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    M 
  • Made a Slave: In the story "Dead Zone", Yodie and his girlfriend Belle are captured by a slave ring that forces people to mine the mass grave of Chaos Day victims to loot the corpses.
  • Made of Iron: Dredd. He's been shot more times than he can remember, has broken so many bones that they've been replaced with artificial replacements and even been burned alive and then doused in acid. None of this has been remotely near enough to stop him.
  • The Mafia: The traditional mafia still exists in the Big Meg, but they're a dying breed and their traditions are considered antiquated in the face of newer crime syndicates, especially seeing as their own affiliates suffer from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
  • Magic Pants: Averted in "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman," in which a civilian woman accidentally ingested some growth hormone that vastly increased her size. Her clothes were completely destroyed, so she made a literal Flag Bikini. Despite this, Dredd's first thought was to charge her with indecent exposure.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Face change machines provide a quick and relatively easy method of changing someone's appearance. They're also legal and are so common that they're used in beauty parlours around the city, mostly for people looking for a quick facelift. However, criminals make use of them to change their identities to evade the law and judges sent in undercover make use of them for the opposite purpose. Someone with a bit of knowledge on the subject can spot someone who's had a face change, as it does have an effect on the skin and, in some cases, there are limits to the amount of face changes a face can take before the subject's facial muscles give in.
  • Make an Example of Them: During the Apocalypse War, the defending Judges execute a batch of Sov-Block collaborators and leave their bodies out in the open as a message to any would-be traitors.
  • Make Them Rot: Judge Mortis, one of the four dreaded Dark Judges who periodically break into the reality of Mega-City One, has the power to induce instant mortification and decay in anything he touches.
  • Man of the City: Mega-City One is Dredd's home. DON'T mess with it. Entire PLANETS have learned this the hard way.
  • Married to the Job: Dredd has no life whatsoever outside of his responsibilities and duties as a Judge (During the Day Of Chaos arc, he tells a group of prospective cadets that he works twenty three hours a day). Even when other Judges may recognize a perp or victim as a celebrity personality from a vidshow, Dredd will not, nor would he care. Dredd is celibate and doesn't even celebrate his own birthday—not even when the Chief Judge and closest associates at Justice Dept. get him a cake and gifts. The closest thing Dredd has to a leisure activity is reading the Book of Law.
  • Master Poisoner: Fink Angel from the Angel Gang.
  • May–December Romance: P.J. Maybe (when he's in his 30s) marries a 97-year old billionaire to get access to her riches, having previously assumed the face of her late husband to woo her.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • This can apply to both characters (Judge Dredd, President Booth, Deputy Chief Justice Fodder, and many more) and city blocks in the Big Meg (large apartment complexes that function as indoor towns and can house about a hundred thousand to a million citizens Depending on the Writer).
    • Judge Dredd used to reside at the Rowdy Yates Block, which is named after Clint Eastwood's character from the TV show Rawhide; Clint Eastwood's portrayal of Dirty Harry was a key inspiration for Judge Dredd.
    • Things tend to happen in appropriately-named places, too, If a devolution virus turns the locals into apes, it'll happen in the Charles Darwin Block.
    • During The Pit storyline, some Judges made a final stand at a substation at Alamo street.
    • What would they call a block that houses a serial killer who skins his victims? Ed Gein, of course!
  • Mega City: Possible Trope Namer. The world of Judge Dredd is divided into a number of enormous metropoles containing hundreds of millions of people each after the nuclear wars turned most of the planet into an irradiated wasteland. The main setting of the stories is Megacity One (Judge Dredd's city), which spans most of the former United States East Coast. Different creative teams added more and more locations to it, leading John Wagner and Carlos Esquerra to whittle it down by having the Sovs nuke half of the city in The Apocalypse War.
  • Megaton Punch: Dredd's legendary punch to Judge Fear. Dredd doesn't just punch him in the face, he punches through his face.
  • The Mentor:
    • Judge Morphy is this to Dredd. Having been his assessing judge in his final exam on the street, Morph was always willing to give Dredd advice, even after Dredd has already spent decades as a judge and is regarded as the best ever. Dredd saw Morphy as a father figure, noting after his death and while threatening to kill the perp responsible that while Fargo might have been his clone father that Morphy was like a real father to him.
    • Dredd himself will mentor younger judges being (very) firm but ultimately fair. Despite her lineage, Dredd sees real promise in America Beeny and she becomes a judge in almost record time.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • Dredd's former academy classmate, Raider, does this to his wife when she gets fatal radiation poisoning.
    • Dredd and a squad of judges in radiation suits shoot some civilians who wander into a radiated zone in "The Apocalypse War" at their own request.
    • Dredd gives his horribly mutated clone Nimrod a mercy kill after Nimrod saved his niece Vienna's life during the Total War atomic bombings.
  • Mind Rape: The Dark Judges in their second appearance focus their psychic powers in an attack on Judge Anderson's mind to "crush it until it bleeds". She's losing this fight until she channels the spirits of their victims to obliterate them.
  • Mind Virus: The denizens of the evil dimension of Deadworld have once used Judge Anderson's mind to spread a psychic virus called Half-Life into Mega-City One, which caused widespread chaos as people spontaneously became either homicidal and suicidal (or both).
  • Mirror Universe: Deadworld, homeworld of Judge Death and Dark Judges, where Judges realized that all crimes are made by living, so life itself was outlawed. Interestingly, both universes seem to contain a version of the Judge Child. Whereas the one in the "good" (but crapsack) main universe is actually evil, the one in the alternate evil universe is really good.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: The father of the man who would one day become Judge Death was an insane dentist who was consumed with hate and loathing for people, to the point of regularly torturing and murdering his patients. His son adopted his stance on the worthlessness of life before becoming a Judge, leading him to the conclusion that all of it must be exterminated.
