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    E 
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first strip is stated to take place in New York City instead of Mega City One, which is technically true since Mega-City One covers the area where New York once was, and Judges are described as being "elected by the people" to enforce the law. This idea was quickly changed in favour of the current dictatorial system.
    • Regular police appear in The Robot Wars.
    • Pre-90s stories were light, compared to the newer Judge Dredd stuff.
    • Early stories present Dredd as much more of a Jerkass. That's not to say he's not one still, but his early dialogue has him berate people for little to no real reason.
    • Inverted in the pitch strip: Judge Dredd acts very close to his 90s incarnations, shooting criminals, and then a civilian who unwittingly committed a crime (then tried to bribe him) in cold blood.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: During the Apocalypse War, Mega-City One launched a retaliatory nuclear strike against East Meg One by firing 25 TAD missiles, each one of which is capable of leveling a Mega City by itself. East Meg One used a hidden superweapon to teleport the inbound missiles to an alternate Earth where peace had reigned for over a millennium. The planet exploded.
  • Egopolis:
    • Variant: out in the Cursed Earth, there's a town named Fargoville after the first Chief Judge, Eustace Fargo, and whose inhabitants worship him as a deity. Fargo himself, who was a humble public servant, would doubtlessly not have approved.
    • In an alternate universe where East Meg One has won the Apocalypse War, Supreme Judge (formerly War Marshal) Kazan has renamed Mega City One Kazangrad.
  • Elder Abuse: In a short comic, Judge Death tried to use a teleporter to escape imprisonment in Mega-City One, but somehow wound up at a senior citizens gathering in the late 20th century UK. He proceeded to grant everyone an early ticket to the grave before Dredd showed up to recapture him and take him back.
  • Electronic Eyes:
    • How Dredd sees after losing his real ones in "City of the Damned."
    • Paparazzi make use of them, as it's much more convenient than lugging a camera around.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment:
    • Walter the Wobot caught his lisp out of fear when he was attacked by a lynch mob during Call-Me-Kenneth's robot rebellion. It never wore off.
    • Public Defender 314, a robot tasked with representing perps who cannot afford human attorneys in the Justice Dept.'s Court of Appeals, has an impediment that causes him to speak his dramatic actions out loud (e.g. "If the evidence does not support the accusations levied against my client ...pause for emphasis... we must find him innocent.")
  • El Cid Ploy: Dredd dresses the corpse of Spikes Harvey Rotten in a judge's uniform and straps him to a spare bike in order to fool Bad Bob Booth's robot army so he can get away on foot to get the 2T(FRU)T vaccine to Mega City 2.
  • Elite Four: The four Dark Judges, who take the role of Hanging Judge to the ultimate extreme by declaring life illegal. They're composed of Judge Mortis, Judge Fire, Judge Fear, and Judge Death, and are also close analogues for the Four Horsemen: Famine (Mortis), Conquest (Fire), War (Fear), and Death (of course, Death).
  • Elite Zombie: In the story arc "Judgement Day", the Judges are fighting off a Zombie Apocalypse of regular flesh-eating zombies who can be easily mowed down, only being dangerous due to their vast numbers. The necromancer who is controlling them later crafts a group of muscular zombie mooks who are far more durable and dangerous, making mince meat of much of Judge Dredd's strike force.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Walter the Wobot.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: PJ Maybe's full name is Philip Janet.
  • Enemy Mine: In The Three Amigos, Dredd is forced to team up with Mean Machine Angel and Judge Death. The creators themselves considered this Villain Decay for Judge Death in particular (who's known mainly for killing everything in sight).
  • Eternal Prohibition: Extended to caffeine, sugar, comic books, and eventually the synthetic substitute for coffee.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: There used to be an enclave of uplifted apes living in the city before the Apocalypse War; chimpanzee mobster Don Uggie and his cronies were occasional adversaries to Dredd during this time. The Big Meg also once elected an orangutan named Dave to be mayor. He was later assassinated.
  • Evil Brit: The miniseries Young Death, which reveals the origin of Judge Death, strongly implies that he and the Dark Judges are British, or his world's equivalent of British. Although the comics are made in the United Kingdom, Judge Dredd himself is a post-Apocalyptic American.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Dark Judges (Death, Fire, Fear and Mortis), who come from an alternate timeline in which it was reasoned that since crimes were only committed by the living, life itself should be declared a crime. They get their own Catchphrase too: "The crime isss Life, the sssentence isss Death!" This is taken literally in the Lawman Of The Future continuity where Death is an alternate universe Dredd who died and came Back from the Dead due to his unflinching sense of duty.
  • Evil Genius: PJ Maybe. Interestingly enough, usually any perps in Mega-City One who are described as having a genius or otherwise extraordinary intellect are children, although PJ Maybe unquestionably outdoes them all by continually evading capture (he's also the only one we ever get to see grow up).
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: A group of escaped convicts from the prison planet Titan return to Mega-City One after they were transformed into hideous ice monsters on the Death World of Enceladus. Their crashed ship actually radiated cold that threatened to turn the whole city into a perpetual Siberia.
  • Evil Is Hammy: GAAAAAAAAAZZEEEE INTO THE FACE OF FEEEEAAARRR!!!
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: During the Day of Chaos, a Sov sleeper agent releases the three remaining Dark Judges (the fourth, Judge Death, is trapped in Hell at that point) to add to the escalating clusterfuck in Mega City One. The two spies who give the undead monsters new bodies are the first to die.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Judge Death, an Omnicidal Maniac of the worst caliber, was once a human being. After spending his whole life killing everyone he came in contact with, he allowed a pair of witches to turn him into an undead abomination to achieve immortality. Now he looks closest to the Mouth of Sauron, until eventually even his ethereal form completely resembled the nightmarish Demon Judge he is feared as. This applies equally to his three brethren.
  • Evil Mentor:
    • Alien sorcerer Murd the Oppressor from the Judge Child arc is revealed in Judgment Day to have been the zombie-controlling villain Sabbat's old mentor and taught him most of the tricks of necromancy.
    • The storyline "The Fall of Deadworld" set in an Alternate Universe features the gruff Judge Fairfax as its protagonist, who just wants to ride out the ensuing apocalypse. It turns out that in Law School he was the favorite protegé of none other than Judge Death, the monster who is destroying that world. Death still wants Fairfax back in his inner circle as his fourth lieutenant.
  • The Evils of Free Will: The Dark Judges present a particularly dark form of this trope - since all crime is committed by the living, life itself was outlawed in their universe, and now they seek to accomplish the same goal in Dredd's.
  • Evil Smells Bad: The Dark Judges are stated to leave a putrifying stench of death behind them. When one of the Sisters of Death attacks Judge Kraken, he notes that she smells like a corpse.
  • Evil Sorcerer:
  • Evil Tainted the Place: While hiding out in the Mega-City following Necropolis, Judge Death briefly occupied a room in the Sylvia Plath block managed by the virtually blind and deaf Mrs. Gunderson. After he moved on, his evil presence left a psychic mark on the place, causing a homicide and suicide epidemic that led to virtually the entire block being abandoned.
  • Evil Tastes Good: Judge Death strongly implies that he engaged in cannibalism with the Sisters of Death, which even he felt a bit unnerved by at first before enjoying it. He describes such acts of extreme depravity as an "acquired taste".
  • Evil Twin: Rico, presumably (see The Faceless below).
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Morton Judd was a genetic engineer who once served as the head of Justice Department's cloning project. He started to see it as the solution to crime by creating a docile population, but Chief Judge Fargo vetoed his proposal on the grounds that it was their duty to police the citizens they have, not create the citizens they'd like. Judd went rogue and fled to the Australian wastes, where for decades he built a Clone Army to replace the Judges.
  • Exact Words:
    • Dredd, being a judge, can Rule Lawyer with best of them. One perp, knowing he will get a 40 year sentence, asks for a reduction in exchange for selling out his boss. Dredd agrees, and once he has the info, sentences the perp to 39 years and 364 days.
    • Confronted with an assassin named Bronco, Dredd tells him he'll consider communing his sentence in exchange for cooperation. Bronco talks, and Dredd considers commuting his sentence... and promptly rejects it.
  • Extinct in the Future: Many plants and animals have gone extinct post-apocalypse, with one story dealing with the death of the last whale.
  • Exty Years from Now: All stories are supposed to be taking place exactly 122 years after they are published.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Chief Judge Griffin.
  • Eye Scream:
    • In "City of the Damned" Judge Dredd's eyes are torn out in the Bad Future, but Dredd being Dredd, this doesn't stop him. They are replaced by Electronic Eyes later on.
    • In "The Dead Man", Yassa Povey's eyes are burned out by Sister Nausea during the Sisters' second confrontation with Judge Dredd in the Cursed Earth. As thanks for helping Dredd recover so he could save the day during "Necropolis", the Justice Department gives Yassa new eyes.
    • In "The Fall of Deadworld" Part 2, a young Judge-Tutor Sidney De'ath (aka Judge Death) is shown "building morale" among a bunch of cadets (hinted to be the other three Dark Judges) by mutilating them, one by scooping out the kid's eye with a spoon.
