The Comicon Monthly Megazine Preview – Issue 407: Storming Forth

by Richard Bruton

Just like our Weekly 2000 AD, the Monthly Megazine does just what it says – giving you a look at the monthly sister publication to 2000 AD, letting you see just what delights it has to offer.

In issue 407, aside from the start of a new Judge Dredd series, The Crazy, everything else carries on here. And that means more of the fabulous Lawless, more of Lillian Storm, Brit-Cit’s finest and grumpiest Psi Judge in Storm Warning, including that great Clint Langley cover, more from the Dark Judges in The Torture Garden, and finally, a spectacular ending to Blunt II. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing a Blunt III not too far in the future.

Megazine Issue 407 is out in the UK and on digital on 17th April. If you’re elsewhere in the world, where you don’t have to cope with the stupidity that is Brexit, you’ll need to pop in your local comic shop and ask for it. You won’t be disappointed!

JUDGE DREDD: THE CRAZY – PART 1 – Kenneth Niemand, Nick Dyer, colors John Charles, letters Annie Parkhouse.

Dredd’s off deep into the Cursed Earth, on the trail of ex-Judge Harrigan, who took the Long Walk some 18 years back. Somehow, he’s started broadcasting through to MC-1, stuff Chief Judge Logan believes is enough to set off the populus. Which is why Dredd’s riding out, on a Lawmaster that I can’t quite work out whether it’s a great design or just a bit silly and weird…

Harrigan looks like a classic conspiracy theorist (he also looks damn cool as well), holed up in his Cursed Earth bunker for way too long, a bunker that’s about to be sorely tested by a bunch of Cursed Earth raiders.

Intriguing start to a new multi-parter, with Harrigan’s mission to inform, Dredd’s skepticism… a good opener. Dyer’s art though, it’s good sure, but it’s got a little too much of the 90s about it, not the best era for 2000 AD at all. Having said that, it’s got clarity and flow, just not really grabbing me as punchy enough.

LAWLESS: ASHES TO ASHES – PART 8 – Dan Abnett, Phil Winslade, letters Ellie De Ville.

Lawless is, was, and most likely, as long as it continues, will be the best thing in the Megazine. In fact, it’s been one of the best series 2000 AD have put out in many a year. And, in Ashes to Ashes, Abnett threw us a huge curve, as we jumped forward in time, to see the disaster that befell Badrock, to feel the heartbreak she felt after all her friends lay dead and long gone. Now, we’re going back to the fateful last moments of the colony, with a Zhind ship coming down. It’s another fantastically done moment in an incredible series.

Of course, Phil Winslade’s artwork, chiaroscuro beauty, incredible details, fabulous figure work, is a huge part of what makes Lawless so great. And in the first few pages here, as Lawson is caught in the Zhind lights, it’s never been better, a beautiful use of negative space and blacks. And it’s in the Zhind’s light that Abnett pulls the big reveal here. And no, I’m not telling. Read it yourself. It’s every bit the wonderful thing we wanted.

BLUNT II – PART 8 – TC Eglington, Boo Cook, letters Simon Bowland.

So, Blunt II reaches its end here, with everything on the verge of going to hell. Mutated colonists, Zhind attacking, Ilya and Blunt fighting it out and trying to stay alive, it’s a final episode blow out in what’s been a fascinating series.

Eglington and Cook have crafted something very different in Blunt and they’ve doen it really well, with Cook’s organic artwork suiting Eglington’s tale of biology, evolution, strange mutations so well.

Hopefully, there’s room here for Blunt III. Hopefully not too far away either.

STORM WARNING: GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND – PART 4 – Leah Moore, John Reppion, Tom Foster, colours – Eva Del La Cruz, letters Simon Bowland.

Green and pleasant land? More like fatal fauna in Brit Cit, as Lillian Storm’s investigations take her closer and closer to whoever, or whatever, is behind this latest wave of murders.

This really is turning into one of those fine procedural strips, with a central character walking the line between a Dredd-like figure, cold, aloof, unknown, and someone more like Anderson, where we get more glimpses into her personality. It’s a fine line, but Moore and Reppion are walking it well. And as for Tom Foster’s artwork here, it’s old-school, meticulously detailed, Bolland-like, and looks lovely.

THE DARK JUDGES: THE TORTURE GARDEN – PART 8 – David Hine, Nick Percival, letters Annie Parkhouse.

As Judges Death, Mortis, and Fire have their deathly playtime on Dominion, the rescue mission from MC-1 is touching down. It’s just that the Marines are far from the saviours they were meant to be, and thanks to them, Judge Fear has joined the party. But a plan is a plan and they’re going ahead with theres, grab the survivors, leave the Dark Judges, detonate the doomsday device, get home to MC-1.

Oh, what could possibly go wrong? Depends on the marine they get to babysit I suppose…

It’s all very dark, but it’s turned into an excellent tale, one that I can’t quite see where we’re heading for. And in Nick Percival, you have an artist whose style is perfectly suited to hanging around the shadows with the Dark Judges, everything so dark, so doom-laden. Normally, I’m no fan of the overly painted look to art, but here… it fits just right.

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