  • Missed Him by That Much: In "The Pit" arc, the corrupt SJS sector chief Herman Roth goes on the run when he's exposed. Dredd and another Judge are among the ones looking for him when they miss him by a few seconds when he's smuggled out in a tanker truck by some criminal associates of his. He'd have been better off if they caught him—his partners in crime melt him to death because he's become expendable.
  • Mr. Seahorse: Pregnant men are a fairly common occurance in Mega City One.
  • Moment Killer: Couples looking for romantic moonlit moments need to finish them before 9 PM, because that's when it becomes a gigantic advertising billboard (via laser projectors).
  • Monster Fangirl: Countdown to Necropolis had a rather tragic justified example. After a woman barely survives an encounter with Judge Death, it creates a psychic link between the two. She basically becomes a smitten fangirl of Death and dreams about becoming his bride. She then helps his allies Phobia and Nausea to cross the dimensional span into Mega City One by sacrificing her husband, for which Death rewards her by ripping out her heart.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: The Dark Judges as a whole. Undead monstrosities capable of (and have!) destroying entire worlds of life, have a fanatic zeal for killing people and are horrifying in appearance.
  • Monumental Damage:
    • In America, pro-democracy terrorists attempt to blow up the already degraded Statue of Liberty as a symbol of protest against the oppressive rule of the Judges.
    • During Day of Chaos, the Statue of Justice is destroyed in a missile attack. Done for both symbolic and practical reasons; as the building also functioned as a surveillance center, it crippled the eyes and ears of Justice Department.
  • Morality Dial:
    • The cyborg "Mean Machine" Angel has a dial on his head that controls his personality. The lowest setting is "Surly". Unfortunately for him and everyone around him, the dial is completely mechanical and thus is highly vulnerable to getting stuck, resulting in Unstoppable Rage. It was later removed, returning Mean to his original kind and sensitive personality, and released him to be looked after by his equally gentle son.
    • Mean's son also has a dial, but it goes from "Kind" to "Messiah".
    • Most robots have it, and rampages are due to a malfunctioning of this.
  • More Dakka: This is basically the only way to take out the Dark Judges since being reanimated corpses they don't feel pain. Just keep shooting until there's nothing left and pray you have something to capture their spirits with. Judge Fire is even worse because he's (obviously) also immune to the Lawgiver's incendiary bullets.
  • Mugging the Monster: Towards the end of the Dark Judges story "The Torture Garden", the survivors of Dominion lure them into pursuing them down a cave containing "Stink Bugs", pheral humanoid aliens which primarily feed on rotting meat. The four zombies are initially startled when they get jumped, but dispose of the creatures pretty quickly.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: The Dark Judges are an unconventional example, given that their real objective is to wipe out all life across the multiverse, but given what we've seen of their decimated homeworld, the result fits the spirit of the trope. Judge Death, for instance, stresses that his jurisdiction is "limitless".
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: In a prequel story, Judge Death is seen playing chess with his father's corpse, whom he personally executed years before when he was inducted into the Academy of Law.
  • Murder.com: A story set during the "Democracy" arc had a perp kidnap a neighbor and broadcast himself to all of Mega-City One, inviting the viewers to phone in and decide which of two increasingly painful and gory torture methods should be applied, culminating in the viewers choosing how the guy should die. There was always the option to vote to free him, but naturally, nobody ever chose that option.
  • Mutants: Generally people whose genetic makeup was affected by nuclear radiation as a result of several atomic wars. Unlike in American comics, namely Marvel, mutants in Dredd's world just suffer from physical deformities and other freakish abnormalities. Superpowers developing from mutations are very rare, although it is suggested that the psychic powers of Psi-Division operatives are mutations in and of themselves; in story about an ex-judge-turned-Bounty Hunter who was kicked out for having a mutation that gave her a third kidney, the character posits that Psi-Division judges have greater mutations than she does.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Judge Death was already an insane Hanging Judge when he was alive. His goal of destroying his entire homeworld in the name of justice required him to die and then be resurrected through dark magic as a zombie, partly so he would become an unstoppable menace, and partly because "kill everyone" would just have been hypocritical if he didn't.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Chief Judge Thomas Silver has this reaction when he realizes that the corrupted Judge Kraken, whom he personally approved against Dredd's judgment, is going to release the Dark Judges and start Necropolis.
    • Dredd asks himself "What have I done?" when he holds himself responsible for Yassa Povey being blinded by the Sisters of Death.
    • Judge Garson, a heavy tank commander, has this reaction after he realises that he's been manipulated by the Sisters Of Death into killing his own tank crew.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: When it's apparent that the Apocalypse War is lost, War Marshal 'Mad Dog' Kazan refuses to admit defeat and executes one of his generals for so much as bringing it up. His subordinates realize that they need Dredd to kill Kazan for them, because they still have an oath of loyalty to their War Marshal.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Sensitive Klegg is the one member of his species who defected because he doesn't like eating people. He's still shunned and nearly murdered by Mega City One citizens for his intimidating appearance.
  • Myth Arc: The largest thematic arc in the comics since the mid-1980s has been the question of whether the Judges' rule is legitimate. Democracy has been ruthlessly suppressed by the Judges (an event which temporarily caused Dredd to resign in disillusion), creating terrorist cells with the long-term goal of overthrowing the Justice Department. Judge Fargo himself thought that in hindsight, his authoritarian reforms were not meant to be forever.
  • Mythology Gag: The manner of PJ Maybe's death is similar to Ma Ma's, except this time, Dredd pushes Maybe off a ledge first, then shoots him and blows him up.