  • Eyes Never Lie: By the conclusion of "The Judge Child Quest", Dredd has reason to believe that The Judge Child is not all he appears to be, so Dredd looks into his eyes to see if he finds someone who is misguided or a creature of malice. He only sees evil.
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    F 
  • Face–Heel Turn: Walter the Wobot after he comes Back from the Dead and starts a second Robot Rebellion under the name Call-Me-Walter.
  • The Faceless:
    • Dredd, who almost never removes his iconic helmet. When he does, his head is swathed in bandages or otherwise hidden (Or in one case, deliberately altered to show someone else's face). It's implied that his face is hideously scarred underneath.
    • Averted BIG TIME when in the separately titled 2000 AD strip "The Dead Man" the titular (and horribly disfigured) "Dead Man" turns out to be Dredd all along and a huge set-up for the Necropolis story arc.
    • Hotshot artist Simon Bisley drew Dredd's face for the Batman crossover, but the image never appeared in the final comic.
    • Gaze into the face of Dredd.
    • The same thing happened very early on in a strip. Dredd takes off his helmet and you get a huge CENSORED bar. His face is so horrifying, it causes the criminals to drop their weapons. They originally drew up his scarred face, but they decided it looked too stupid and covered it up.
    • Generally averted with the female judges because, well, they're female judges. Anderson in particular almost never wears a helmet, with a handwave that helmets can mess with her psychic powers.
    • Judge Death's eyes are concealed, and it's unclear if the glimpses of Judge Fear's "face" we've seen are his actual appearance or a vision of horror derived from his victims' unleashed terrors.
    • It's heavily lampshaded with Vienna noting that "who knows what Uncle Joe looks like?" when Dolman gets a face change for his own protection. Any time someone tries to get a look at Dredd's face, they usually wind up dead or having some other misfortune happen to them.
  • Fair Cop: Psi-Judge Anderson. Also Psi-Judge Karyn (before her transformation), Chief Judge Hershey (Depending on the Artist) and Ex-Judge Demarco (described by Jack Point as "hotter than lesbian lava"). Though Anderson considers herself to be heading firmly into Christmas Cake territory.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The long-running "Democracy" storyline ended with such.
  • The Family That Slays Together: The Angel Gang. Following the events of "The Judge Child Quest", Fink and Mean Machine continued on as Siblings in Crime.
  • Fake Nationality: In universe, Dredd's landlady/maid (it varies sometimes) Maria has always talked with a heavy Italian accent, but years later when it was revealed that she had died and left a large inheritance to Dredd, it also turned out that she never really was Italian and was faking her accent "for some reason" the entire time.
  • Fanatical Fire: Judge Fire, one of the Dark Judges, wants to kill everything with fire to rid the world of crime.
  • Fan Film: Judge Minty is a 2013 fan film based on Dredd which follows the tale of a secondary character from the comics, Judge Minty. After several decades as an active street judge, Minty is pulled off active duty. He then decides to head out into the irradiated wasteland beyond the Mega City to bring law to the lawless.
  • Fanservice Extra:
    • In the storyline "Day of Chaos: Nadia", there is a scene in the girls' dorm at the Academy of Justice. One of the cadets apparently sleeps wearing nothing but a pair of panties.
    • One story where Dredd and Rico are both chasing the same pair of perps with control judges placing bets on who gets him first, Dredd bursts in on the one of the perp's naked girlfriend. He spots a photograph of the three of them on her nightstand and she's naked in that too.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The comic seems to take its cues from several Platonic ideas about state governance. The Judges are effectively a seperate ruling class with absolute power, but their entire life is dedicated to serving the city. Citizens are all non-Judges, who live under constant surveillance but can have all the luxuries that the Judges don't. Judges are selected at a young age and raised as Tykebombs; they can quit their job, but an adult citizen cannot become a Judge. All the work is done by robots, mostly removing the issue of a disenfranchised proletariat class common in most of these sci-fi stories.
  • Fantastic Drug: Quite a few of these have popped up in Mega-City One. The two that stand out the most in Dredd's stories are umpty (a sweet-tasting candy that creates an immediate psychological addiction once a person tries it) and Stookie glands (glands from a sentient alien race called Stookies which can make human users appear much younger than they actually are).
  • Fantastic Racism: Skin color and religion has long since been abandoned as targets for prejudice, and humanity now aims most of their racial hatred towards non-human or inhuman beings, such as robots, mutants and aliens. Aliens are semi-justified since very few aliens ever come to Earth with any pleasant intents, but its been shown that many aliens are actually held captive in the Cursed Earth and used for slave labor. This is technically illegal, but the farms in the Cursed Earth has very little Judge oversight.
  • Fantastic Recruitment Drive: Cadets are taken not only from clone stock, but also from orphans, volunteers or children who show promise. Since the events of Day Of Chaos, in order to replace the large number of lost judges foreign judges are now allowed to apply to transfer to Mega City One as retrainees.
  • Fan of the Past:
    • Marty Zpok, the Muzak Killer, believes that the Turn of the Millennium is where the world started to go wrong and purposely only listens to twentieth century music, wears twentieth century fashions and even opts for twentieth century weapons.
    • One of Dredd's contacts wears late 19th century business man outfits, complete with pocket watch and walking cane.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: The Judge outfits, featuring one shoulder pad as an Eagle and the other as large armor. This extends to the Dark Judges as well, dead pterodactyl and bony/holy shoulder pad. The Exception is Judge Fear, whose shoulder pads are identical bear traps. Finally there's Mean Machine, one cyborg arm, one stump, and half his face as machinery.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • After Judge Dredd succeeds with his counterstrike against East Meg One during the Apocalypse War, the livid War Marshal Kazan captures them and makes sure that they will be kept alive for the rest of their natural lives so they can be tortured continuously. This ends up biting him when Dredd is released.
    • When the Dark Judges took over the city during Necropolis, Chief Judge Silver was turned into a zombie so that his new undead masters could torment him endlessly.
    • In "Judgement Day", the zombie-controlling villain Sabbat was rendered immortal (even to the point of being able to survive a bullet in the head) by a large magical crystal. Dredd punished him for causing the deaths of billions of people by decapitating him and sticking his head on top of the crystal, remarking that the sentence was "life - no remission."
    • In Judge Dredd Megazine #272, villain Dr. Vallenti was collecting the brains of psychics to create an immortal psionic form. One of the psychics ended up as the crotch of Dr. Vallenti's psionic form. Dr. Vallenti was defeated by the judges and all the psychics were able to escape the psionic body.
  • Fattening the Victim: One planet the judges visit in the "Judge Child Quest" arc has oracle spice, obtained from a giant alien toad named Sagbelly. An evil mutant necromancer sends creatures called Watchers to gather victims to feed Sagbelly. The townsfolk have set up a gruesome lottery that ties "ten fat men, forty days a-feeding" to posts on the town's outskirts for this purpose.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Judge Death, an undead executioner from another world, has a habit of happily greeting his victims before squeezing the life out of them.
  • Faux Cyrillic: People from the Sov Block megacities are sometimes shown speaking a vaguely Cyrillic-looking English when they’re talking in their native tongue.
  • Fauxreigner: Dredd's landlady/maid (it varies sometimes) Maria has always talked with a heavy Italian accent, but years later when it was revealed that she had died and left a large inheritance to Dredd, it also turned out that she never really was Italian and was faking her accent "for some reason" the entire time.
  • Females Are More Innocent: Done in a couple of ways. There have been all manner of criminals across a whole spectrum of sympatheticness, but only four major villains have been women. Of these, only the Sisters of Death, creators of the Dark Judges, were outright evil; the others were Judge Edgar, who was a knight templar, as was Bachmann, and America Jara, a hero antagonist. Within Justice Department, there is a tendency for women to be more sympathetic and kind as foils to Dredd himself, most notably Anderson, Hershey, and more recently America Beeny.
  • Festering Fungus: In a 1980s story, Judge Dredd encountered an alien fungus in the Cursed Earth which infected people with its spores, causing their bodies to be consumed by the creature so it could make more of itself.
  • The Fettered: Judge Dredd is completely unwavering in his pursuit of justice, or at least "justice" by the brutal standards of the Crapsack World he inhabits. It's his entire reason for being; Dredd and his brothers were cloned from the founder of the Judge, Jury, and Executioner system, then raised from birth to be perfect law enforcers. He balks at even the suggestion of compromising on the law.
  • Field Promotion: In The Pit, Dredd promotes a cadet to full judge when the rookie finds a stack of unpaid parking tickets in Fonzo Bongo's name.
  • Fictional Political Party: The only democratic freedom allowed to the citizens of Mega-City One is the election of the city's Mayor, a very minor role that serves as a liaison between citizens and Justice Department.
