Brit-Cit


Brit-Cit

Infobox comics location


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type = City-state
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subcat = Judge Dredd
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Brit-Cit is a huge fictional city in the fictional universe of British comics 2000AD and Judge Dredd. It is also the home of Sam Slade in some of 2000AD's Robo-Hunter stories. The city covers the south of England and bordering on the Black Atlantic. It also has jurisdiction over Cal-Hab (covering part of Scotland) and Murphyville (Ireland), as seen in the "Cal-Hab Justice" strip and "Emerald Isle" Dredd storyline respectively. It is unknown what happened to Wales.

Description

Brit-Cit has many similarities to Mega City One - it is crowded with hundreds of millions of inhabitants who live in huge City Block apartments and unemployment and crime are rife. Quite a few examples of England's more classical architecture remains, and much of the lower classes live outside the city in decaying 20th Century houses. The Royal Family, inbred to the point of lunacy, live inside the Forbidden Citadel, an independent city-state. The city is split into Sectors, named after the original area they were built over, such as Oxford Sector and Nu Soho. Class divisions are rife. The BBC has evolved into the BCBC, which still runs a World Service ("For King And Country" audio). Brit-Cit society is also riddled with class division and privilege.

Civil War

Following the Atomic Wars, the Midlands were devastated and Brit-Cit faced chaos & instability, eventually collapsing into civil war (between any and all comers) from 2092-2099. Eventually some of the ruling crime lords banded together and assumed the role of Judges, in order to beg for aid from Mega-City One. With this aid, they were able to seize control and wipe out their rivals (including the remains of the original police) by 2099.

Law & Justice Department

The Brit-Cit Justice Department is based in the New Old Bailey. It is very similar in structure and effect to the Mega City One justice system, and aside from a few cosmetic differences (lions instead of eagles) even the Judge uniforms are the same. As such, the laws are harsh, with many crimes not found in present-day law, and the Judges have the power to act as both police and judge/jury/executioner, though they do portray more of a stiff upper lip when doing so.

The laws are more lenient in some areas though - Detective-Judges and Murphyville Judges are allowed to marry, several currently banned substances are legal, and the Dredd story "The Satanist" featured a perfectly legal Orgy Club in the outskirts of Brit-Cit.

Due to the circumstance of the post-War Justice Department, judicial corruption in Brit-Cit has historically been a major problem. The Department has suffered from more racism and sexism than its counterpart in Mega-City One. Senior Judges can buy their commissions in the same way as Victorian military officers. Most are incompetent or directly controlled by the crimelords and it is left to Street and Detective Judges to get the work done. The worst were the Order of the Star Chamber, a group of very old, very senile and very useless Judges; they were all killed in the novel "Psyko-Geddon", which has been presented in Justice Department as a sign of changing times.

Institutional corruption has gone down over time with the deaths of many Senior Judges & crimelords, and with the rise of a new generation of Judges who just see the crimelords as criminals. The demise of the Star Chamber has been seen as a "bright new dawn for Brit-Cit".

Specialised branches of the Justice Department include Dispatch, which handles communications, deploys Judges, and co-ordinates operations (equivalent of MC-1's Control); Riot Control; Psyk-Division,. the equivalent of Psi Division; an Endangered Species Squad that captures & cares for supernatural lifeforms; Med-Division; Shok-TAC, a heavily armoured armed response team; Special Branch; External Affairs, the equivalent of the Special Judicial Squad; and CID, the investigative branch. CID is not popular with the "uniform plods" but has gained an autonomy following the end of the Star Chamber; the specifics of this autonomy are not yet known (Megazine #266, "Armitage: Dumb Blonde"). Overseeing this are Administrators, who wear formal suits rather than a Judicial uniform.

Brit-Cit has a special relationship with Mega City One (to the extent of being the only nation that didn't condemn President Booth during the run-up to the Atomic Wars) and the two work together quite often. Brit-Cit provided refuge for MC-1 Judges when Nero Narkos took over the city and covertly aided Judge Dredd in liberating the city with technical & personnel support. It is now contributing medical & technical personnel and commando units to assist in an international humanitarian mission in Ciudad Barranquilla. The two cities have also run exchange programmes with their Cadet Judges, as seen in "The Hunting Party".

Judges of note

The most famous Judge for Brit-Cit is Detective-Judge Armitage, often paired with Detective-Judge Treasure Steel. A British version of Dredd called Judge Armour died as part of the global team sent to end Judgement Day. Cal-Hab boasts Judge MacBrayne and the powerful Psi-Judge Schiehallion; Murphyville's most famous Judge is Judge-Sergeant Joyce, who was originally part of the Judgement Day team. Inspector Jericho Strange of the Endangered Species Squad gains note solely for his sheep-skull head.