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    N 
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Parodied when all of the actors who played John Blaze are lured to their deaths with the Sean Connery standin as the Sole Survivor. When interviewed afterwards, he says of his next film project "The namesh Dredd. Judge Dredd."
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Dredd's genetic engineers gave him his clone brothers the surname "Dredd", believing it could instill fear in the populace.
    • SATANUS, THE UNCHAINED, a gigantic, evil, and very angry Tyrannosaurus rex from the Cursed Earth arc.
    • Judge Death, who's an Omnicidal Maniac.
    • Mean Machine Angel, the most violent member of the Angel outlaw family. And yes, "Mean" is his actual given name.
    • Subverted with Judge Judas, who is just a slightly ditzy psychic and not treacherous in any way.
  • Narrative Poem: Quite a handful of stories are told through rhyme and verse.
  • National Stereotypes: Other mega cities tend to have these. For example, all the judges in Ciudad Baranquilla are corrupt, Emerald Isle is a theme park based on stereotypes of Oireland, everyone from Cal-Hab is a Violent Glaswegian and Hondo City has a Samurai culture as well as Yakuza. Stories involving these were rampant in the mid nineties (though, Emerald Isle is a parody of Irish politics created by Garth Ennis).
  • The Necrocracy:
    • In the dimension of Deadworld, life itself was outlawed by a group of undead lawmen known as the Dark Judges, who remained as its custodians after completing their global genocide.
    • During the "Necropolis" arc, Mega City One is conquered by the Dark Judges and the Sisters of Death and turned into a slaughterhouse. Judge Death is installed as Chief Judge, the Sisters use their powers to blot out the sun, and the regular Judges are brainwashed to assist their new masters in exterminating the whole population. Before Judge Dredd and his allies manage to take back the city, 60 million people have died.
    • After Necropolis a constitutional crisis occurred when a zombified Chief Judge Silver returned to reclaim his post from the incumbent McGruder. Judge Dredd ruled that the post was legally still occupied by a dead man, but then deposed and formally executed Silver for criminal neglect of duty during the invasion.
  • Necromancer: Necromancers have shown up on occasion.
    • In the Judge Child Quest, Dredd came across Murd the Oppressor, an alien tyrant-sorcerer who could resurrect the dead and was the keeper of Sagbelly, a giant sacred toad. He actually succeeded in killing Dredd, only to revive him.
    • The Sisters of Death are the source of the Dark Judges' zombified state after they befriended the young Judge Death.
    • Judge Death himself also has some power over the dead, forcibly zombifying both Chief Judge Silver to continue tormenting and humiliating him and a Cursed Earth resident named Malachi to wipe the radlands clean of life.
    • The villain from Judgment Day, Sabbat the Necromagus, animated an army of zombies to launch a global Zombie Apocalypse. His backstory shows that he was Murd's best student.
  • Nerves of Steel: Street Judges are trained from early childhood to be stoic and calm at all times. Dredd is the oldest judge on the force, having been active for more than half a century, so really has Seen It All. He tends to approach any crisis with complete serenity, for instance hunting down a Xenomorph with the same routine attitude as a plumber fixing a kitchen sink. He even punched Fear itself in the face!
  • Never Bareheaded: Dredd doesn't like to take his helmet off.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The sewers of Mega City One developed a population of giant albino alligators because the sensors watching over it weren't programmed to look for them. They were discovered when one of them ate a perp that Dredd was chasing.
  • New Old West: The Cursed Earth is essentially an After the End version of the Old West, with Dredd and his fellow Judges often taking the role of The Sheriff.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: The Dark Judges are undead monsters who are virtually impossible to destroy. Their physical forms are incredibly strong to begin with, but these are just hosts they're possessing. Destroying it will only prompt their incorporeal essence to possess another person and transform back into their standard shapes.
  • Nightmare Face: Judge Fear is able to kill by simply revealing his face, though the reader never sees it. Averted once by Dredd himself [1]
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Elusive serial killer PJ Maybe has a habit of planning out his murders with graphically disturbing crayon drawings, starting when he was a teenager and continuing to do so into adulthood.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: During the Judgment Day arc, Sabbat the Necromancer unleashed a Zombie Apocalypse on the Earth specifically so he could harvest the corpses of the slain for his undead army for future galactic conquest.
  • The Night That Never Ends: During the "Necropolis" arc, the Sisters of Death blacked out all light in Mega City One while the Dark Judges began to murder the whole population. The temperature soon dropped to 10 below freezing and the supply system quickly collapsed. Only several months later did Dredd succeed in banishing the sisters and restoring daylight.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Chief Judge McGruder is clearly based on Margaret Thatcher, and Francisco rather resembles Barack Obama. An eccentric pop music star from the 20th Century named Jaxon Prince who was cryogenically frozen into the 22nd Century was very obvious stand-in for Michael Jackson.
    • The Muzak Killer arc was full of these. Standins for Kylie Minogue (and Dannii in a later sequel), Bros, New Kids on the Block, Sinéad O'Connor, Jason Donovan and Richey Edwards amongst others are all killed during Marty Zpok's rampage (though, in a Harsher in Hindsight moment, the Edwards Expy ends up killing himself by carving "4RALE" into his forehead). Garth Ennis must really hate pop music.
    • Ever since the 2012 Dredd movie went into production, stories have occasionally been including references to movies starring an actor named Urb Karlan, frequently mentioned in Mega-City billboards and advertisements. He even plays Dredd in an in universe adaptation of The Dead Man.
    • If there's a tv talent show, there's a good chance one of the judges on the panel will be heavily based on Simon Cowell.
    • One Christmas Episode focused on a murder mystery featuring all of the actors who played a secret agent named John Blaze. They've all been invited to a dinner at an old mansion where they're all picked off one by one with Sean Shcott being the only one to survive. Turns out the digitised personality of the guy who wrote the original books was pissed off that the movies had ruined his character and wanted to bump them off. Dredd defeats him by simply cutting the power.