    • When the election campaign for Dave the Orangutan was covered in the story arc, "Portrait of a Politician," every social clique was shown to have formed its own political party and running its own candidate, many of which would kill each other in mob riots leading up to the election. Named parties include the Apathetic Fringe, the Young Norms (presumably an anti-mutant lobby), the Lib-Lab Flab Party (presumably a Liberal-Labor Party amongst the Big Meg's morbidly obese population), the Uglies (just ugly people), and the All-Out-War Party (a group of Bomb-Throwing Anarchists). When the All-Out-War Party starts stirring up trouble, Dredd gives them exactly what they want.
    • The "Day of Chaos" storyline features a few new ones, including the Reactionary Progressives, Simping Party, Democracy Now!, Liberal Conservatives, and Illiberal Progressives. The leaders of the latter two later decide to marry in order to pool their support, forming the Illiberal Liberal platform.
    • The story "Sex, Lies, and Vidslugs" from Judge Dredd Megazine Issue 3.41 features the L.I.A.R. Party, a consolidation of Libertarian, Idiosyncratic, and Reactionary political parties that deliberately runs on a message of dishonesty, contradictions, and hypocrisy.
  • The Film of the Book: Both the one with Sylvester Stallone and the one with Karl Urban.
  • Finger in the Mail: The "Origins" story arc begins with a small box containing a ransom note and a sample of living tissue belonging to Judge Fargo, the first Chief Judge of Mega-City One and the founder of the Judge system, being delivered to the Hall of Justice.
  • Flaming Skulls: Judge Fire is a permanently immolated skeleton so he can burn the "sins" out of the living, with his head being a blank skull.
  • Flashback to Catchphrase: One of Judge Death's catch phrases is "The Crime is Life, the Sentence is Death!". His Origins Episode shows him first using this phrase when, immediately after becoming an undead killing machine, he pays the Chief Judge of his homeworld a visit to execute and replace him. His fellow Dark Judges approve.
    "Now that is good!"
  • Flat Scare: The Scarecrow pulls this on Judge Death in "Judgement on Gotham", a Batman crossover comic. Death was not amused...
  • Flawed Prototype:
    • The experimental Stub Guns used during the Apocalypse War are unstable and prone to overheating. With overuse, they explode, killing their users and anyone nearby. The Justice Department is desperate enough at that point that Dredd reasons that its outstanding firepower is worth the risk.
    • Dredd is issued a prototype Mark III Lawgiver for field assessment during "Dark Justice". It jams up on him at an inopportune moment, forcing him to fight the Dark Judges unarmed.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Dune sharks, giant floating sharks with More Teeth than the Osmond Family and move through sand slightly slower than through air.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Judge Death's Origins Issue opens with the mangled body of his erstwhile interviewer being found by the Judges after the monster dumped it in a chem pit. We then flash back to show the interviewer's long meeting with Death before he killed him.
  • Forgot to Pay the Bill: One issue taking place on the moon has a band of robbers who suffocate because they didn't pay the oxygen bill for their hideout.
  • Fountain of Youth:
    • Dredd, a rare example of a comic book character who ages in real time, had a couple of decades taken off in the 1990s after being exiled from the city and getting his face burnt off.
    • Within the comic, there's stookie capsules, which dramatically slow the ageing process in humans. Since producing them requires the slaughter of a peaceful and harmless alien species, they are highly illegal.
  • Four Is Death: The Dark Judges: Death, Fear, Fire, and Mortis—judges from another dimension where the four of them rationalized that since all crime is committed by the living, life itself should be deemed a crime punishable by death. However, later stories, such as "Necropolis" and Judge Death's Origins Issue, "Young Death, Boyhood of a Superfiend," introduced the Sisters of Death, Phobia and Nausea, who would be included in their ranks, and one crossover tale with Batman saw The Joker become a fifth Dark Judge.
  • Funny Background Event: During the "Day the Law Died" story, the clearly insane Judge Cal is appointed as the Head Judge. At an early point in his reign, one of the Judges is reduced to wearing nothing but his helmet and a colorful pair of underpants (due to having one of his uniform buttons missing). He is seen performing his duties throughout the story in various places, never wearing anything else: no one comments on it.
  • Frame-Up: Early on in The Day the Law Died arc, Dredd is framed by the corrupt SJS Judge Cal(igula) for murdering several citizens. Dredd is sentenced and shipped to Titan, but he escapes the transport and clears his name by finding and destroying the robot duplicate that Cal secretly used.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: Dredd of all people does this. He knows the Mechanismo project is incredibly risky and has seen first hand the danger of robot judges to the city. When tracking a rogue Mark I robojudge, Dredd is beaten to it by one of the new Mark II models. After the Mark II ignores Dredd's order to hold its fire, Dredd destroys the Mark II and persuades the only witness to say that the Mark I destroyed the Mark II and that Dredd destroyed the Mark I. It was noted as a rare Out-of-Character Moment for Dredd, though his fears were later justified.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: The majority of food products in Mega-City One are made from a synthetic, high-protein plant called "Munce". In another lesser example, Otto Sump released a line of food products to combat shortages after the Apocalypse War called "Gunge", consisting of delicacies like the Slime Sauce, Bacteria Soup, Maggot Steaks, Black Widow Spider Wine matured for a week in an old boot, and Mould Jam. When the initial release sparks huge protests, the Justice Department outlaws Gunge, buys the factories and re-releases the products under a different brand.
  • Future Imperfect:
    • When Dredd travels cross-country to deliver a cure to Mega-City Two in The Cursed Earth arc, Dredd comes across two eternal gangs/dynasties/tribes who assumed McDonald's and Burger King were actual figures and mighty Gods.
    • Later in the same arc, he's forced to fight an insane scientist who attempted to create life in the barren wasteland, based on old records and magazines - he wound up recreating corporate mascots (The Jolly Green Giant, the Michelin Man, Alka-Seltzer boys, etc.)
  • Future Slang: Future cursing, future cop-speak, future street-slang... You name it.
  • Futuristic Superhighway: Mega-City One includes a great number of different highway transit systems with average speed limits typically being over 200 MPH. The longest and widest of of these, the Superslab, is suggested as spanning the entire length of the city from north to south with a dozen traffic lanes in each direction. The very first strip in 2000 AD featured Dredd sentencing a criminal to Devil's Island—a prison set up on a large traffic island in the middle of the Big Meg's inter-city highway complex with no need for walls because busy traffic is constantly moving at speeds of up to 250 MPH all day and all night, guaranteeing instant death for anyone who tries to escape.

    G 
  • Gag Boobs: Vienna gets enormous breast implants when she auditions for a lousy vidscreen sitcom as the Ms. Fanservice.
  • Gag Nose: Citizen Snork.
  • Gaia's Lament: Earth in the future. If you aren't living in the city, there's the Cursed Earth... which is a polluted wasteland.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: A mutant named Father Earth with plants growing all over him led his cult to try and destroy Mega City One by blowing up a geothermal station. Ironically, this freed some giant man-eating plants from containment and he ended up eaten by one he called a god.
  • Gambit Pileup: The city and its colonies ended up in one following the fallout of Chaos Day between the Justice Department and numerous factions and individualsFull List of Factions and Individuals involved .
  • Game Face: While possessing a human host in "Dark Justice", Judge Death is disturbed in his work by one of his host's colleagues. He shuts the door and gives the man a brief flash of his skull-face before murdering him.
  • Garden of Evil: In "The Torture Garden", Judge Death feels inspired by the French novel of the same name to build his own "torture garden", consisting of horrific statues made out of human corpses, vines growing out of rotting brains, and flowers that seep blood.
  • Gender Bender: When America Jara died, her lover Bennet Beeny had his brain transplanted to America's body so that he could continue to be with her. Additionally, he had used his old body to impregnate America's, so that he ended up giving birth to his own daughter.
  • Gender Is No Object: Dredd aside, some of the more competent judges are female (Anderson, Beeny, Dekker, Hershey).
  • Genre-Busting: The strip is a sci-fi Police Procedural with political satire, Black Comedy, Space Western elements, supernatural occurances, anti war themes and set After the End.
  • Genuine Human Hide:
    • There was a serial killer who lured tenants to his apartment so he could use their skin to produce new pieces of garment for him to wear. His job at Resyk came in handy to dispose of the corpses.
    • After the Day of Chaos left much of the city in ruins, a gang started to harvest the mass graves outside the populated areas to use the skin and bones of the dead as clothing fashion items.
  • Geographic Flexibility: The internal geography of Mega-City One, both in Dredd's strip and its various spinoffs, has often been ignored or changed for the needs of any given story. The story "Bob's Law" in 2000 AD Prog 355 set out a specific numbering system for city sectors: The landlocked City Central, far from New York, was sectors 1 to 20, City East was sectors 21–108 "radiating in sequence" from Central, South and West followed a similar pattern, and North would do the same "on an east-west basis." This was then consistently ignored. For example, Sector 13 was given docks in The Simping Detective to better fit a noir style; Sector 1 generally seems to be in the former New York City, based on the Statue of Liberty being near the Grand Hall of Justice; and wherever a character enters the Undercity, they will almost always arrive in the ruins of Manhattan. Despite being built over other cities, "City Bottom" is level with the ground at the Cursed Earth and the sea. One of the more egregious clashes was in the story "Inferno," where the Statue of Judgement is destroyed and falls through the Western Wall, which is many miles away from the Eastern Coast/Black Atlantic in every other story.
