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Judge Dredd's current anti-copaganda storyline sees the character face up to his own prejudices (kind of)

Can Mega-City One's top lawman get over his distrust of accountants?

Judge Dredd: A Better World
Image credit: Henry Flint/Rebellion

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There is no small amount of irony at the heart of the current Judge Dredd storyline unfolding in the pages of iconic comics anthology 2000 AD — namely that, after decades of Dredd disliking and distrusting accountants interfering with the work of the Judges, he’s now faced with the fact that one of his most trusted confidents is Judge Maitland… an accountant who has proven that policing is less effective in keeping the city safe than investing in social programs.

That discovery is at the heart of ‘A Better World,’ a storyline running in 2000 AD Progs 2364 through March’s 2372 — and it’s one that threatens to redefine Dredd’s relationship to his city, his role, and his relationship to the Justice Department he serves… as well as how he thinks of accountants, of course. Popverse spoke to co-writers Rob Williams and Arthur Wyatt about the character’s long-term dislike of Judges who keep track of spending.

“I love in [early 1980s storyline] the Judge Child quest where Dredd’s crack team to head off into space to try and find the powerful child that might just save his city, and one of them is an accountant who will be keeping close tabs on what Dredd spends on the mission,” Williams recalled, “and Dredd immediately orders him off the ship before they leave. He has a slightly better relationship with Maitland.”

Judge Dredd: A Better World
Image credit: Henry Flint/Rebellion

That attitude towards accountancy isn’t limited to just Judge Dredd, added co-writer Wyatt. “2000 AD as a whole has a downer on accountants, with the big robot yelling about them and chasing people around in The Black Hole,” he explained. “They make great comic foils because they’re always telling you what you can’t do because there’s no money, and wanting you do un-fun things like actually keep track if the money you do have is doing anything useful.”

Perhaps ‘A Better World’ — a story in which Maitland actually, really is making a positive change in the monolithic dystopia that is Mega-City One that started through smart accounting — could be seen as balancing 2000 AD’s long-term distrust of the entire field of book-keeping. Or, depending on how the story turns out, it’s the next stage of that math-led paranoia.

‘Judge Dredd’ continues in 2000 AD weekly, available via the 2000 AD webstore. Read our full conversation with Williams and Wyatt here.

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