    • "Dark Justice" featured a starship named the Mayflower run and funded by a guy who was basically a parody of Richard Branson and his Virgin Galactic space tourism company.
    • Around the time of the Brexit referendum, a story was published featuring an anti-alien politician who strongly resembled Nigel Farage. The character's wife is an alien.
    • Similarly, the "Toxic" storyline has aliens who symbiotically bond with human sewer cleaners and help their lives. Naturally, the presence of beneficial aliens helping the lowest orders of society in Mega-City One causes a bunch of anti-alien protesters to show up, including one who (of course) looks like Trump.
  • No Escape but Down: At the end of Necropolis, the Dark Judges are apprehended one by one after the Sisters of Death are booted back to their own dimension. When Judge Death is cornered on an inter-block walkway, he jumps out the window to escape. Being undead, he easily survives the mile-high jump.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Judge Cal, a more literal case of The Caligula than most. He was actually based on John Hurt's portrayal of the real Caligula in I, Claudius right down to the flowing blonde locks. He even names his pet fish as Judge.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: Most of the regular citizens wear either Space Clothes or weird punk-inspired getup; indeed, Max Normal is seen as odd because he wears an 80s business suit. However, the gangsters in the first few years tended to wear stereotypical 80s gangster gear - pinstripe or corduroy suits, and trilbies.
  • No Party Like a Donner Party: During Necropolis, when the entire city was covered in a black fog by the Dark Judges and the Sisters of Death, citizens in the worst areas had to resort to cannibalism to survive. Dredd later runs into two women who had been driven insane and started killing people after their father had offered himself to give his daughters a chance to live through it.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Judge Dredd once had a stalker who becomes obsessed with him after rescuing her from some criminals. She arranges a meeting to make a marrriage proposal, but Dredd is only Married to the Job. After getting rejected she immediately tries to throw herself off a bridge.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: This is enforced by the 'mega epics', big crisis story arcs that change the status quo. For instance, during "The Apocalypse War" half of Mega City One and all of East Meg One is destroyed, and "Day of Chaos" ends with Mega City One reduced to a virtual ruin. As the comic also avoids Comic-Book Time by taking place in real time, Judge Dredd has aged significantly since the comic's debut and is feeling it.
  • Not My Driver: PJ Maybe assassinates one of his former rivals in the city government by planting bombs in the studio where the election debate is taking place and then kidnapping the victim by impersonating his usual driver when he tries to escape.
  • No True Scotsman: The deranged philosophy of the Dark Judges is that all life is a crime. So in order to judge people without hypocrisy they allowed themselves to be transformed into zombies. After their whole planet had been wiped out, their leader Judge Death gathered his followers and purged all but his three closest supporters. His argument was that they were not really Dark Judges since they were too much like the living.
  • Not So Different: Judge Dredd's Evil Counterpart Judge Death has tried this approach towards Dredd several times, noting that they're both zealous enforcers of the law, and even offered Dredd to be his new host on one occasion. Dredd counters that despite their mutual dedication to their principles, only Death enjoys murder for its own sake.
  • The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: After Dredd assassinates a brainwashed Chief Judge Griffin on live television and escapes during the "Apocalypse War" Story Arc, all East-Meg Judges present throughout the incident have been rounded up and are about to be issued winter clothing before being sent off to a penal colony in Siberia, which is War Marshall Kazan's typical punishment for failure.
    Kazan: Cancel that order!
    East-Meg Judge: You mean you're not sending them to Siberia?
    Kazan: No, I mean they're not getting any winter clothing!
  • Not So Similar: In the future it will apparently be a commonly made mistake to assume that because two people share the same genetic code they will be interchangeable replacements for each other on the job. Fargo clones may be universally badass, but they range from insane traitor to life itself to too nice to be an effective judge.

    O 
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Played With. In his earliest stories, Evil Genius PJ Maybe evaded suspicion for his activities by spelling badly and acting dense. As it turns out, he's certainly not dense, but he's genuinely a terrible speller.
    • In "The Cursed Earth" arc, alien Tweak intentionally acted like an unintelligent being to prevent humans from having an interest in his species and his home planet.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Mega-City One has the Bureau of Creative Bureaucracy. Its motto is "Saving Money For The City By Making Things Difficult For You!"
  • Obviously Evil: The four Dark Judges are probably the most visually evil out of Judge Dredd's enemies. Their names are Judge Death, Judge Fear, Judge Fire, and Judge Mortis, their uniforms are black and adorned with human bones, they willingly became undead abominations through black magic, and want to kill all life.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Judges of Mega City One are huge compared to modern police forces, but they have to patrol a city that literally covers the entire East coast of the USA. The exact numbers vary over the course of the series but there are thousands of citizens for each judge at any given time. It isn't helped by the fact that nine out of every ten recruits fail the Training from Hell and the casualty rate exceeds that of the average war. It is a running theme in the series just how outnumbered and outgunned the Judges are.
  • Offered the Crown: Dredd has been asked to be Chief Judge on several separate occasions after saving the city from one catastrophe or another; however, he turns the offer down every time because he prefers life as a Street Judge. That said, he has accepted a place on the Council of Five with the condition that he be allowed to remain on the streets. He also has twice ran for the position of Chief Judge, the second being his reasoning that he figured Martin Sinfield as Chief is a lot worse than being put behind a desk. Prior to this, Dredd has sat on the Council a single day to make quorum during the trial of another member of the Council. Also, the first time Dredd ran for the position of Chief Judge, he didn't even vote for himself.
