The crime is life, the sentence is death!
~ Judge Death's catchphrase.
You cannot kill what does not live!
~ Judge Death

Judge Death, born Sidney De'ath, is the main antagonist of the 2000 AD comic strip Judge Dredd. He is the leader of the Dark Judges, as well as the archenemy of Dredd himself. He is also, in many ways, what Dredd could have become if taken to the most extreme, as he, too, is a merciless enforcer of law. However, his version of the law is at odds with that of Dredd's world and thus makes him one of Dredd's many enemies. Due to his popularity, however, Judge Death has taken on more than just Judge Dredd and was the antagonist of a Judge Dredd/Batman crossover, as well as other tales that range from dark and sinister to downright comedic.

Unlike his other fellow judges who are content with upholding their justice in their own homeworld, Death intends to spread and impose his justice upon other realms, always on the neverending quest to end all life everywhere his deathly power can reach.

Biography

Origins

Little Boy

The young Sidney De'ath was pure evil even as a little boy, with him torturing his dog by making the dog repeatedly bash it's head against the table using the ball and shooting birds with a gun. His mother expressed concerns about his sadism but his father states that he's fine. Sidney proceeds to kill the dog by making it jump out a window after throwing a ball. He gets his love of torture by viewing his father, a serial killer masquerading as a dentist, would lure victims to his van where he would torture them then dumping there bodies out. Sidney's father states how much better people are when they are dead. Sidney eventually reports his father to the Deadworld Judges, where his father was sentenced to the electric chair. Sidney was the one who used the switch, with his father praising him before getting electrocuted. Sidney also murdered three bullies at his school.

Joining the Judges

Sidney then eventually joined the Judges not because he believed in enforcing the law and maintaining peace/order, but to brandish his homicidal psychosis on anyone too weak to challenge his authority, all in the guise of upholding justice. He would be nicknamed "Judge Death" due to him using his power to execute anyone for any reason he can think of. During his training in a courtroom, he executed a couple for reason as so trivial for "wasting his time". These deeds were deemed outrageous and sickening, even to the twisted minds of other fellow Deadworld Judges. He eventually got the philosophy that "all crime is committed by the living". After graduation, he then eventually had a "family reunion" where he located his mother and sister at an abandoned castle. His mother yelled why he is so evil and Sidney screams "that he loves her" and "he's doing it for her own good." He then states that her cries are boring him and he proceeds to slaughter both his mother and his sister. He also located and wiped an underground resistance against the Deadworld Judges due to a traitor within the resistance named Fuego (who would become Judge Fire).

Becoming Judge Death

During patrolling, Sidney encountered the Sisters and he fell in love with them. He joined them in cannibalism, which he admitted even sickened him at first. Eventually, Sidney allowed the Sisters to perform a ritual on him that transformed him into the undead monstrosity that continued his eradication of life without remorse and the other Judges then joined him. Judge Death then murdered the Chief Judge of the Deadworld Judges and ordered the Deadworld Judges to start massacring the entire population, converting many of the Judges into Dark Judges like himself. The four Dark Judges then killed the rest of the Deadworld Judges, after deeming them that they have become too much like the living. Eventually, a group of alien dimension explorers arrived in Deadworld and they too were killed by the Dark Judges.

Mega-City One

I have come to judge you!
~ Judge Death unleashes his 'justice' upon the livings of Mega City-One

First encounter

Dissatisfied with fulfilling and maintaining his "justice" in Deadworld alone, Judge Death decides to travel to another dimension in order to spread and dispense his justice beyond Deadworld against the opinion of the other Dark Judges and then arrives in Mega-City One. He is first seen killing a perp on the run from the Judges of Mega-City One and then goes into a club and kills the DJ and proceeds to massacre numerous people before the Judges arrive and manage to destroy Death's physical body but his spirit escapes. Judge Anderson uses the destroyed corpse so Dredd and the other Judges can communicate with Judge Death. Once they interact, they found out that he's here to sentence all living to death and then disappears. He attempts to possess Judge Anderson but she forced herself into a coma, trapping Judge Death with her.

The rescue

The other Dark Judges sense Death's peril and arrive in Mega-City One and forces a man to get Judge Anderson who is in display or they would kill his wife. After he gets Anderson, the Dark Judges have already killed his wife and then Judge Mortis kills the man and Judge Death proceeds to inhabit his corpse. The Dark Judges then put a barrier over an block and kill thousands of people before Dredd and Anderson (who awakened from her coma) manage to drive them back to Deadworld. They follow them their and Anderson unleashes millions of spirits on the Dark Judges and seemingly destroys them for good.

Revenge

Judge Death then tricks Anderson to return to Deadworld and resurrect them. They then managed to knocked her out and travel to Mega-City One, where they slaughter hundreds more citizens until Anderson manages to trap into limbo, a void between dimensions.

Necropolis

The Sisters then arrive in Mega-City One and use a woman named Xena as an anchor between the two worlds. They manipulate Judge Kraken (Dredd's replacement after he went into the Cursed Earth) into abducting a Psi-Judge named Kit Agnee and and use her to bring the Dark Judges back into Mega-City, turn Judge Kraken into a fifth Dark Judge and enslaves the Judges of Mega-City One. They created 'Necropolis' which caused the death of 60 million citizens until the Sisters were banished and the three Dark Judges were captured. Judge Death managed to escape and hide among the corpses of Necropolis.