  • Giant Spider:
    • AGV (Arachnid Gene Virus) is a rare disease in Mega City One that turns person into a man-sized spider. One story features a woman with AGV slowly succumbing to it, and its sequel story has her visiting her husband who didn't stay by her side as promised....
    • There are giant spiders in the Cursed Earth that dig burrows in the ground, where they lie waiting before attacking unsuspecting prey. Dredd and a team of Judges ran into a couple of them during a patrol outside the new mutant settlements.
    • Additionally, there's an even rarer shapeshifting breed of giant spiders which disguise themselves as humans to seduce hapless men before devouring them.
  • Glamour Failure: The Sisters of Death, the two witches responsible for the creation of the Dark Judges, originally appeared like two young women, but they only used this to hide their ghostly carcass forms. Sister Psiren can actually see them for what they are due to her psychic abilities.
  • Going Postal: A lot of people suffer from this. Mega City One is an overcrowded hellhole and the majority of the population is unemployed because all the work is done by robots. It is known as Future Shock or Going Futsie. Interesting in that it is treated as a medical condition, rather than a crime.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Being a Judge does not necessarily translate to doing chivalrous acts towards the populace. Cue Police Brutality.
  • Gorn: Several instances of this occur in the later issues of the series (as it progresses into Darker and Edgier), most particularly Heavy Metal Dredd.
  • Grave Robbing: Inverted when a very old widower wants to bury his beloved wife instead of sending her to Resyk, but doesn't have enough credits to pay for a plot. He breaks into the graveyard to bury her body, but is arrested by Dredd, who notes he's not even sure if they have a law for it. He does charge him with trespassing.
  • Grenade Launcher: The Judges' Lawgiver has the Hi-Ex setting, essentially making it a grenade launcher pistol when required.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: While the comic is largely Black and Grey Morality, some stories (America being the best example) play with this by making Judge Dredd himself the antagonist who enforces the totalitarian police state because he believes it is necessary. The regular citizens in those stories are far from shining heroes themselves however, being driven to extreme acts to defend their human rights against the Judges.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: The Soviet Union is depicted as surviving into the 22nd century, having been rechristened as the 'Sov Blok'. Judge Dredd is a Long Runner, first published in 1977 when the Soviet Union and Cold War were facts of life. However the only real difference between Mega City One and Two and East Meg One and Two is that the East Meg system has the death penalty and a ruling council of three, not five. However, despite little real ideological difference remaining, their old rivalry survived the nuclear war that originally devasted most of their countries. This leads to both another war that ends in a Mega-City One victory and then a Sov counterattack in the form of a biological plague another 30 years later.
  • The Grotesque: Otto Sump; his first appearance in the strip, no less, even satirizes how these types of characters can be used as The Woobie
  • Grows on Trees: There are treemeat plantations, from which farmers harvest meat that grows on mutant trees.

    H 
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Judge Shenker, the head of Psi-Division, started out with hair, but he later lost all of it.
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection: Inverted; since the comics started in 1977 and featured Stalinist successor states to the USSR using the hammer and sickle in the early 22nd century, modern stories involving the Russian Mega Cities still show them using the hammer and sickle, and occasionally reference being Communist.
  • Hammy Villain Serious Hero: Judge Dredd is so devoted to the job of Judge, Jury, and Executioner and so dour that he's widely known by his colleagues as "Stoney Face". His Rogues Gallery tends to be much more cartoonish, such as the Dark Judges, a group of undead mass-murdering justices constantly spouting catch-phrases, and Mean Machine Angel, a frothing-at-the-mouth juggernaut-esque cyborg with a dial on his head indicating his level of anger.
  • Hand Cannon: Depending on the Artist, the Lawgiver (and depending on which model) is not necessarily a large pistol (as judges holster it on their boots), but it has quite a bit of stopping power. And that's without using armor piercing or Hi-Ex. One annual reveals that the projectile is in effect a small rocket (a la the 1960s Gyrojet pistol) and its velocity is pretty mediocre (550 feet per second)... but unlike your standard everyday pistol, that velocity is maintained after it leaves the barrel.
  • Hanging Judge:
    • Well, Dredd's more like a blowing-your-head-off judge, but you get the idea. Ironically, although a staggering number of people get killed resisting arrest, very few crimes in Mega City 1 actually carry the death penalty.
    • Judge Death's origins story Boyhood of a Superfiend shows Death executing each case that comes before him in court, including a couple wishing to divorce. Having reconciled their differences, Death executes them for wasting the court's time.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Walter, who gave up his freedom to remain in Dredd's employ, much to Dredd's complete annoyance.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: Inverted when the insane Judge Cal, among his long list of ridiculous decrees, outlaws happiness and mandates that all items which could cause the emotion among Mega-City One's citizens be destroyed immediately.
  • Harmless Lady Disguise: In one story the undead superfiend Judge Death escaped from his confinement and murdered an old woman to use her dead body as a disguise. Though he really wouldn't be able to pass for human if someone took a closer look at him.
  • Hate Plague: Block Mania, a bioengineered plague that caused Patriotic Fervor towards one's own relatively small community and paranoia/xenophobia towards all outsiders.
  • Haunted Headquarters: The Grand Hall of Justice is still haunted by the ghost of former Chief Judge Silver, who was ignominiously executed for being a Dirty Coward in a time of crisis.
  • Healing Vat: The speedheal machines, which allow the human regenerative system to speed up.
  • The Hedonist: In one of the Batman crossovers, an entire cult of hedonists decided to go into self-imposed isolation from the rest of Megacity One in a Megadome, where they could indulge themselves until the end days. Unfortunately, without protection by the Law this made them easy targets for the Joker and the Dark Judges, who lock themselves in with the cultists and proceed to slaughter them all. As Judge Mortis put it, he's a "Deadonist".
  • Heel Realization: Dredd always believed that the Judges and the totalitarian Police State they ran were necessary to maintain order. After he's ordered to crush a peaceful democratic protest, he starts to have doubts about the "Big Lie", namely that the Judges know what's best for the people. He eventually turns in his badge and journeys out into the Cursed Earth, which leads to further tragedy when undead enemies return in his absence.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic:
    • Averted; Dredd is almost never seen without wearing his helmet. However, this trope is played straight with Judges Hershey (while she was still a Street Judge, anyway) and Anderson who are never seen wearing their helmets when they are on active duty (although they are sometimes drawn carrying a helmet as if to imply they just took it off...only for the helmet to disappear entirely after one or two panels).
    • Very few active Street Judges are ever seen without wearing their helmets; Judge Giant, for instance, is only seen without one at his graduation ceremony from the Academy of Law where he is actually issued his helmet.
    • It's been commented occasionally that helmets are a distraction for Psi Judges using their powers, which is why Anderson never wears one.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Inverted. Galen DeMarco falls for Dredd. Whether he reciprocates her feelings is left ambiguous, but he actively spurns her advances even though he is concerned for her.
  • Hero of Another Story: Concurrent strips have been known to have been run. Judgement Day was the first attempt, with the story altering between Dredd and Johnny Alpha (Strontium Dog), alternating the stories between 2000 AD and the Megazine. The Doomsday Scenario did the same thing with Galen DeMarco. The Cold Deck does this as well, running three storylines in 2000 AD, throwing [[spoiler: Jack Point (The Simping Detective) from and Dirty Frank (Low Life) into the mix.
  • Heroic Build: Dredd's physique varies Depending on the Artist, but his original design averts this. Considering the strip predates The Ahnold archetype of Action Hero and Dredd is partly based on Clint Eastwood to begin with, this makes sense. The change is lampshaded in one strip that shows a flashback to 2080 with Dredd looking much leaner than his 2130s self. The perp he arrests in the flashback has been cryogenically frozen since then and medical science has advanced sufficiently to repair the damage done to his brain as a result of a bullet to the head that Dredd gave him. Upon seeing Dredd, the perp notes that Dredd has "filled out" over the last fifty years. From somewhere during The '80s, artists have depicted Dredd as playing the trope a bit more straight.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the "The Warlord" storyline, an extraordinary amount of psychic power is needed to defeat the Seven Samurai. The only way to do it is with the Psionic Amplifier, but it's so draining that it will kill whomever uses it. Judge Omar, head of Psi-Division, refuses to ask for a volunteer and takes on the job himself, crumbling to dust after destroying the samurai.
  • He's Back: Dredd went through this kind of character arc throughout the events leading up to "Necropolis" and the aftermath of those events.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • To an extent, the risk most Judges working undercover units (aka The Wally Squad) face.
    • In "Origins", it's revealed that Judge Fargo, the creator of the Judges system, has himself come to realize that after the Judges took power in the aftermath of the Atomic War, they've established security at the cost of liberty.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold:
    • Occurs more often then you would think with Ol' Stony Face... even if it takes him a good 20+ years to get around to some of them.