  • Offhand Backhand: Dredd's instinctive reaction to anyone trying to sneak up on him is to do this. He accidentally knocks out an innocent juve in one story, who merely tapped him on the shoulder. He advises the poor kid to never sneak up on a judge.
  • Official Cosplay Gear: Dredd's helmet has been available for some time; his badge is a more recent addition.
  • Offscreen Rebuilding: This is usually subverted wherein major story arcs that see much of the city destroyed are followed immediately by steps to rebuild and reclaim order (i.e. "Apocalypse War", "Necropolis", "Day of Chaos"), but outside of those few examples, this is played straight.
  • Oh My Gods!:
    • Characters swear by "Grudd", including the variant "Maureen, mother of Grudd!" It appears that the term is meant as a neologism for the christian God — clergymen from the Vatican megacity use the term as well. There's a storyline that involves an actual Christian movement. It turns out that Christianity is outlawed, and the whole Church of Grudd and Jovus thing is a way for the Judges to control people through religion. The Judges decide that the leader of the Christian 'cult' is too powerful, fake a terrorist attack, force him to confess for it, and have him killed to destroy the Christian movement and lead them back to Judge-approved religions.
    • Amusingly, the Judges of East Meg One (former Soviet Union) seem to have taken the traditional Soviet state religion to the point where "God" has been replaced by the names of the ruling Diktatorat's members in the vernacular, like "in Bulgarin's name" or "Vlad knows".
  • Oireland: This trope is combined with The Theme Park Version in Dredd's world where Ireland has been transformed into a giant amusement park based entirely on Irish stereotypes, down to an all-potato diet [[poiler:secretly replaced with molded rice because the potato's been extinct for decades]].
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Judge Dredd's adversery with serial killer PJ Maybe. Joe looks younger than he really is due to futuristic rejuvination treatments, but he's actually 80. Maybe has been on Judge Dredd's radar since he was a teenager until his final demise three decades later.
  • Older Than They Look:
    • In spite of the fact that we never see his face, Dredd sure doesn't look like a man in his seventies.
    • Anderson, despite being (as of 2137) in her late fifties, looks like she's still in her mid twenties. Arthur Ranson tried to draw her as looking more mature during the mid noughties, with the storyline reason being that Psis can't use anti-ageing drugs or else they will interfere with their powers, but other artists haven't followed this trend.
  • Omnicidal Maniac:
    • Judge Death and his followers declared life itself to be illegal in their world. Then they went on an interdimensional rampage to wipe every other world clean of life.
    • Sabbat the Necromancer is a powerful sorcerer who has made it his mission to destroy all life so he can use the corpses of the dead as part of his undead army.
  • Omniglot: Albert Sherman knows thirty-seven languages by the time he's six months old.
  • One-Man Army: Dredd has gone in alone into situations that the Hall of Justice wanted to send a squad or more of Judges to handle on multiple occasions and succeeded. The first time he did this was in the first issue.
  • One Riot, One Ranger:
    • In one comic after the "Judge Cal" arc, the Judges are trying to figure out how to clean up a district that had become totally lawless. The council wants to send in a small army of Judges. Dredd decides that they need to send a different message and convinces them to just send one. Dredd went into the district with nothing but his gun and a dump truck. He left, totally unharmed, with a dump truck full of criminals.
    • In fact, the very first Dredd strip portrayed Dredd going against a gang of criminals on his own for the same reasons.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Two separate characters have appeared with the name "Spikes 'Harvey' Rotten." In addition to sharing the same name, both were reputed to be ruthless bikers and part of a biker gang called "The Muties." The only thing that really sets them apart is their physical appearance. The first Spikes "Harvey" Rotten was a minor character who died in an illegal street race through Mega-City One; the second accompanied Dredd on his trek to Mega-City Two during the "Cursed Earth" arc.
    • Dredd encounters an Apocalypse Cult who have kidnapped an ordinary citizen in the hope of fulfilling a prophesy to destroy Mega City One. Upon rescuing the guy, Dredd notes that it's the third time in a year that he's been kidnapped and that he should consider changing his name from Owen Krysler.
  • Only Electric Sheep Are Cheap: The vast majority, if not all, of food falls into one of three categories: Animals that we would not normally consider food like rat, as most domestic animals seem to be extinct, extremely mutated plants (this is the source of most meat) that can grow in the toxic environment of cursed earth or artificially constructed out of raw chemicals.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Dredd's superior points out that his failure to denounce Galen DeMarco for kissing him was unusual for such a By-the-Book Cop, and maybe Dredd ought to ask himself why he didn't.
  • Operator Incompatibility: The Judges' DNA-encoded Lawgiver cannot be used by anyone else. Unlike the 1995 movie however, they explode and can tell if a clone sibling is using it, since in the comics clone Judges are common.
  • Oppressive States of America:
    • America has been split into three independent mega-cities, each of which is a fascist police state. Somewhat atypical in that the main characters are the Judges, i.e. the ones who are enforcing the police state, yet they mostly aren't portrayed negatively. Primarily because the Dreddverse is an extreme Crapsack World that has been on the brink of total destruction each time the Judges weren't there to hold the line.
    • The Alternate Universe that the Dark Judges hailed from was at first depicted ambiguously, but more recent stories have set it in a clear analogue of the United States. Somehow the fascist police state created there was even worse than in Judge Dredd's world, with the Judges being closer to psychotic mass murderers than oppressive bullies even before Judge Death became a Judge.
  • Origins Episode: There have been two very well-received ones:
    • First was Judge Death: Boyhood of a Superfiend, commissioned for the launch of the Judge Dredd Megazine. In it Judge Death employs a journalist to interview him and spread his message, to explain to the people of the world why they are better off dead. Death was a creepy little boy.
