The weekly sci-fi comic book 2000AD has featured Judge Dredd since almost the very beginning, back in in 1977. A satire on the police, set in the ominously near future, it sees Judge Dredd, the ultimate police officer, morally certain, violently active, fighting against a world on the brink of lawlessness, with fascist policies.
A new Judge Dredd story, Carry The Nine, by Rob Williams, Arthur Wyatt, Boo Cook and Annie Parkhouse, Carry The Nine, began recently and is telling a different story. Spoilers ahead.
Judge Maitland, created by Al Ewing and Nick Dyer, heads up the Accounts division in the Judge Dredd city of Mega-City One. She is a desk cop, but one whose value Judge Dredd has praised in the past. After recent stories dealt massive destruction in Mega-City One, the council of Judges convene to decide what has to be done.
The place needs repairing, fast, to prevent further disquiet and riot. And so accountancy Judge Maitland is called on for the figures needed.
Diverting spending from other areas to repairs, that is her given task. Anything but frontline policing, funding the Judges patrolling the city with their iron fists and iron guns. But even as the country is in riot, Judge Maitland finds it hard to crunch any numbers that don't make things even worse. So she experiments.
Models the idea of increasing spending on education, rather than street patrols – and ends up all-but eliminating crime. And, presumably, eliminate Judges in the process. Well now. The second chapter sees Maitland struggling with her findings.
Looking into the stories of individual people rather than just crunching the numbers. And finding hard evidence that she might be on the right track, investing in people's development, and keeping them out of the Cubes. Who can she tell? Judge Dredd?
Seems not. In the new 2000AD, Judge Maitland makes her case to the council. But not before she has put some names to those numbers. Nothing like a little personalisation.
And she makes her case. Can the Council of Judges really turn her down, given her working out?
"The less uniforms, the less crime". Lack of use of the word 'fewer' aside, this is, to all intents and purpose, Defund Judge Dredd. Or #defundjudgedredd.
With something similar going on with #DefundBatman at DC Comics for 2021, is this an idea whose time has come, in science-fiction at least? Or, in the world of 2000AD, will Judge Maitland be her own worse enemy and the cause of her undoing? I guess Mega-City One does not appreciate a whistleblower…
2000AD is published from Rebellion. I bought mine from Piranha Comics in Kingston-Upon-Thames. Piranha Comics is a small south London comic store chain with a small south-east store in Kingston-Upon Thames's market centre, which runs Magic The Gathering nights on Fridays, and a larger south-west store in Bromley, which also runs Magic nights and has an extensive back issue collection and online store. If you are in the neighbourhood, check them out.