    • Despite Judge Dredd loudly and vehemently insisting he hates robots a LOT, in his early days, he eventually grew accustomed to Walter the Wobot.
    • Hence not only celebrating Christmas (for a half an hour only) with Walter, but his reaction to finding a group of robot thieves preparing to reprogram his 'Wobot'.
      Dredd : Pop one rivet and you're dead Creep!
    • He'll generally find an hour or so on Christmas day to spend with his nice, Vienna. He's very protective of her, in spite of the fact that her father, Rico, was a Dirty Judge.
  • High Turnover Rate:
    • The office of Chief Judge (pretty much the dictator of Mega City One) has seen a pretty high turnover rate since the start of the comic, with many not being in office for more than five years tops. Several Chief Judges have been murdered or committed suicide during their terms in office. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Judge Dredd himself has always refused the big seat.
    • Averted by Psi-Division, which has had Judge Shenker in charge for over twenty years.
  • Hipster: Marty Zpok is a Serial Killer variant that was created before it was cool. He prefers vintage music, technology, clothing, and even weapons. He's so opposed to modern music that he starts killing the muzak artists in an attempt to make music better. Dredd points out to him that the ones he killed will just be replaced by more of the same.
  • Hive Mind: President Booth's robot guardians Snap, Crackle, and Pop.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Enforced and justified.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: To turn the tide of the Apocalypse War, Dredd assembles a strike team to infilitrate an East Meg nuclear silo so it can be turned against its own city.
  • Homage: The Cursed Earth story arc is an homage to Damnation Alley.
  • Homosexual Reproduction: There have been more than a few one-shot characters demonstrating that it's possible for men to get pregnant in Mega-City One, usually by another man. It's also established to be possible for two women to reproduce provided they can get a man to donate sperm to be edited with the genetic structure of one of the mothers.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Dredd takes a pounding in some story lines but keeps at it. See Also: Determinator.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Chief Judge Silver was once the highest authority of Mega City One. He fell from power hard after the defective Judge Kraken, whom he approved against the wishes of the retiring Judge Dredd to take his place, fell under the control of the Sisters of Death and released the Dark Judges. After the fiends took over, Judge Death decided to make Silver a zombie so that his torment would never end. When Necropolis ended, Silver hid out of fear that he'd be burned as an abomination. When he finally tried to take back power, Dredd ruled in his favor on being entitled to his old post, but then executes him for criminal neglect of duty. Silver is incinerated and ignominiously disposed of by the sweepers.
    • This happens again, but to the City itself, following the fallout of both Chaos Day and Luthor's Insurrection, leaving their military forces stretched thin, Justice Department at the mercy of various factions and individuals, and the space colonies exposed to various extraterrestrial threats, Mega Corps, hostile ecosystems and the Dark Judges.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Sisters of Death, Phobia and Nausea, are two witches responsible for the creation of the Dark Judges. While they used to look human, their real form is some sort of extradimensional abomination that feeds off of life itself. During their chronologically later appearances (such as "Necropolis"), they don't even bother with the disguise and simply appear as evil spirits.
  • Human Popsicle: People are often cryogenically frozen when they suffer near fatal injuries or contract illnesses with no known cure so they can be revived when medical technology has advanced sufficiently to treat them properly. Judge Fargo was placed in suspended animation after his botched suicide attempt and revived later, though they couldn't fully repair the damage and he's put back in. He's revived once more upon recovery by Dredd's team, by which stage he's too far gone to save.
  • Human Resources: The recently deceased tend to end up at Resyk where their bodies are recycled so that their resources and nutrients can be put to use elsewhere.
  • Humans Are Bastards: A theme in a two-part segment of the "Cursed Earth" storyline, in which humans use aliens as slave labor, split up families, and remorselessly kill them if they don't work hard enough. Dredd's log at the end of the segment reads: "Sometimes the human race makes me sick!"
  • Humans Are Morons: Very few people who aren't Judges are ever seen making commendable decisions. Humans were never portrayed being much dumber than as they appeared in "Portrait Of A Politician" though. In it, an orangutan named Dave was able to do a better job at predicting the winners of sporting matches than human sports analysts. His fans later rally to get him elected as Mayor of Mega-City One, believing that he can do a better job than an actual person (even Dredd thinks that electing an orangutan could do some good for the city). Dave the Orangutan won the election and was later assassinated.
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: In addition to Justice Dept. having a Psychic (Psi) Division, several perps in Mega City-One, as well as a few major antagonists for Dredd, possess psychic abilities.
  • Human Shield: The Judges' standard sidearm has a special ammunition for this situation, Ricochet, which is specifically designed to do special trick shots to hit a hostage taker by bouncing the rounds off a back wall to hit the assailant. Depending on the writer, they might not even care. Taking down a perp is more important than not hurting a bystander (most judges consider non-judge citizens "potential perps" anyway). And, of course, its usefulness depends on the judge. While Dredd is able to get this trick to work every time he tries it, to a point where it's considered a trademark shot of his in the department, other judges are not guaranteed to pull this off. Judge Heller, for example, totally messes this up and hits a seemingly random bystander, who turns out to be the perp's accomplice by sheer luck. Judge Anderson is so concerned about protecting innocents that she didn't dare it when Judge Death (who requires some extraordinary firepower to take down to begin with, being undead) used a mother and her baby as a meat shield, which ended quite badly. Dredd in one story shot through a civilian to kill a perp with hostages - when said civilian reacts with shocked incredulity at Dredd's action Dredd matter of factly explains that A - the civilian's injury is non-lethal (he shot through his arm), B - the city will provide medical treatment for his injury and C - the city will also compensate the civilian for his injury.
  • Humongous Mecha: Construction machines piloted by robots.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The miracle plastic Boing fits this purpose if used outside the Palais de Boing or other sanctioned areas (if any).

    I 
  • I Am the Noun:
    • "I am the law" is a Catchphrase of Judge Dredd. Specifically, it's an expression of how he is the ultimate agent of the law, not that he makes up his own laws.
    • His Evil Counterpart Judge Death seems to have something similar going on, believing himself to be the very embodiment of death.
    • War Marshal Kazan has arranged to assassinate the Diktatorat of East Meg One to seize power. When his bosses try to grovel their way out of their execution by offering him a seat on the council, Kazan scoffs and sneers "I AM the Diktatorat!".
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: One citizen married into the Katlik faith, requiring him to have a faith chip implant that controls him should be think anything sinful. After only a week of marriage, his wife is killed and he is left alone and depressed since her family hate him and he's isolated himself from his own. The implant won't let him commit suicide, as it's a sin, so he attempts Suicide by Cop. He fails, but luckily for him, Justice Department has a way to tone down the implant's settings.
  • I Can Still Fight!: On more than one occasion during the Mega Epics, Dredd has simply refused medical care after being badly injured because he cannot abandon his post for any length of time with the city on the verge of destruction.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!:
    • Occasionally there are stories about illegal traffickers smuggling/selling a dangerous "white powder" in the city. In the end, the substance always turns out to be sugar.
    • An early strip features Dredd cracking down on a black market comics ring; Dredd's entire monologue about why comics are dangerous and need to be illegal sounds similar to anti-drug messages.
    Judge Dredd: Old comics are worth a fortune. Selling them to kids is one of the lowest forms of crime. After one or two, kids get so they can't give up. Then the price goes up and up...
  • Iconic Outfit: Dredd's helmet, badge and shoulder pads are so iconic of the character, particularly the helmet, that he's never seen without the helmet.
  • Ideal Illness Immunity: In the story "No Future", the four dreaded Dark Judges accidentally ended up in a future Earth populated solely by very technologyically advanced Transhumans. Judge Mortis was a bit confused that his rotting touch had zero effect on his would-be victim, until the latter explained that their environment protects them from all contagions, including Mortis himself.
  • I Did What I Had to Do:
    • "Apocalypse War" — Dredd takes the responsibility for the deaths involved in nuking East-Meg One, after half of Mega-City One was killed by the Sov's nuclear strike. This was after he'd assassinated the brainwashed, propagandising Chief Judge.
    • He does it several other times too, including pushing for the nuclear destruction of zombie-infested megacities in "Judgement Day" and going against the entire city to try & bring back mutant rights.
  • I Die Free: Said by an Alka-Selzter mascot (seriously) who saves Dredd from the mascot's slavedriver and creator, a Colonel Sanders-lookalike (seriously) by throwing himself against the gun, causing it to explode.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place:
    • The Cursed Earth is a radioactive wasteland.
    • Deadworld is an alternate universe where life was outlawed.
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: In "Bob & Carol & Ted & Ringo," when TV host David Baloney is eaten by a dinosaur, his producer excitedly says, "Beautiful! David'll top the ratings with this one!"
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him:
    • Dredd accompanies academy trainee Cadet Giant on a mission to catch his mother's killer, a member of a group of VI-Zine dealers. He convinces the boy to arrest the perp instead of executing him by arguing that it would mean Giant's expulsion and lower him to the criminal's level.