    • Later there was Origins to mark the 30th anniversary of Judge Dredd where Dredd explains the secrets and history of the Dredd universe (straightening up the continuity along the way) whilst on a mission to recover something that might unravel those secrets.
  • Orphaned Punchline: In "The Torture Garden", a prisoner of the Dark Judges has managed to survive by telling a morbid joke that amused one of them. The reader is only shown the set-up and punchline, which involves an actress walking into a bar with a dead monkey, and at the end someone commenting that the monkey is still breathing.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: In one of the stories, Dredd's arch-enemy Judge Death escapes from confinement and goes back to Deadworld to restrategize, but a mistake by the dimension-travel scientist sends both Death and the scientist back in time as well. When the two Judge Deaths run into each other, the past one initially runs his claw through the future one's chest. He's ultimately glad after Dredd takes his alternate self back to the future, because he really didn't want to deal with another him.
  • Our Founder: At the entrance of Deadworld's Hall of (In)Justice stands a statue of Judge Death to mark the spot where he killed the last living human, a founding monument for the new kingdom of the dead.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Initially averted. The original lawgiver looks like a typically Zeerusty 1970s sci-fi pistol. The Mark II variant and the Widowmaker shotgun amongst other weapons play it straight.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • The Dark Judges skirt the line between some sort of revenant and ghosts, as they're unkillable spirits occupying dead bodies. Though Judge Death hates being called a zombie, since it implies subservience to a master.
    • Romero-style zombies show up as mooks during "Judgement Day", when the world faces a Zombie Apocalypse. There's also Sabbat's former school bully, Den, who is brought back as a zombie with his mind intact as Sabbat's plaything. One story set in the aftermath of Judgement Day shows one citizen having died and come back to life shifting constantly between normal human behaviour and a desire to eat human brains.
    • Chief Judge Silver is resurrected as zombie with all his faculties intact by the Dark Judges to be tortured over and over.
  • Out-Gambitted: In "Trifecta", Judge Bachmann, the Justice Department head of Black Ops, gets hit with this hard. She had an army of brainwashed judge ninjas, commanded the complete loyal of a very powerful psi, and she'd managed to steal enough funds over the course of 16 years to build a flying city on the moon - all she needed to do was get the list of undercover Wally judges and she could assassinate anyone who opposed her and stage a coup. Then it turns out her vanished predecessor head of Black Ops, Judge Smiley, had been secretly watching her the entire time, and had placed his own Memory Gambitted agents in place to swap lists, kill her psi, and sabotage her flying city.

    P 
  • Painting the Medium: One of the stories in prog 2010 is told in two parts, with the second part set in 2131 and the first in 2098. The first part is done in the style of an 80s story — black and white artwork, a more cartoony art style, campier storytelling, an old-fashioned Lawgiver, and even 80s-style credits. The second part was similar to the contemporary strips.
  • Papa Wolf: In spite of his exterior, Dredd loves his niece, Vienna, very much. Grud help anyone who tries to harm her.
  • Pardon My Klingon: There’s "Drokk" (the f-word), "Grud" (God) and "Stomm" (shit). Note that these are legally sanctioned expletives which suggests the originals are illegal, hence why Judges don't use them and neither do civilians, not wanting to run foul of the harsh laws in Mega City One. A Precision F-Strike is an executable offence.
  • Penal Colony: Judges are expected to follow the Law to a far greater extent than anyone else, and any serious transgression made by a Judge is usually punishable by 20 years of forced labor on Saturn's moon Titan; prisoners' bodies are even surgically modified so that they can survive the atmosphere without ever needing a space suit.
  • Pen-Pushing President: When Hershey becomes Chief Judge, she sometimes laments that she spends most of her time signing documents that she doesn't even have time to read and misses being a street Judge. Dredd himself worries that he'll end up in the same position, so he always refuses to be Kicked Upstairs.
  • Permanent Elected Official: The Chief Judge of Mega City One, who are basically like a Roman dictator if you remove even their term limits. They were nominated by the Council of Five at first, then by an election held among the Senior Judges. While later on at least some checks and balances were added in that an obviously corrupt Chief Judge could be deposed either by the Special Judicial Squad or another Judge could decide to run against them for the position, terrible Chief Judges like McGruder and Cal were basically unremovable (because the former had dissolved the Council of Five, while the latter ran the SJS too), only vacating either of their own volition or by force. Averted by the Mayor, which anyone could run for, but the office itself is almost completely powerless.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Dredd, and to a lesser extent most other Judges.
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: The Dark Judges are undead foes of Judge Dredd who have ruled their dimension for centuries as living dead. It's unlikely that their bodies even can decay on their own, as they are really being fuelled by their spirits' psychic power.
  • Pet Rat: Judge Fairfax from the "Fall of Deadworld" series was the Chief Judge's "fixer" before the coup d'etat staged by the Dark Judges. This is why Judge Death is interested in turning Fairfax into his fourth main lieutenant.
  • Pet the Dog: Dredd on a surprising number of occasions, such as sending Tweak back without revealing his secret to protect his people from humans or the unemployed criminal he gave 'useful' Hard Labour. He will never break the Law for you, but he might be sympathetic in its use.
  • Phlebotinum-Induced Stupidity: There was an experimental weapon named "the Stupid Gun." It fell into the wrong hands—Hilarity Ensues.
  • Pity the Kidnapper: Features in a story where a criminal kidnaps a woman for ransom after she frees him in the mistaken belief that Society Is to Blame. Of course, she's so saccharinely annoying that he's soon begging to be taken to prison just to get away from her.
  • Planet of Steves: Everyone in Fargoville, the hometown of Eustace Fargo in the Cursed Earth, is named Eustace in honour of the first Chief Judge.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: Dredd is usually able to go for days without sleep. Of course, sleep machines allow for a full night's sleep in five minutes. It's implied that this can be detrimental to a judge's health and judges must stand down every two weeks and get a full night of natural sleep.
