A mutant from Earth’s late 22nd century, Johnny Alpha is just one of many bounty hunters known as Search / Destroy agents. These S/D agents are empowered to travel throughout the galaxy in pursuit of their bounties, and they are persistent, mean and well-armed. They have to be; the galaxy is ruthless and brings a swift end to the weak or ill-prepared. The profession, therefore, is considered too dangerous for ‘normal humans’, and only suitable for the mutants. The physiology of these mutants has been altered by exposure to strontium 90 in the fallout of Earth’s Great Atom War of 2150, ensuring S/D agents are more commonly known as Strontium Dogs.
Like all his Strontium Dog compatriots, Alpha is a mutant. His irradiated eyes allow him to read minds and see through solid objects. He is also a gifted martial artist, marksman and hunter. Working for the S/D agency permits Alpha access to highly sophisticated weapons and equipment, including machines that enable agents to travel through time. These machines have, on more than one occasion, allowed Alpha to travel into the past. His destination: the densest concentration of criminals and wanted men the Earth has ever seen: Mega-City One.
The Top Dog in MC-1
Alpha has never been shy of bending the rules to catch his bounties, and whilst breaking the laws of physics to travel in time is one thing, breaking the law in MC-1 is altogether different. This made it inevitable that Alpha would soon attract the attention of the Mega-City One’s Department of Justice … and Judge Dredd.
With Alpha and his partner Wulf Sternhammer in pursuit of two criminals hiding in Mega-City One, Dredd tracked and cornered the two bounty hunters. Despite Alpha maintaining his credentials as an S/D agent granted him jurisdiction in MC-1, Dredd disagreed and determined to arrest them. Alpha and Sternhammer were able to evade Dredd and return to the future, leaving the thwarted Dredd determined to one day bring Alpha to justice.
Dredd and Alpha would next cross paths during the events of Judgement Day, which saw the Earth and its mega-cities almost consumed by the necromancer Sabbat and his zombie legions.
Sabbat—having narrowly escaped a confrontation with Johnny Alpha in the future—had vowed to erase Alpha from history by destroying his past. Bent on this insane plan, he used his sorcery to travel back in time to Earth of 2114; once there raising and unleashing the planet’s dead upon the world’s mega-cities. On the threshold of victory, with the Earth’s forces unable to resist this tsunami of zombies, Sabbat found himself under personal attack by a cadre of the world’s most elite Judges. Spearheaded by Dredd and—having also travelled back in time in pursuit of Sabbat—Alpha. Though even this crack unit was no match for Sabbat’s power. With only Dredd and Alpha left alive, Sabbat’s victory seemed assured until he was decapitated by Dredd. The necromancer’s zombie hordes collapsed the moment Sabbat was neutralised, and Earth—although savaged—was saved.
Judgement Day (2000AD progs #786–799, Judge Dredd Megazine #2.04–2.09 / Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 17)
With Sabbat defeated, Dredd and Johnny Alpha find themselves marooned in the radioactive wasteland of post-nuclear China and with no means of communication. Facing the prospect of a long walk home through territories renown for bandits and robbers, Alpha asks Dredd if the forthcoming trek will be dangerous. The Judge replies with own question: “Who the hell’s gonna mess with us?”
By Private Contract (200AD prog #2000 / Judge Dredd The Restricted Files 03)
Travelling back in time once again, Johnny Alpha informs Dredd that a mysterious company from the future—Calcorp—has put a price on the Judge’s head. With the assistance of Alpha, Dredd travels forward in times to investigate Calcorp…
Extract From Dredd’s Comportment
‘Only criminals make money from crime, and the only difference between those criminals and an S/D agent is a license.’
Johnny also has some great skills that will shine in those games set in Mega-City One. Cramped urban tables will not impede Johnny’s ability to see through walls, with his Johnny Weird Eyes skill allowing him to reduce the effect of blocking terrain. Similarly, Johnny’s In My Head! skill lets him reduce a target’s actions by one; that may not sound like much in games fought against the like of Judge Death, Mean Machine et al, but it’s huge if you’re facing a gang of Punks and Juves. The Gunfighter skill also allows him a chance to return fire whenever attacked at range.
Fans of Strontium Dog will know Johnny always comes prepared, and he probably has the coolest array of gadgets and weapons this side of the Lawgiver. His Well-Equipped skill, for example, lets him keep one more Armoury card than normal. Both his iconic handguns have the High Power variant, and the Variable ability not only offers Johnny the option to Stun targets but also means Johnny can shoot through walls as well as see through them!
At 22 Notoriety Johnny is very much the junior partner in a Dredd / Alpha team-up, but his stats put him on par with even the most senior street Judge. He’s also even money with the likes of Orlok, Judge Grice and even Judge Death, and that—in the words of Wulf Sternhammer—makes Johnny Alpha cool as the cucumber.
Johnny Alpha and the Strontium Dogs in Judge Dredd
The Judge Dredd Miniatures Game builds upon the Strontium Dog ruleset. As such there is nothing to stop you fielding Johnny Alpha and his cohorts in your games set within Mega-City One. You’ll find it best to use Big-Meg cards in lieu of Strontium Dog’s ‘Chicanery cards’ however.