The X-Men’s Darkest Future Turned X-Force into Judge Dredd

X-Force has always been an extreme counterpoint to the X-Men, serving often times as an offensive branch of the mutant corner of the Marvel Universe. But while they’ve often served a greater purpose, it’s rare when they become the center of the world. And it’s a good thing too, as a future with X-Force at the heart of it is a terrifying place.

One variant future for the X-Men saw a dark incarnation of X-Force effectively becoming their timeline’s Avengers and transforming the Marvel Universe into basically a Mega-City from the world of Judge Dredd.

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Uncanny X-Force focused on an iteration of the team that had embraced a murderous mantra. Originally envisioned by Cyclops and Wolverine before the events of (the first) Schism drove them apart, the team continued under Wolverine’s leadership. However, the moral weight of their actions, such as killing a child out of fear he’d become a new Apocalypse, and bringing down the corrupted Archangel instead of trying to save him eventually splintered them further. Their ultimate test involved Evan, a clone of Apocalypse who was genuinely given a chance to prove himself a more heroic figure. In the core-Marvel Universe, this was largely a success, with Genesis eventually becoming a hero (before his apparent demise by the climax of the Age of X-Man).


But in some realities, he eventually was corrupted into a new version of Apocalypse. Earth-12928 was one such reality, where-in Wolverine was forced to recruit the surviving members of the hero community en masse to help contend with this new villain. They were ultimately successful, and this new X-Force became accepted as the premier superhero team, more or less replacing the Avengers as this world’s mightiest heroes. Becoming a proactive police force over a traditional superhero team, this new X-Force counted Wolverine, Psylocke, Punisher, Deadpool, Cable, Hope, Warpath, and Hank Pym among their more prominent members and became a global peacekeeping force that was willing to carry out lethal intent. Eventually falling in love with Wolverine and rising in the ranks of the organization, Psylocke eventually grew to become the force leader and took on the title of Magistrate Braddock.


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Under her command, almost every known criminal on the planet had been executed and thanks to their precognitive detection policies, any potential killers were also taken out. Over time, this world increasingly resembled the Mega-Cities of Judge Dredd, where justice is carried out with brutal efficiency. The heroes protect what, for those kept safe and compliant, is a technological utopia. But for countless others who break the code of this timeline and this X-Force, all that awaits them is death. Notably, Wolverine of Earth-616 can see the advantages of such an approach, ultimately leading him to take his future counterpart’s advice to kill Daken when he got the chance and prevent some of the darkness that took over their world.


Despite his heroic growth over the years from a savage loner to a dedicated mentor, Logan has always accepted murder as an acceptable option in extreme situations. That’s why he still serves as a primary member of the X-Force for Krakow, suffering the moral and physical blows the rest of his society needs to survive. In a way, the future of Magistrate Braddock is the ultimate extension of that, what happens when mutant heroes decide that ends truly do justify the means, and it’s time to make sure that’s the case. It’s the core philosophy at the heart of Dredd and the other Judges who work to stamp out crime in their world. In fact, it could even be seen as something of a precursor of the kind of future Beast would want if Krakow were to grow in the direction he sees fit.


Beast has increasingly embraced a similar mentality as Magistrate Braddock, to the point where former allies like Nightcrawler and Emma Frost are increasingly unnerved and enraged by his ruthless attitude. Even though Magistrate Braddock may now remain but a possible future, it’s worth remembering that a timeline where the X-Men become Marvel’s Judge Dredd is always a possibility, especially if the mutants go down such a dark path.


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