  • Police are Useless: Averted; the Judges are the only ones capable of reining in the anarchy of the future because of their extensive training and military hardware, and they're so heavily armed that they even have tactical and strategic nukes at their disposal in case of an invasion. Taking on a Megacity with anything less than an decked-out army of millions is suicide.
  • Police Brutality: Goes without saying. However, a Judge who gets a little too happy on the brutality part will get marked by the SJS for wantonly disregarding standard protocol and will get executed. There are lines that the Judges themselves can't cross. This, however, doesn't affect the Dark Judges, who are free to do their brutality as they see fit. And it's justified, since they're undead, and they declare that only the living commit crimes and that life itself is a crime.
  • Police State: A very literal example. Not only is Mega-City One a repressive dictatorship, the Judges are the police, the judiciary, the government, and the military, although they do departmentalize some of their functions. For instance, there's a separate Space Corps as a Justice Department subsidiary organization.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: In Judge Death's Origins Issue Boyhood of a Superfiend, his interviewer thinks that Death is referencing Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho when the genocidal psychopath gives him a False Reassurance that he's grown tired of killing and wouldn't hurt a fly. Since Death is from an Alternate Universe, he thinks that "Psycho" is meant to address him personally, and that "Hitchcock" is some sort of disease.
  • Possessing a Dead Body: The Dark Judges, who are really astral entities, use dead bodies to physically manifest. These have to be specially prepared with chemicals that mutate the bodies, not just any corpse will do. Near the end of "Necropolis", one of them repeatedly tried to resurrect a normal corpse in vain after his previous body was destroyed.
  • Possession Burnout: When the Dark Judges teamed up with The Joker, their plan involved one of their own possessing the Chief Judge to put out a warrant on Judge Anderson. The thing is, Judge Mortis' primary power is decaying anything he touches, so his host started falling apart within a few hours.
  • Post-Injury Desk Job: Judges injured in the line of duty who cannot recover sufficiently to meet the requirements of continuing as a street judge are often reassigned to administrative roles elsewhere in the Justice Department or become instructors at the Academy of Law. In the story arc "The Day the Law Died" Dredd recruits several of them to aid in his rebellion against the insane Judge Cal as they have not been affected by the brainwashing the street judges were subjected to via subliminal messages in their daily briefing tapes.
  • Post-Mortem Conversion: At the end of Judge Dredd: Origins, with his last breath, Fargo despairs at what has become of America and urges Dredd to restore freedom and democracy. In order to maintain order, Dredd tells the few others who know of Fargo's true fate that the old man was pleased that the Judges now ran America.
  • Powerful Pick: In his Start of Darkness origin story, Judge Death murders one of the hapless fools who accidentally awoke him from his slumber by burying a pick-axe in his back as he attempts to flee.
  • Powered Armor:
    • Exosuit Class armor. Interestingly, it's used in construction and demolition as opposed to combat through the Exo-Men gang uses them in a spate of robberies.
    • Dredd and his team makes use of a Hondo City-developed power armour during "Judgment Day" to assault Sabbat's base in the Radlands of Ji. This armour is described as the greatest innovation in weaponry since the Stub Gun. Joyce jokes that he could use one the next time he's called out to clear out his local pub at closing time.
  • Power Is Sexy: Serial killer PJ Maybe, who is masquerading as Mayor Byron Ambrose at that time, privately voices his attraction to Chief Judge Hershey, specifically because of her bossy demeanor.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Dredd will do whatever it takes to enforce the letter of the law and protect his city. If that means nuking the other side, so be it.
  • Prequel: Dreams of Deadworld and Fall of Deadworld are stories set on the homeworld of the Dark Judges before they travelled to Judge Dredd's dimension.
  • President Evil:
    • President Robert L. Booth was a cookie-cutter example of the trope. He stole the presidency through fraud, murdered the members of his White House staff who discovered this, and engaged in imperialistic wars that ended in nuclear genocide. Years after his release from cryo-prison, he's still trying to lead a mutant army in the Cursed Earth to take back the Presidency after the Judges deposed him as a tyrant.
    • PJ Maybe. He's a very good mayor, he just likes to murder people For the Lulz once in a while.
    • Inverted in Fall of Deadworld. There's a U.S. President leading La Résistance against the new Chief Judge, who is an Omnicidal Maniac. However, the President himself is just a stooge for that reality's East Meg One, and is disposed of as soon as he loses his usefullness to them.
  • Pretend We're Dead: In Dominion, three colonists attempting to escape the zombie massacre perpetrated by the Dark Judges pretend to be one of their brainwashed acolytes to get inside the protected dome where the other survivors are holed up. They're spotted after a while, and only one of them makes it.
  • Primary-Color Champion: Judge Dredd, as well as the other Judges of Mega-City One, wear red helmets, blue bodysuits, yellow armor, and green boots and gloves. Of course, given his occupation, Dredd himself is an anti-hero, but his enemies are worse.
  • Principles Zealot: Dredd himself is both a parody and an exaggerated version. He will stop at nothing to flaunt the law even if it's going to kill him and/or at the expense of others because it is his duty as a Knight Templar, By-the-Book Cop, Judge, Jury, and Executioner. Meanwhile, Judge Death is a parody of the parody and takes this trope to its logical extreme; he will blindly follow his goal of wiping out life without any abandon since he declares that only the living commit crimes and the non-living do not. This makes both counterparts literally no different from each other concerning their attitudes of what they define law.
  • Prison Riot:
    • The 90s storyline "Purgatory" features a riot happening in the space prison Titan, which is reserved for incarcerated Judges. It leads to a massive breakout, and an all-out attack on Mega City One.