The Cursed Earth

Judge Death then travels to another dimension to Gotham City where he kill's numerous people before Death was stopped and captured by Dredd, Anderson and Batman. Judge Death then managed to escape and then committed a series of child murders to lure out Anderson and then he proceeds to beat her into a coma so she wouldn't be in his way again and infects her with the Half-Life virus and then escapes into the Cursed Earth. He went on a mass killing spree and searches for weapons of mass destruction. He manages to nuke Las Vegas off the map and tries to nuke Mega-City One but was foiled by the anti-missile tracker and then his body was destroyed by a strike from Mega-City One (the Judges thought that it was an old nuclear bunker becoming active) and was sent into the astral plane, where he was beaten by a man named Houcus Ritter, whose family was killed by Judge Death in the Cursed Earth. Houcus then proceeds to beat Judge Death and he was dragged into hell by the billions of victims he killed.

The Mayflower

Ten years later, Judge Death was then somehow released from hell by the Sisters and he proceeded to look for his brothers, where he entered the home of PJ Maybe . He killed PJ's wife and rescued his brothers and they escaped from Earth in a ship call the Mayflower. The Dark Judges killed thousands of the crew and passengers until they were stopped and ejected into space by Dredd, Anderson and the survivors of the ship.

Alternate Version

Following the release of the 1995 Judge Dredd movie, a comic set in its continuity, entitled Judge Dredd: Lawman of the Future, was published, and soon featured a story introducing this continuity's version of Judge Death. He remains a death-dispensing monster from another dimension, but in this storyline, he is actually an alternate-dimension incarnation of Dredd himself, who died in the line of duty, but was supernaturally resurrected through his undying desire to dispense justice.

Dredd Vs Death

In the videogame Dredd Vs Death the titular Judge Death is one of the main antagonists, alongside the other Dark Judges, they are released from their imprisonment and take spiritual form until they find a means to regain physical form, after which they are described as being more powerful than ever: the Dark Judges become the bosses of the game, with Judge Death being fought twice. Near the end of the game, Judge Death possesses the immortal body of Dr. Dick Icarus , and flees to the Underworld. There, Judge Dredd beats him after a long fight. Death flees in his spiritual form, now possessing Judge Anderson.

Personality

Judge Death a.k.a Sidney De'ath is an insane, bloodthirsty and psychopathic madman, thanks to the philosophy's taught to him by his father. He grew up with a morbid fascination of death. As he grew this macabre interest expanded until he saw life itself as a crime and the only way to rectify it was by their death which included his family. He claimed to be in love with both Nausea and Phobia and seemed to see Fire, Fear and Mortis as his "friends". He hates being mocked but loves to taunt, manipulate and terrorize others for his own sick pleasures. He has no problem with killing children (both in life and in undead), since all life is a crime. He also enjoys cannibalizing and physically and psychologically torturing people purely for his own pleasure.

Depictions

The representation of Judge Death in the Judge Dredd and related comic strips has changed somewhat in character over the years. In his first appearances his image was dark, sinister and menacing. However, later stories have tended to present him in a much more humorous light. For instance, in the Judge Dredd/Batman crossover Judgement on Gotham, Death was used as a practically comical figure. John Wagner decided to rectify this in the solo Death story My Name Is Death, and while later strip The Wilderness Days added humor to Death's tale, he was still a menacing and unstoppable killer; Alan Grant's Half Life, released at the same time, also treated Death as pure, unstoppable evil. After a long absence, Death was brought back for the storyline Dark Justice, in which once again he was presented in a sinister light, with very little humor.

Appearance

Judge Death appears in something close to a Judge's helmet, though its modified visor resembles a portcullis. Many 2000 AD illustrations make use of the visor as a visual shorthand for Judge Death. His mouth is pulled into a sharp-toothed rictus. On his right shoulder is a pterosaur, as opposed to the Judges' eagle. His left shoulder pad and elbow pads are festooned with bones. His tunic is fastened with crude stitches rather than a zipper, and his badge and belt buckle are shaped like a human skull with extended fangs, the latter with bat wings.

Powers and Abilities

Judge Death is a spirit inhabiting a corpse. The body itself is very difficult to hurt, as damage inflicts no disabilities unless appropriately severe (severing a limb or burning him, for example) and the dead flesh cannot feel pain. If the host body is destroyed, then Death’s spirit can escape and possess living humans. Death, usually with the help of another, prepares the new host body by using a mixture of chemicals to decay the flesh and let the body reach full ripeness. In Batman/Judge Dredd: Judgement on Gotham, Scarecrow helps Death with the task.

Judge Death has some degree of superhuman strength, being able to lift human beings with one hand or toss them easily. He's capable of making illusions of himself and invading the minds of others. Whether this is Death's specialty or an ability shared by all Dark Judges is unknown.

Death always kills his victims in particularly gruesome ways. His primary method of killing is to thrust his razor sharp fingers into the body of his victim and then squeeze the heart until it bursts, aided by his ability to "phase" through physical matter like a ghost.

Gallery

Trivia

  • A bobblehead of Judge Death can be briefly seen in a car driven by Zwimmer at the beginning of 2012's Dredd.
  • Death and the other Dark Judges were apparently considered as antagonists in a third Judge Dredd film. Sadly it never came to fruition.
  • He has read Mein Kampf, a book written by Adolf Hitler.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.