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Mean "Mean Machine" Angel is a member of the Angel Gang and one of the sons of Elmer "Pa" Angel. He is nicknamed "Butting Man" for his favourite attack, a vicious headbutt with his metal plate.

His famous dial has four settings: 1, where he's surly and disagreeable; 2, where he's mean; 3, where he's vicious; and 4, which is when he is brutal. On occasion, an extremely hard headbutt causes Mean Machine's dial to get stuck on 4½, which causes him to go berserk, unable to stop headbutting anything he comes across.


Mean is a large muscular man with heavy cyborg implements: a small dial on his forehead with four settings, a large optic, and a giant metal claw for a right arm. His left arm has been cut off for years and remained a stump.


Mean started out as a happy, docile and friendly little child, but Pa Angel made sure to turn him into a dim-witted, easily angered psychopath. Mean was constantly rowdy and breaking the law but, unlike most of his family, was capable of not being violent: he fell in love with Porsha Wuss and agreed to be conditioned to be a pacifist again, and willingly went to jail when this didn't work.

When his dial has been removed, Mean has become docile and friendly.


Pet rabbit

When he was young, he was gentle, nice and utterly unlike his viciously criminal family. Pa Angel was not pleased by this, beating him "for your own good" when he found Mean cuddling a kitten. His childhood was spent being viciously abused so that he and his brothers would become mean. Pa would beat them, set dogs on them, and shoot at them as "combat training" - and his brothers joined in, such as the time Link killed his brother's pet rabbit. [1]

On Mean's twelfth birthday, Pa kidnapped a surgeon from nearby Texas City to operate on him, making him the crazed cyborg he is now.[2] When Mean screamed in terror that he didn't want his arm cut off, Pa told him he was getting "a better one". [3] In his new crazed state, Mean would be permanently mean and fondly remembered Pa's tortures as "the happiest days o' my life".[4]

On his twenty-first birthday, Pa Angel gave him the key to a safety deposit box in the First Bank of Tex and sent him into the city. Mean tore through the city and broke the box open by diving on it headfirst from a great height to find his present was a box of chocolates. His other present was to be arrested by the Judges, as Pa felt leaving him in jail for "a year or two" would "do the boy a power a' good!" (The Judges looked forward to him being rescued as they had to rebuild Mean's cell over and over) [5]

Mean Machine marries

He married Sarah “Seven-Pound” Sadie Suggs, a competing Cursed Earth criminal named after the 7lb hammer she used when committing her crimes - they'd met when Mean tried to rob a bank Sadie was already robbing, and he fell for her over she bonked him on the head. After pistol-whipping Mean didn't work, Pa blessed the wedding so he could use it to extort "wedding gifts" from terrified townsfolk and bump Sadie off after (without telling Mean). It turned out Sadie was planning her own trick: she conned Mean into demonstrating his highest setting by ramming the side of the shack the Angels lived in, collapsing it on the gang, and then absconding with the loot.[6] Unknown to Mean, she had a son: Mean Junior. (Mean Senior turned out to be unaware they'd been having premarital sex, commenting years later: "Izzat whut we wuz doin'? I wunnered.")[7]

In 2102, the Angel Gang were attempting to flee Lone Star Justice and, in the process, kidnapped the "Judge Child" Owen Krysler as a hostage. Judge Dredd pursued the gang across space for Krysler and in the process, Mean was killed.

The psychotic Krysler later brought Mean back from the dead with advanced chemicals, so he and his brother Fink Angel could kill Dredd for him. Mean went to Mega-City One by hijacking a shuttle, teamed up with Fink, and butted Walter the Wobot so hard that he was considered a write-off. In the end, Dredd arrested him after getting him to fight with Fink.[8]

Dredd Angel

In Mega-City One's custody (usually in the notorious Iso-Block 666), he has spent many years being 'cured' only to relapse, escaping for brief periods, or even being used by Justice Department. His earliest 'cure' was on Christmas 2107, when he was lobotomised and left with the Puddocks for a nice Christmas to help rehabilitate him. Unfortunately, the sight of Judge Dredd on TV sparked off a memory of pure hatred that undid all the work and after butting the Puddocks (and a dozen others on his way), he attacked Dredd during a hostage situation. When the terrorist got in the way, Mean butted his bomb belt, blowing the man up and handily hospitalising himself in the process.[9]

Mean was first 'employed' by Justice Department in 2106 when he was brainwashed to think Dredd was Pa Angel so he'd lead him across the Radlands to a lost ship to retrieve Judge clones. Dredd barely kept him in control and the brainwashing wore off near the end. [10] The second mission he was in was in the summer of 2117, when he was used with Judge Death to convince warlord Clinton Box that Dredd had gone rogue. Mean worked loyally for Dredd in this "Three Amigos" gang for the promise of being released, never to be arrested again if he stayed out of Mega-City One - he was then released on the Black Atlantic side of the wall, forcing him to 'attempt entry' so they could arrest him again.[11] In 2120, his third mission sent him to Cal-Hab's Strathmeg Wastes, ruled by the Headbangers, to challenge the gang's leader McBean to a butting contest. [12]