    • Dredd himself nearly falls victim to this when he tracks down Morphy's killer. He threatens to decapitate the punk with a passing train, but Kraken dissuades him. After this, he fails Kraken and takes the Long Walk.
  • Ignored Expert: In spite of Dredd's many years of experience, in many cases his advice is ignored leading to disaster (eg. The Robot War, Necropolis, Day Of Chaos etc.) costing millions of lives.
  • I Lied: In the story arc that revives Judge Death, the other three Dark Judges tell this to the poor fool they coerced into freeing Judge Death on the promise that they'd let his wife go: "WE LIED!"
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Frequently. The Undercity is filled with roving cannibal gangs, the Cursed Earth is filled with flesh-munching cannibal clans, and in crises like Necropolis or Day of Chaos the cits have eaten anything or anyone.
    • It's all but stated that since dead bodies are recycled to get back their nutrients, this technically includes everyone in Mega-City One.
  • I'm Melting!: In "The Pit" arc, corrupt SJS chief Herman Roth tries to flee the sector after Dredd exposes him, only to be killed by his mob contacts by getting dunked in a barrel full of bio-acid. His flesh has been melted off his bones when the Judges find what's left of him.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Many criminals Dredd faces take a shot at him at point blank range and usually miss. Dredd responds by returning fire.
  • Impersonating an Officer: "Jimp" is Mega-City One slang for Judge Impersonator. It's quite popular because of the immense power that the Judges have compared to most police.
    • There's a gang who tried to impersonate Judges to carry out robberies on three seperate occasions. The first group was spotted by a robot who warned the real Judges, the second group was killed by an Ax-Crazy stranger who happened to have a grudge against Judges, and the last group was recruited for back-up by Dredd himself to storm a building full of hostiles and were killed because they lacked training.
    • Another criminal duo got a bunch of Judge uniforms to carry out a robbery as well, but their disguise was so bad (the crooks had bad posture, were horribly out of shape and even wore their eagles on the wrong shoulder) that Dredd spotted them immediately.
    • One story in the Free Comic Book Day 2013 issue of 2000 AD features a gang of young men who impersonate Judges not for any gain but because being a Judge is awesome. Until one of them gets killed trying to stop a criminal on his own.
    • Ralphy Bryce is introduced as a young Hero-Worshipper to Dredd and goes around dressed in a judge uniform, even confronting some criminals while doing so. They dismiss him as "a squirt with a squirtgun" and punch the boy out. As Ralph is an orphan Dredd has him inducted into the Academy to train as a judge, but Ralph breaks the rules and leaves the Academy to try and track some criminals. After being discharged, Ralph goes around arresting criminals dressed as a judge. Dredd arrests him for this and he spends the next two and a half decades hating Dredd and goes on a killing spree dressed in an imitation judge uniform to show Dredd that he's still capable of being a judge. Dredd ends up being forced to execute him in the end.
    • One ex-Judge who was part of an extralegal killing squad within the high ranks of the Justice Department used his old uniform to carry out hits. He gets found out because he was using a non-standard weapon.
    • In the story "Closet", members at a gay club dress up as Judges as a form of dom-sub roleplay. A raid by the Judges leads to their arrest for using the uniform for entertainment purposes.
  • Implacable Man:
    • Dredd is insanely hard to kill. Particularly in The Dead Man, where Dredd is burnt to a crisp and survives.
    • The Dark Judges are this too, being undead. They'll just keep coming unless their bodies are completely pulverized, and even that only stops them temporarily.
  • Impossible Insurance: Pop sensation Pug Ugly is murdered on stage, and the perp is killed while resisting capture. It turns out the guy had taken out dozens of life insurances on himself, planning to get killed to make his mother rich. Unfortunately, Mega-City insurance companies always include the standard "claim void if killed by a Judge on duty".
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The Judges' standard issue Lawgiver handgun can fire six different types of ammunition (see Abnormal Ammo above) on either standard or rapid fire settings, both ammo and fire settings can be switched via voice command, and every individual gun is programmed to only fire when the Judge the gun was issued to is using it; attempts by perps to hoist a Judge by his own petard are always met with very explosive results.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: Umpty Candy is like this. It's so delicious that Justice Department had to ban it an exile the creator from Earth to maintain order, and in the modern series, there are major criminal operations devoted to smuggling and dealing it.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Dredd. To be fair, he has had a lot of practice.
  • Indecisive Parody: Is Judge Dredd a satire depicting an authoritarian police state of the future, or straightforward police story about cops who do the best they can to prevent their dystopian society from falling into chaos? Depends on the story.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Judge Death in his Origins Issue reveals that during an investigation when he was still a human Judge, he met the Sisters of Death, two occultists who worshipped death and practiced The Dark Arts. He let them live because he was quite intrigued by their carnal activities, already being quite the murderous creep himself. He participated in their rituals, where it's implied that they regularly tortured, murdered and ate people and held orgies. They later used their magic to turn him into an undead spirit so he could truly be in a position to judge everyone for committing the "crime" of living.
  • Inappropriately Close Comrades: These are known as "extra-judicial liaisons" - Judges are NOT allowed to have romantic relationships, including with non-Judges (though these rules were somewhat relaxed under Chief Judge Goodman, as shown when Dredd visits his twin Rico shacked up with a rich woman). Judge DeMarco is a noticeable exception who eventually chose to resign when the Special Judicial Squad started to hound her over her affairs with other Judges.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • The Dark Judges mindset is that since living beings can commit crimes, life itself is a crime, therefore all living beings are guilty and must be punished. By death.
    • The secret Murder Society held a contest to raise money for all those poor Necropolis orphans—by going on an all-out murder spree before detonating a nuclear bomb.
  • In-Series Nickname: Dredd is often referred to by other characters as "Old Stonyface". In more recent years, he's known at "The Old Man."
  • The Insomniac: Dredd prefers 10 minutes on a sleep machine to actually sleeping in a bed — less time for criminals to get away with the lawlessness!
  • Inspector Javert: Old Stone Face can go here. Oh how he can go here. Dredd is extremely rigid in his application of the law, so he'll chase after people no matter how small the crime. Played with in that he's not completely unreasonable though, as he has (occasionally, and on a good day) been shown to use his judgment to go easy on people because of special circumstances.
  • Insult Backfire: One of Judge Death's victims defiantly calls him a "murderous swine". Death, unabashedly evil, retorts that flattery won't save his life.
  • Intangibility: This is one of the main powers of the Dark Judges. Because they're ghosts occupying dead bodies, they can "phase" parts of their bodies to reach through ordinary matter. Judge Death is introduced when he shoves his claw into a criminal's chest in order to squeeze his heart until he dies.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Dredd has had several run-ins with Batman, and has even taken on Aliens and the Predator.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: The Dark Judges possess orbs that allow travel between dimensions, which they stole from a group of aliens who made the mistake of visiting their world. Justice Department later reverse engineers the technology to create their own dimensional teleporters. In the "Helter Skelter" story they're forced to destroy their own D-jump technology after a nearly successful invasion by Dredd's enemies from other dimensions.
  • Internal Affairs: The SJS (Special Judicial Squad, AKA "The Judges who judge the Judges"), who have a skull motif to their uniforms for some reason.
  • Interrogating the Dead: After people die some mental traces still linger for a while, so Psi-Judges often probe the minds of corpses to investigate the circumstances of their deaths. Judge Anderson is even introduced using this on the charred skeleton of Judge Death (though in that case it isn't so much "dead", but "left for better digs").
  • Internal Reformist: America Beeny was sent to the Academy of Justice by the wishes of her dead father at the conclusion to the second America series. By the time of her final assessment, she has become this.
    "And I believe, I truly believe, that one good Judge is worth a thousand protest marches."
  • International Showdown by Proxy: In an early story, a war between Mega-City One and a Sov-controlled East-Meg One is fought by fielding small four-man teams from each Mega-City against one another in an Olympics-style competition...to the death.
  • In the Back: A controversial moment among fans was the death of the original Judge Giant. Attempting to arrest an agent of East Meg One, he is distracted by said agent's Robot Buddy. The agent rather calmly shoots Giant in the back.
  • Invisibility Cloak:
    • There is technology that allows assassins to cloak themselves completely, although they're still visible on infrared.
    • Judge Dredd once ran into a Predator who was hunting for Judges in Mega-City One, which frequently used its invisibility tech to escape.
    • In one story someone digs up a highly advanced weaponized wristband from the future, one of the features allowing the wearer to become invisible even to infrared.
  • I Regret Nothing: At the end of the "Apocalypse War" story arc, the last words of the defeated war marshal Kazan are: "I... regret nothing! I apologise for... nothing!"
  • Irish Explosives Expert: One storyline from involved Irishmen planting explosives around The Theme Park Version of Ireland, which is what Ireland has become by that time.
  • Ironic Echo: An immediate example in "Necropolis", when a Judge tries to protect Chief Silver from the evil Dark Judges when they beam into the Hall of Justice to usurp him.
    Judge: Like hell!
    Judge Fire: Like hell. [fires trident]
  • Iron Lady:
    • Chief Judge McGruder; since she was based on Margaret Thatcher, this is appropriate.
