of the US lays as barren nuclear wasteland dubbed "The Cursed Earth" with a handful of scattered settlements all around; Las Vegas, however, managed to hold up well enough, compared to the rest of the Cursed Earth at least, for a while... until it was destroyed by Judge Death. Furthermore, Mega-City Two is later overrun during a global zombie invasion during "Judgement Day" and is subsequently wiped off the map in a coordinated nuclear strike by the world's surviving mega cities. The three cities are technically allied, but during major events, such as the Apocalypse War and Necropolis, the other two cities refuse to assist Mega City One.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Some of the stories focusing on interactions between robots and humans have parallels with the history of race relations in America.
    • In the first story featuring uplifted chimpanzee mobster Don Uggie, the uplifted apes are treated as a standard immigrant community, complete with their own ethnic enclave and tropes about the differences between first- and second-generation immigrants.
  • The Don: There's a steep list of notable Mega-City crime bosses throughout the City's history:
    • The Mega-City Mafia which was led by a group of wealthy and corrupt businessmen such as "Cyclops" Pete Runcie, Heck Stokely and Danzo Prezzel, alongside various old-school Mafioso bosses such as Little Caesar Piccante, Pops Pomerantz and Umak Malaparte.
    • The Ape Gang was led by Don Uggie Apelino.
    • Clinton Wendell Moonie, a former astronaut and explorer turned wealthy businessman who owned most of the moon through his Moonie Corp business empire, hence his claim of owning the moon.
    • Nero Narcos, the founder/leader of the Frendz Mob.
    • 'Deguerre', the founder/leader of the Organisation, who's later revealed to be a former Euro-City Detective named Jean-Luc Guillory.
    • The Big Man, the founder/leader of an unnamed organisation comprised of corrupt Judges and Wally Squad members that controls the low life, the underbelly of the Mega-City One, who's later implied to be former Wally Squad Judge Aimee Nixon.
    • Masahisa Yamaguchi, a Hondo-Cit Mob Boss that took over the low life from the Big Man's organisation, "albeit from a considerable distance".
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Subverted. During one of the Dark Judges' invasions of Mega City One, a man whose wife was about to be murdered by Judge Death bravely grabbed a nearby chair and knocked the armored skeletal Hanging Judge over the head. As the monster prepares to stomp him into a pancake, a group of normal Judges force him to flee.
  • Don't Look Back: During the "Apocalypse War" Story Arc, Mega-City One is ravaged by the Soviet city-state East-Meg One to the point where a massive throng of civilians (in the comic, said to be "an estimated 27 million people") are at one point seen making an exodus. One child being carried by his father looks back and says, "Bye-bye city," while his father responds, "Don't look back, boy! You might catch something!"
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: During the Judgment Day Arc, a number of apocalyptic preachers in the city kept warning the citizens about the horrible DOOM that would soon befall on them.
  • Downer Ending:
    • The conclusion to the "Day of Chaos" arc probably has the most depressing ending of any of the mega epics. After all of Justice Department's efforts to stop the Fourth Faction's plans, a combination of carelessness on their parts, bad luck striking multiple times, and the enemy's efficiency leads to the spread of a deadly plague inside Mega City One, culminating in the near-complete destruction of the city. Dredd can only salvage what's left as he sees his city dying before his eyes.
    • After a Hope Spot where Benny and America sleep together, "America" has a Tear Jerker ending with America getting shot and left braindead and Benny transplanting himself into her body. It only gets worse for him, as in "Fading Of The Light", America's body begins to reject him and his informing on America's Total War faction has only made them stronger. In the end, he takes the euthanasia option and sends his daughter to the Academy of Law after he fails to prevent a massacre at the Arnies.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: At the end of "The Wilderness Days", arch-villain Judge Death is thrown into Hell by an ascended man who pursued him for weeks to get justice for his dead family. The angel opens a portal to Hell and Death is dragged off by the souls of the billions of people he had murdered.
  • Dramatic Irony: In the "Origins" prequel special, we're shown young clone brothers Joseph and Rico Dredd as trainee Judges. During one of their assignments they hang back for a brief moment, promising each other that they'll always stay together no matter what. It's already established in the comic's chronology that Rico will eventually turn evil and die by Joe's hands.
  • Dramatic Space Drifting: At the end of "Dark Justice", the four Dark Judges are blasted into the vacuum of space when Dredd, Anderson, and the survivors of the Mayflower escape in the aquatic dome. Dredd notes that for those monsters, floating forever will at least be some kind of justice.
  • The Dreaded: Well, it is sorta in the name...
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: This is intentional in order to create the realistic aura of Anyone Can Die (and stay dead) that is one of the strip's hallmarks, as most people (especially cops) don't get Hollywood death scenes in real life.

    The fate of Judge Giant, Sr. in the prelude to the Apocalypse War as well as multiple supporting characters introduced over the years during Judgment Day and many other instances. Dekker goes out in Judgement Day through a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Duels Decide Everything: One comic included a heavily satirical televised battle between the Soviet and American cities. Each battle is five-on-five, no holds barred, and the winner is awarded a piece of territory. This form of warfare works for a while, but does not prevent a nuclear war later on.
  • Dumb Muscle: Fergie gonna get heavy with you guys!
  • Dystopia: Mega-City One is generally not a nice place to live, being a literal police state beset by crime, terrorism, and other horrors. As the Arc Words go—"Justice has a price. The price is freedom."
  • Dystopian Edict: The Dark Judges come from a parallel dimension where it was decreed that, because all crimes are committed by the living, life itself is a crime, punishable by death.

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