|Published by||Judge Dredd Megazine|
America is a Judge Dredd story that was published in Judge Dredd Megazine 1.01 to 1.07, in 1990. Its subject was the effect of growing up in Mega-City One on two initially ordinary citizens, America Jara and Bennett Beeny. The harsh, repressive law-enforcement system embodied by Judge Dredd leads both of them down a dark road culminating in despair and death.
John Wagner wrote America to try to show readers that Judge Dredd is actually a strip about what it is like to live under a fascist, totalitarian regime. It was illustrated by Colin MacNeil and lettered by Annie Parkhouse, and was eventually followed by a sequel, The Fading of the Light.
A young woman with long black hair is shown getting ready to sing on stage. A voice-over from Bennett Beeny tells the reader that this is a story about how he loved a woman called America and still loves her even though the light has gone from her eyes. (The woman is shown looking in a dressing room mirror.)
The reader is taken through America's life from her birth (witnessed by the infant Bennett) to her childhood and days as a university student. America is angry that the Judges of Mega-City One have stolen "liberty and the pursuit of happiness" from the citizens of the country after which she is named. Bennett is devoted to America but too frightened of the Judges to challenge them.
Bennett tells the reader how he and America drifted apart, eventually losing touch altogether. He becomes a very rich pop star, bumps into America dressed as a prostitute when he is out one night looking for a bit of female company, and witnesses her and her friends murder some Judges. Bennett is shot through the throat by America's associate, a tall, heavily-muscled man named Kurd.
Thanks to Mega-City medical technology, Bennett survives. While he is convalescing America arrives at his house with a bunch of flowers. They talk into the small hours of the morning before going to bed together. America tells Bennett about her awful life and how the Judges' cruelty pushed her into joining the pro-democracy terrorist organisation Total War.
Bennett gets America to divulge the details of the group's plan to blow up the Statue of Liberty, and then tells the Judges everything. The deal was that they would spare America's life in exchange for Bennett's information, but she is shot by a squad led by Judge Dredd and ends up brain dead.
The big reveal at the end of the story is that the young woman preparing to go on stage is not America, as the readers had been led to believe, but Bennett's brain implanted in America's body, which he is using to sing soulful ballads about the American dream.
- John Wagner has named America as his favourite Judge Dredd story.
- America turns up at Bennett's house in a florist's van with 'Paper Roses' written on the side. This is a reference to the song of the same name, about "your imitation love for me."