    • Hershey also showed elements of this during her tenure as chief judge.
  • Irony: Mega-City One's city wall was originally ordered to be built by Chief Judge Cal in order to keep the citizens from leaving the city when he wanted to kill all of them, but on several occasions after his story finished, the city wall has been used as a crucial part of the city's defense from foreign threats and invaders.
    • Sexual relationships are forbidden to Judges, which has often been a plot point in the stories, most notably regarding Galen DeMarco, a highly talented and dedicated Judge who ultimately resigned from Justice Department because of this. In Origins it is revealed that Eustace Fargo, the very founder of the Judge system and the one behind the celibacy rule in the first place, violated his own rule when he was caught having sex with a government colleague.
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: During the Zombie Apocalypse five Mega-Cities, including Mega-City Two (U.S. west coast), are already hopelessly overrun by zombies by the time the world's governments can coordinate their efforts. They agree that they have no other option but to write off the survivors and launch their nuclear arsenals at the cities to deny Sabbat another two billion soldiers for his undead army.

    J 
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: A large portion of the humor is derived from very minor offenses carrying hefty consequences, such as a 6 month - 2 year sentence for littering.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: No, really. Very few people get to see it, but Dredd seriously cares about the people of Mega-City One. It's the reason he's such a dedicated cop. He also does care for Walter and Maria, his robotic servant and housekeeper, respectively. This got toned down in later progs, generally being regarded as starting when Walter gets abruptly booted out of Dredd's service.
  • Jive Turkey: The original Judge Giant's speech is peppered with this. He often refers to Dredd as "JD Baby".
  • Job-Stealing Robot: A common theme is citizens struggling to cope with mass unemployment caused by nearly all jobs being performed by robots. "The Sex Mek Slasher" shows that this has even happened to The Oldest Profession.
  • Joker Immunity: The Dark Judges, unlike the comic's other villains, keep returning after their defeats since they're undead and can possess new bodies. Judge Death especially exemplifies this, not only managing to escape and act on his own when the other Dark Judges were captured, but even his most recent appearance ending with him getting Dragged Off to Hell, it's confirmed by the writers he's still not gone for good.
  • Joker Jury:
    • Dredd was once put on trial by the survivors of East Meg One in the New Kremlin. A part inversion, Sov Judge Orlok, who brought Dredd in, both resisted having the trial and ended up giving the most influential defense testimony, making a conviction impossible AND prevented an assassination attempt on Dredd.
    • In Origins, Dredd is captured and put on trial by the deposed U.S. President "Bad Bob" Booth as payback for Justice Department dismantling his corrupt courts and thwarting his suicidal plans for world conquest. He even has the audacity to claim that he'll give Dredd a fair trial-with himself as both judge and prosecution and his minions as the jury.
    • In the Milestone Celebration 2000th prog, Judge Dredd is visited by Johnny Alpha who informs him that someone in the future has put a bounty on his head. It turns out to be a group of Judge Cal clones, who proceed to try Dredd for his "crimes" against the tyrannical Chief Judge Cal.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Every Judge's job description. Even with sympathetic characters such as Anderson, who can go from spouting off one-liners and looking gorgeous to executing someone without blinking an eye.
  • Just Before the End: The Fall of Deadworld. It's already established that the Dark Judges exterminated their entire homeworld before their very first appearance in Judge Dredd, but this story arc shows the apocalypse slowly unfolding.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: At the end of "The Pit", Dredd has no evidence to convict Fonzo Bongo on being the head of his sector's branch of the Frendz crime syndicate. What Dredd does have, thanks to an observant rookie, is several hundred unpaid parking tickets in Bongo's name, earning him a sentence of twenty five years.
  • Just the Introduction to the Opposites: There's a story which centred around an athlete who garnered massive controversy and criticism by doing well despite no pharmaceutical or bionic enhancements.
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    K 
  • Kangaroo Court: One Dimension Lord aspires to conquer the comic's universe, and tries to recruit Dredd to its side by having him abducted and putting him on front of a court comprised of past villains, who are going to have him executed for killing them. The idea behind it is that Dredd's supposed to take any chance to avoid judgement and join the conqueror, but when he proves to be too tough to handle, the conqueror decides to send him back and leave his universe alone.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Black Ops judges carry them for some reason. Hondo City judges used to carry them, until they upgraded to Laser Blades.
  • Keystone Army:
    • In the Judgment Day arc, the villain Sabbat's zombie army is entirely dependent on his continued control to function. The Judges of the world's Mega Cities eventually assemble a strike team to take out Sabbat in a last-ditch effort to prevent the Earth from being destroyed completely.
    • During Dredd's journey across the Cursed Earth, Dredd passes into Death Valley, where he is attacked by Bob Booth's robot army, who have lain dormant for over thirty years.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Several antagonists have been children, such as PJ Maybe (who did continue to be a recurring villain after he grew up) and The Judge Child.
  • Killer Cop:
    • Wilson Priest, one of the judges featured in The Pit arc is this. He murders a suspect after he repeatedly gets Off on a Technicality and begins to do it more often. Given the legal structure in the Dredd universe, this overlaps with Hanging Judge.
    • The Dark Judges are an especially extreme version, as they enforce law by simply murdering every potential criminal, believing life to be the source of all crime. Eradicate life, eradicate crime.
    • Several senior Judges used to be part of an extralegal killing squad known as the Citizens' Court, to kill criminals who fell through the cracks of the justice system.
  • Killer Outfit: PJ Maybe's parents killed themselves during Necropolis with special pants that sort of serve the same function as a Cyanide Pill—coat them with water and they release a poison that kills the wearer. He then tricks a neighborhood boy into wearing them so he can take his place.
  • Killer Teddy Bear: One short strip featured Dredd fighting a mutant who looked like a plush teddy bear and went on a murder spree.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • Standard procedure for dealing with Judge Death, but it only destroys his host body instead of really killing him ("You cannot kiiill what doesss not livvvve"). The miracle plastic Boing has been shown to be more effective at containing Judge Death than fire, which has always released his ethereal form and allow him to possess another body.
    • Averted with Judge Fire. Should be obvious why.
    • During ''The Apocalypse War',' Dredd uses thermal charges along city bottom to melt Sov radsweepers.
  • Kill the Host Body: In the "Necropolis" story, the Sisters of Death are manifesting in Mega City One from another dimension through a psychic host. Judge Dredd severs this connection by blowing up the building where the possessed body is being kept.
  • Kill Steal: After taking over all of Dominion, the Dark Judges start "rationing" the remaining prisoners, only killing 1 each every 10 days. When one of their mindless zombie acolytes takes away one of their kills by ripping the man's throat out, Judge Death immediately rips him to pieces, sneering that it's not his place to enact "judgment".
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Zig-zagged. Standard judge armament is the lawgiver pistol, which fires six different types of ammo, daystick and bootknife. Supplemental weaponry comes in both kinetic and energy form: The Lawrod rifle was a standard weapon for years before being replaced with the Widowmaker. The Stub Gun, on the other hand, is a laser rifle that is under development during the Apocalypse War that can cut through just about anything. However, its major drawback is that with prolonged use, it has a tendency to explode, thus its absence in more recent strips. When it comes to civilian armament, kinetic and energy weapons are about as effective as each other with perps generally taking whatever they can get their hands on.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: Judge Death is already established as a nightmarish Omnicidal Maniac in his debut appearance, so when his backstory is later revealed in "Young Death: Boyhood of a Superfiend", it's no surprise that his first victims turn out to be his own relatives. Even the family dog got an early ticket to the grave!
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: There's a short story where a withdrawn teenager's wealthy mother buys him a girlfriend in the form of a Sex Bot. He falls in love with the robot, but then his sleazy stepfather reprograms her to cater to his own whims. His stepson murders him before attempting to run away with his female companion. The Judges are somewhat confused by the whole affair, but Judge Dredd decides to go lenient on the kid by deeming it a "crime of passion" and reducing his sentence.
  • The Klan: The Neon Knights, an anti-robot hate group, are referred to as a "klan" and wear pointy white hoods.
  • Kneel Before Zod: A later story shows that during the "Necropolis" arc Chief Judge Silver, after botching a suicide attempt, was captured by the Dark Judges and forced to kneel before Judge Death. When he refused, they killed and revived him as a zombie to further humilitate him.
  • Knight Templar:
    • Every single one of the Judges and the entire point of the system, with Anderson as perhaps the only exception.
    • The Dark Judges, Judge Death in particular, are the exaggerated version. They try to solve crime by cleansing their world, and later the multiverse, of every living thing.
    • The Democracy movement eventually resorted to acts of domestic terrorism in an attempt to oust the Judges. During the "Total War" arc, they used stolen nuclear devices to force the Judges to step down, blowing up the city one sector at a time until they cave.

    L 
  • A Lady on Each Arm: Played for horror. When Judge Death first meets the Sisters of Death, the three of them are shown like this, with them clinging to his legs after he spares their lives. He's a psycho killer cop, they're two screeching haglike witches. Oh, and there's body parts laying all over the place.