Mean negotiates

Mean and Dredd negotiate

With drugs and surgery failing to rehabiliate him, the University of Mega-City's Professor Wally Dingbert tried hypnosis and reverted Mean to his peaceful twelve-year-old self. Mean worked as a university janitor but his humble good nature was taken advantage of by students, and fear of getting into trouble caused him to inadvertently flee to the building's time machine Explorer. Radiation from it snapped his mind back to normal and he captured Explorer to go back in time to when the family was alive (butting his own past self to establish street cred). Dingbert was able to stop the Angels from altering the timeline by tricking them into travelling back to 2113, where Dredd arrested them (and Dingbert) and had the past Angels' minds wiped.[13]

His fame meant the Mega-City One Cyborg Club made him their honourary chairman.[14]

One time, Mean teamed up with the dimension-crossing mercenary Lobo.[15]

During a breakout in 2116, he tried to sneak around pretending he was a Judge by wearing a bloodstained helmet on his head and saying "I'm a stinking Judge!", before taking a hostage only to kill them just because and have to take another hostage. (He was recaptured)[16]

Now locked in the Old Peart Institute for the Criminally Insane, he was being experimented on by Dr Ramsbottom for fun when he was rescued from captivity: Sadie had hired mercs to get him out so he could raise Junior. Unfortunately for both men, Junior who had grown up to be just as kind and gentle as the young Mean was and his pa was tasked to teach him to be bad. He attempted to 'fix' the boy with the commandeered help of a desperate Ramsbottom, starting with the A's of being bad - "arsin", "armed robbry", "assasynashin" - but managed to shoot his own gang in the process, and found Junior had only stolen some cute dollies (and by accident). After further failures, he decided to fit Junior with his own anger-inducing dial but to his fury, the doctors instead fitting the boy with a dial that made him even nicer and he butted Ramsbottom to "a greasy spot" as promised.

In the end, Mean was left proud when Junior reported him to the Judges, as snitching on your own father was one of the dirtiest low-down things you could do![17]


Escaping from custody yet again in 2122, Mean Machine took refuge in the Quite Nicely Bar. Wearing the uniform of a dead Judge Warden, he pretended he was one and it worked for a bit until Water the Wobot realised it was a fib. (This got Walter butted again)[18]

While being transported to Med-Division for another removal of dial and arm later that year, Mean was accidentally set free by the Mega City Animal Liberation League (believing he was an animal being experimented on). Under threat of violent death, they smuggled him out of the city (and all died violently).[19] Soon into the Cursed Earth, Mean was suffering from brain-damaging radiation. He was captured by Harke and Burr and turned into an imprisoned 'Geek' for their travelling carnival - which he actually enjoyed.[20] Eventually, he was recaptured by the Judges.

In 2126, Mean fell in love with a visiting do-gooder called Porsha Wuss (who had a history of getting attached to prisoners she worked with). In order to be with her, he agreed to have an experimental brain implant called the Warden Device that would deliver extreme pain when he got angry. This actually worked at rehabilitating him and they ended up getting married, with Mean Junior as his best man and the Cyborg Club arriving uninvited. Unfortunately, Cyberfreak, wanting to show he was tougher than Mean after he'd been banned from the club, attacked the wedding. Mean refused to resort to violence until Cyberfreak hurt Porsha: enraged, Mean shorted out the device and butted Cyberfreak's head clean off. In a butting frenzy almost killed Porsha before he could calm down. Distraught and believing he "ain't never gonna be" fit to be loved, he voluntarily went back to the cubes and turned down another Warden as he could not be sure he would ever be safe. [21] He never made an escape attempt after this.

Finally in 2129, the Judges succeeded in removing both his dial and claw for good, reverting him to his original simple and peaceful self (complete with a beloved toy bunny). Dredd was left disturbed by this anticlimactic end, coming at a time when he was feeling his age. Mean was released into the care of his son.[22]

Mean got a job in a breaker's yard with a new arm and slowly built up a life, being known for his good nature and helping old ladies - though he was frequently attacked by the relatives of his victims and the occasional Judge who had lost a partner to him. He managed to be happy and content until Chaos Day. The Chaos Bug turned Mean psychotic again and caused him to kill his friend and employer Mister Breaker. While, unlike every other victim, it somehow wore off, it was only by luck that his son had not been present and killed when he rampaged through their home. A depressed Mean went into the Cursed Earth to be away from people.

Elderly Mean Machine

He died in the Cursed Earth but exactly how is known only in stories. According to one, recounted by Henry Dubble of the Black Museum, Mean was enslaved by a criminal gang and told to take them to Pa Angel's treasure stashes - otherwise the other slaves would be killed. Mean was now old, his brain damaged by the Bug, and started to hallucinate his own younger self encouraging him to use violence for good before he died. He made sure to find one of Pa's weapon stashes so that the slaves could overthrow their masters.