Cal-Hab and Murphyville

Murphyville contains the Emerald Isle, a giant theme park based around stereotypes of traditional Irish life. The Judge Militia are generally more laid back than their Brit-Cit counterparts and the uniforms are more distinctive, with the colouring based around the Irish flag.

Cal-Hab has traditionally been used as a dumping ground for toxic and nuclear waste, which has turned much of the population feral. In the rural areas of the country live "wild Scotties", who have no legal protection due to living outside Cal-Hab city boundaries. The population is famed for violence, deep-frying everything, drunkenness and penny-pinching - Prog 1540 revealed it has only two charities and one of them is campaigning for an increase in miserly behaviour. Quite a few disasters have hit Cal-Hab, mainly due to the actions of Schiehallion. Cal-Hab is also the home of trashzine artist Kenny Who?, alter-ego for artist Cam Kennedy.

The Judges have added a Celtic helmet and kilt to their uniform. Traditionally, all judicial decisions are made from Brit-Cit and the best Scottish Judges were head-hunted for Brit-Cit roles, leaving the Cal-Hab Judges demoralised. There was a large amount of nationalism and desire for Cal-Hab to be independent, but the ruling clans spent too much time fighting each other to be a credible resistance. However, by prog 1540 (2129 in Dredd chronology) Cal-Hab was said to have independence to an unknown degree; this hasn't stopped hard-line nationalist paramilitaries from trying to separate the state completely from Brit-Cit.

Criminal influences

While Brit-Cit does have much conventional crime (or the 2000AD equivalent thereof), it also has faced a lot more body-horror murderers and more supernatural crimes, with Satanic cults all over the place. It is also the home of the major crimelord Efil Drago San, who along with other crimelords was directly controlling the higher-ranking Judges in the "Armitage" strips. Having killed many senior Judges and crimelords for his own reasons, Drago San is very unpopular with his fellow crimelords and in the Dredd audio dramas he was hiding out offworld before being finally arrested.

The wild Scotties of Cal-Hab have been seen as easy fodder for body brokers, while nationalist terror groups like the Mental Tartan Army attempt liberation by outlandish schemes such as literally trying to separate Cal-Hab from Brit-Cit via nuclear explosions.

Depiction

Brit-Cit has contradictory depictions depending on who is writing. Under Dave Stone, Brit-Cit was considerably fleshed out and there was much focus on institutional corruption; John Wagner, who originally created Brit-Cit, has ignored this in his Dredd stories and has the Justice Department as being almost exactly like Mega-City One's. This can be explained away as Dredd looking at Brit-Cit from a different angle to Armitage. When Brit-Cit Judges have been used by other writers ("Regime Change" by Gordon Rennie, "Splashdown" by Simon Spurrier), they tend to follow the Wagner model.

The origin of Justice Department is also contradictory. Dave Stone's version was that Brit-Cit was a "global irrelevance" by the time of the Atomic Wars and only faced fall-out rather than a direct assault as it wasn't worth bombing; Justice Department only existed after the fallout and resulting civil war, and was created solely by organised crime for aid. "Hardly anyone else on the job agrees with me." [http://www.2000adreview.co.uk/forums/index.php?showtopic=2295] Indeed, it has been contradicted by other Brit-Cit stories - "Meet Darren Dead" (Megazine 240) shows direct nuclear hits on Brit-Cit - and was ignored by Wagner's "", which stated that the Judge system was already becoming widespread before the Atomic Wars and also shows Britain being hit in a splash page showing the global warfare. As the Civil War is a key part of Armitage's backstory and can't be completely thrown out, it could be assumed that organised crime co-opted Brit-Cit Justice Department rather than invented it.

Brit-Cit has appeared several times in the Big Finish 2000AD audio dramas. Both the Stone & Wagner versions Brit-Cit justice were used in the Dredd audio play "Get Karter!", while "For King And Country" uses elements from the Armitage strips (the Forbidden Citadel and Star Chamber) while portraying the Brit-Cit Justice Department as mainly effective.

Cal-Hab has had multiple cameo appearance's in the stories of Wagner and Alan Grant, nearly all of which are played for laughs and which focus on Scottish humour. Jim Alexander's "Cal-Hab Justice", on the other hand, was often quite grim and focused on political allegories for mid-90s Scottish issues. Gordon Rennie's "Judge Dredd: Tartan Terrors" (Prog 1540) played Cal-Hab for laughs but in a slightly more aggressive manner, such as introducing penny-pinching as a Cal-Habber trait. In the letters page for Prog 1547, the editor (via Tharg the Mighty) openly admitted that Gordon Rennie was ignoring Cal-Hab Justice.

Murphyville and its Judges have mostly been seen in stories by their creator Garth Ennis, who used them to play with Irish political issues and stereotypes for comedic purposes.

ee also

*Judge Dredd


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