  • Laughably Evil: Sabbat The Necromagus, he even teaches his zombie minions how to sing original song compositions praising him while they slaughter Sabbat's opponents.
    Sabbat: You should see 'em tapdance! I always think that mindless slaughter is improved by a touch of humour, don't you? Laugh and the world laughs with you!
  • Lamarck Was Right: Zigzagged. Dredd is cloned from Fargo and is undoubtedly the greatest judge who ever patrolled the streets of Mega City One. The new Rico is shaping up well, with Dredd noting that Rico's stats are reading better than his own. However, the original Rico winds up corrupt and gets arrested and later killed by Dredd. Kraken shows competence as a judge, but lacks Dredd's iron will and is manipulated by the Sisters of Death into doing their bidding. Nimrod suffers from Clone Degeneration, though this is more down to the genetic modifications he goes through. Dolman quits the academy, though he does assist Dredd after Day Of Chaos as a member of the Space Corps. Paris ends up deserting during Chaos Day and winds up pregnant, though her future remains to be seen.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice:
    • Dredd. And it's even the only part of his face visible. Notably, it became more pronounced as the years went on.
    • Exaggerated with the Fargos, Dredd's mutant cousins.
  • Laser Blade: Hondo City (what was Japan) Judges in more recent years are issued with laser blades, replacing the traditional katanas from earlier stories.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Several of Dredd's actions in earlier strips have serious repercussion over the years. Most notably, his personally nuking East Meg One during The Apocalypse War is the whole reason for Colonel Borisenko's "Fourth Faction" unleashing the Chaos Bug on Mega City One. Thirty Years Later.
  • Last-Name Basis: Dredd's given name is Joseph, but everyone just calls him Judge, Judge Dredd, or simply Dredd.
  • Last Request: In "Origins", Judge Fargo begs his clone son Dredd on his death bed to reform the Judges, who have turned from custodians against the excesses of the jingoistic former central government and rampant street criminals into a tool of fear against the people themselves.
  • Late to the Tragedy: In Dark Justice, the Mayflower colony ship hasn't even left the solar system when the Dark Judges make their presence known after having stowed away in a human host. The rescue mission led by Dredd and Anderson can't get there until 12 days later, at which point pretty much every passenger has become a corpse.
  • Lawful Stupid:
    • Despite being a satire of zero-tolerance policy, the whole premise runs on this. However, while initially Dredd was certainly like this, with incidents such as victims often being arrested for minor acts committed while being the victims of greater crimesnote , as time progressed Dredd grew more of a conscience and has been known to bend, oppose and, on occasion, flout the law if the situation appeared to warrant it. The later overturning of Mega-City One's mutant laws are a good example of this.
    • The CEO of a power company once doubled the rate he was charging Mega-City One over a late payment, refusing to accept "75.2% of our accounting staff were murdered by brainwashed ninjas" as a valid excuse, or else he'd cut off their power in 24 hours. Said power was the only thing keeping several dozen nuclear warheads from overheating and killing 800,000 people, but that was what was called for in their contract. The stupid bit? His company was on ground zero, meaning he was threatening to kill himself and all his employees over the cost of a month's payment. The judges instead decided to launch their nukes into the Black Atlantic, and the CEO and his staff died in the exhaust instead.
  • Lawman Baton: Dredd carries a daystick as part of his standard equipment. He's an expert with it, with one rookie noting that when she was failing her Applied Violence course, she found every single video clip of Dredd armed with a daystick she could find in order to brush up. In more recent years, it's been upgraded with a titanium core to counter perps wielding chainsaws.
  • Lean and Mean: The mass-murdering Judge Death is a very skinny fellow, mostly because he's an undead spirit inhabiting a corpse. He's quite tall but only weighs around 67 kg. He's also surprisingly strong for his size, being able to throw boulders into the air with ease and lift people up as if they were nothing.
  • Leave No Survivors: During "Origins", Anti-Hero Judge Dredd and his team are attacked by a gang of outlaws in the Cursed Earth. When they return, Dredd orders his people "No Quarter" so they kill every one of them. Dredd even shoots a survivor begging for mercy.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: A rare case where it actually works, when at war (well, the televised sports spectacle war briefly becomes before going back to traditional nuclear warfare in The Apocalypse War) with the Sovs, Dredd and his one surviving team mate drop their guns and charge the Sov troops. The new guns the Sovs are using work on a preset range, as opposed to impact, so Dredd closes the gap faster than the Sovs can readjust the range of detonation and manages to turn their weapons against them.
  • Legacy Character: Judge Giant, Jr; the second Rico, a clone of Dredd; and Judge Beeny, daughter of the lead from "America". Fintan Joyce, the son of Charlie Joyce, the Irish judge introduced in Emerald Isle joins the Mega City One Justice Department as a retrainee (a judge with prior experience elsewhere who transfers in).
  • Let Off by the Detective: Parodied in a one-shot comic where a first-time thief steals from a recently deceased citizen before he's quickly cornered by Judge Dredd himself. After the thief pleads for mercy, Dredd unexpectedly does a 180 and gives the guy a break. Then it's shown to be just a dream the perp had in his cell.
  • Let Them Die Happy: In the "Cursed Earth" epic storyline, the alien Tweak gives punk biker Spikes Harvey Rotten the mineral rights to his home planet (as Tweak was its leader) just before the final battle. Spikes went into combat happy, knowing that he was (in theory) immensely rich. Tweak then admitted to Dredd that his precognitive powers had assured him that Spike would not live to claim his prize.
  • Lie Detector: Lie detectors function on the basis of red and green lights, though they can apparently still be fooled.
  • Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: The Dark Judges famously use the statistic that none of the people they execute will ever commit another felony again as proof that death is the cure for crime.
  • Like Is, Like, a Comma: This is the way Judge Janus speaks.
  • Limited Advancement Opportunities: Dredd frequently turns down the Chief Judge's job, as it means taking him off the streets and leaving him with a lot of paperwork.
  • Listing The Forms Of Degenerates: "Give me your perps, your muties, your psychos..."
  • Literal Maneater: There's a very rare breed of Giant Spider somewhat akin to the black widow who will take on the appearance of humans to get close enough to devour them. It initially appears as a woman to seduce hapless men, but it turns out it can take on both female and male forms to lure mates.
  • Literal Metaphor: In Closet, the viewpoint character, a gay man who has discovered an underground club which fetishes Dredd, recalls how his father had been disapproving of his sexual orientation and that it was "fear that killed him." The next panel shows him being killed by Judge Fear.
  • Literary Allusion Title: "The Torture Garden" is named after the novel by Octave Mirbeau (Le Jardin des supplices), which also serves as a plot point within the story as a source of fascination for the Dark Judges.
  • Living Dream: In one album, the villain seemed to be Judge Death, but at the end turned out to not be him after all: "He" was actually the living dream of a female psionic who (probably subconsciously) used him as an assassin to get rid of her enemies.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Over the years, many many supporting and oneshot characters have appeared, some more memorable than others. Some of them die, some go to the cubes and some show up again after being absent for decades. The only constant is the fact that Dredd is The Protagonist.
  • Longevity Treatment: Aging has been slowed down quite a bit after most diseases have been eradicated and anti-aging drugs and skin grafting have become more advanced. Judge Dredd for instance is chronologically in his 70s, but still looks like a 40-something.
  • Long-Lived: Medical technology has advanced sufficiently that people can live up to the age of 150. Dredd himself is in his seventies and still active on the streets. One perp is sent to prison in 1980 and gets out in 2130 due to supernatural powers.
  • Long Runner: Since 1977.
  • Loony Laws: Judge Cal passes a number of ridiculous laws during his insane term as Chief Judge, such as outlawing happiness. Sometimes he got more creative:
    Cal: "I have today passed a law to maintain public order! Deputy Chief Judge Fish will announce it!"
    Fish: "Bloop!"
    Cal: "You have heard the law. The penalty for disobedience is death!"
  • Loophole Abuse: Uplifted ape Don Uggie attempts this when Dredd arrests him, pointing out he has committed no crime because Mega City One's criminal laws have not yet been updated to include non-human sapients. Dredd's response is to have him incarcerated at the Mega-City Zoo as "an animal creating danger to human life" under the Animal Nuisance Act.
  • Love Is a Weakness: It's Justice Dept.'s view that love corrupts a Judge's better sense of judgment and decision making. As such, "extrajudicial liaisons" are illegal and Mega-City One Judges are not allowed to marry or raise a family.
  • A Love to Dismember: A variant in the second Fall of Deadworld story, where the still-conscious head of a recently-zombified evil Judge is cut off by his female colleague, who then kisses him before putting it on a spare body.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: There are plenty of stories which focus on regular people, with Dredd sometimes barely appearing.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: After "Day Of Chaos", due to heavy losses to the department and the destruction of the Academy of Law, the standards for a passing grade for a Rookie Judge are dramatically reduced in order to try and make up the numbers, something Dredd is not happy about.

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