Mean died after this and the surviving slaves spread his story. Dubble implies, even as he admits he likely made it up, that Mean may have risen from the dead yet again...[23]


  1. "Destiny's Angels", "The Three Amigos" for the cat story, and Travels With Muh Shrink for rabbit
  2. Destiny's Angels
  3. Travels With Muh Shrink Part 1
  4. Psycho Analysis
  5. Dredd Annual 1982, "The Mean Machine Goes To Town!"
  6. Dredd Annual 1983: "The Mean Machine Gets Married!"
  7. Son of Mean Machine
  8. Destiny's Angels
  9. A Merry Tale of the Christmas Angel
  10. Dredd Angel
  11. The Three Amigos
  12. Headbangers
  13. Travels With Muh Shrink
  14. Megazine 219
  15. Judge Dredd/Lobo
  16. You Are Mean Machine
  17. Son of Mean Machine
  18. Turned Out Quite Nicely Again
  19. Mean Machine: Born Mean
  20. The Geek
  21. Judge Dredd Megazine #218-20: "Mean Machine: Angel Heart"
  22. Prog 1536
  23. Megazine 358: "Rising Angel"

See Also[]

Judge Dredd
Main Characters Judge Dredd - Judge Hershey - Judge Anderson - Judge Beeny - Judge Buell - Galen DeMarco - Dirty Frank - Judge Edgar - Chief Judge Fargo - Judge Francisco - Judge Giant - Judge Goodman - Judge Griffin - Judge Guthrie - Judge Janus - Judge Karyn - Judge McGruder - Judge Niles - Judge Rico - Judge Shenker - Judge Silver - Judge Solomon - Judge Volt - Detective-Judge Armitage - Inspector Shimura - Devlin Waugh - Johnny Woo - Judge Larter - Judge Jack - Judge Agee - Judge Bennett - Judge Castillo - Judge Dekker - Judge Goon - Deputy Cheif Judge Herriman - Judge Kruger - Judge Munn - Judge Perrier - Judge Prager - Judge Minty - Detective-Judge Steel - Detective Judge Trant - Judge Kazan - Chief Judge Ohno - Judge-Inspector Akio Anaba - Judge Marshall Lawson
Recurring Villains Angel Gang - Mean Machine Angel - Elmer Angel - Junior Angel - Link Angel - Judge Bachmann - Oola Blint - President Booth - Judge Cal - Dark Judges - Rico Dredd - Armon Gill - Judge Grice - Morton Judd - Kleggs - Judge Kraken - Mechanismo - Stan Lee - Marty Zpok - PJ Maybe - Nero Narcos - Orlock - Shojun the Warlord - Judge Sinfield - Call-Me-Kenneth - Mr. Moonie - Murd the Oppresor - Owen Krysler - Don Uggie Apelino - Captain Skank - Father Earth - Kazan - Bulgarin - General Blood'n'Guts - Satanus - Satan - Fink Angel - Ratty - Rhode Island Red - Phobia - Nausia - America Jara - Cesare - Judge Mortis - Judge Fear - Judge Death - Judge Fire - Manners - Ramses - Trapper Hag - Sabbat - Wu Yang - Yin Mie - Randolph Whitely - Judge Choke - Judge Sleep - Judge Sludge - Judge Burroghs - Judge Fistula - Judge Skinner - Judge Stigmata - The Seven Samurai - Rex Peters - Slocum - Kenny Who? - Nosferatu - Grampus - Heavy Metal Kid - Ratty - Elvis - The Warlords - DeGaulle - The Joker - The Scarecrow - The Riddler - Arnold Wesker - Lobo - Judge Kurten - Pink Eyes - Aimee Nixon - Mr. Bones - Effil Drago San - Bella Bagley - Dune Sharks - Xenomorphs - Ueno Hama - Raptaurs - The Explosive Man - Judge Sherman - Ankhhor - President Clinton Box - Pamelina Oswin
Other Characters Chopper - Vienna Dredd - Fergee - Yassa Povey - Jacob Sardini - Walter the Wobot - Henry Ford - Spikes Harvey Rotten - Tweak - Tony Tubbs - Otto Sump - Mrs. Gunderson - Sensitive Klegg - Jack Point - Maria - Benneet Beeny - Grunwalder - Old Joe Blind - Max Normal - Toots Milloy - Mr. Harke - Mr. Burr - Jim Grubb - Dave the Orangutan - Nimrod - The Creep - Johnny Alpha - Wulf Sternhammer - The Fargo Clan - Randy Fargo - Jubal Fargo - Hocus Ritter - Batman - Harry Henson
Storylines America - The Apocalypse War - Block Mania - City of the Damned - The Cursed Earth - Day of Chaos - Democracy - The Doomsday Scenario - The Hunting Party - The Judge Child - Judgement Day - Mechanismo - Mutants - Necropolis - Origins - Oz - The Pit - The Robot Wars - Tour of Duty Trifecta - Wilderlands
Crossovers Judge Dredd vs. Aliens - Judgement on Gotham - Predator vs. Judge Dredd - Mars Attacks Judge Dredd