    • Another riot occurs in the "Titan" arc, led by former Chief Judge Sinfield. The Judges had rigged explosives to destroy the prison after the previous breakout, but most of the prisoners escape to settle on the abandoned prison moon Enceladus.
  • Prophecy Twist: A dying Psi-Judge prophesizes that a child with an eagle mark on his forehead would have to become the Chief Judge of Mega-City One to save it from destruction. Judge Dredd traverses space to find him, but abandons (and later kills) him when he realizes that the Judge Child is truly evil. When Dredd travels to a Bad Future later on it turns out that the Judge Child would save the city from himself by becoming Chief Judge, as he would otherwise mutate into a hideous monster that would destroy the city.
  • Pseudolympics:
    • One early strip takes place during the first Lunar Olympics. Athletes are allowed to compete with bionic implants, provided that no less than 80% of their bodies is made of human tissue. Because of the moon's lower gravity, Earth records in events like the pole vault and the shot put are broken like crazy. There are also a few "Moon Sports" introduced, notably one best described as "snowboarding tricks meets the ski jump"; overshooting ones run and missing the safety net leads to some very bloody, deadly results.
    • Human Taxidermy has also become a competitive event in the Olympics. Jacob Sardini ("The Taxidermist") is said to have won a bronze medal for a work he had made in the 2082 games.
    • Sex and competitive staring are also events. Agnes Bolton once won the gold after a two and a half day match by simply waiting for the other guy to blink.
    • Sets up a nice inversion in a more recent strip. It's gotten to the point where every athlete competes with heavy cybernetic enhancements and steroids. Enter Aaron Johnson, an athlete who competes in the 100 metres with no cybernetics, drugs or even shoes. He doesn't actually manage to win the events he's in, but does respectably enough, considering what he's up against. Mega City One being Mega City One, there is actually public uproar because he makes the other competitors (and the Big Meg's health trends) look bad.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide:
    • The Dark Judges have pulled this stunt a bunch of times and forced people to stab or shoot themselves, usually because they required the human they were temporarily possessing as their next host body. While their mind control abilities work just fine on the living, they can only manifest their true forms by utilizing corpses.
    • A Death worshipper is transformed into a new Dark Judge, Judge Whisper, who kills all his victims in this manner. As a psychic, he digs into people's minds to drive them into despair and kill themselves.
  • Psychic Block Defense: Dredd resists psychic probing by Bachmann's psi-judge by concentrating hard enough, so as not to give away Smiley's plan. His mind is compared to a clenched fist.
  • Psychic Powers: The Judges have a Psi-Division just for people with "special talents". Unfortunately, the Psi Division has always relied on a few star operators, many of whom have died or been incapacitated, Anderson most notably, under the administration of Judges like Shenker.
  • Psycho for Hire: Judge Death was originally one of these when he signed up for his Alternate Universe's equivalent of the Judges so he could make a living out of killing people (and for the luncheon vouchers!). This is eventually subverted when he made himself Chief Judge by killing his predecessor, as he considers life in general to be a crime and is thus obsessive in exterminating all of it.
  • Psycho Serum:
    • In the prequel story Fall of Deadworld, the Dark Judges use a version of their dead fluids to make people go kill crazy. The ones that best respond to the stuff become new recruits.
    • In the sequel to that story, it's shown that even the regular Judges were injected with aggressors and deinhibitors from their training as cadets onwards to make them compliant thugs. It didn't work on the future Judge Death because he was already a psychopath.
  • Psycho Supporter: Halfway through "The Torture Garden", Chief Hershey discovers that one of the members of the strike team she sent to take out the Dark Judges on Dominion falsified his records, and is in fact an Ax-Crazy nutjob. Sure enough, he turns out to be a secret Death Cultist who also smuggled in Judge Fear as a Willing Channeler.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: During the "Necropolis" arc, the undead Judge Mortis has his sheep's skull blown off by a group of Academy students he was trying to kill. Within a few seconds the body has reattached the head and continues its pursuit.
  • Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër: The real name of Dredd's arch-enemy, Judge Death, is apparently Sidney D'Eath. (Which is, at least, a real surname. It's a contraction of "de Eath" that rhymes with "teeth", and most folks who bear it hate to hear people pronounce it "Death".) Sidney himself explains that it's pronounced "Daath". The 'E' is silent.
  • Pure Is Not Good: When some satanic cultists need to sacrifice a "pure" soul, they choose fascist Anti-Hero Judge Dredd as he's the closest thing to pure in their Crapsack World. Dredd is certainly not ''just'', but he is utterly incorruptible and the living embodiment of law, order, discipline, duty and sacrifice.
  • The Purge: After Judge Death became an undead monster and named himself Chief Judge by murdering his predecessor, he and his fellow Dark Judges had all the Judges who opposed their insane philosophy that life is the root of all crime (whom he referred to as "wets") eliminated.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Both Max Normal's and Maria's departure were explained as no longer willing to have anything to do with Dredd after having their lives put in danger one too many times. They just left; although later stories do tell of what happened to Maria after this time.
    • Hershey was reassigned to a colony posting after losing the Chief Judge's election. Though, after Chaos Day, The Bus Came Back.
  • Putting on the Reich:
    • Carlos Ezquerra says he made an eagle a prominent symbol of the Judges because it was strongly associated with the Nazis and Spanish fascists, the latter of whom he lived under for many years.
    • The SJS take this up to eleven, wearing black instead of navy blue, adorning their uniforms with skulls, and using a very SS font for their SJS badges.
  • Pyromaniac: Judge Fire is a skeletal Hanging Judge wreathed in flames. He gained his powers because he preferred burning people alive as the means of execution, starting with a primary school that he burned to the ground for "noise violations".

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