The Monthly Megazine Preview – Issue 412: DeMarco Fighting Hard For Her Clients

by Richard Bruton

The Monthly Megazine, bringing you a regular preview of all things Judge Dredd: Megazine.
And this month it all kicks off under a brutal Demarco cover by Clint Langley

Inside, it’s all as it was last month, no bad thing as there’s a fine array of strips in here right now. This means that inside Megazine 412, you’ll find the finales of Dredd’s fight against the Red Queen and Demarco’s latest adventure, alongside continuations of Diamond Dogs, The Returners, and Anderson.
One thing that’s so great about the Meg at the moment is the artwork. Five strips, five completely different yet all wonderful in their own ways art styles. The angularity and brightness of Jake Lynch on Dredd, Paul Williams‘ stripped back and spare b&w on DeMarco, the depth of work from Warren Pleece on Diamond Dogs, the expansive scale and fabulous colours of Assireli & De La Cruz on the Returners, or the smooth storytelling of Patrick Goddard on Anderson, all of them do what they do so well, contributing to a great looking issue.
All of which means it’s about time to strap in and enjoy the preview of the new Meg, coming your way on 18 September if you’re in the chaotic UK or getting your fix on digital. Everywhere else, it’s down to you to demand some Meg from your local comic shop.
So, if you’re sitting comfortably?

JUDGE DREDD: THE RED QUEEN’S GAMBIT – PART 4 – FINAL PART – Arthur Wyatt, Jake Lynch, colors John Charles, letters Annie Parkhouse.
It’s the final part of the Red Queen’s Gambit, as Dredd and Orlok face off whilst the Justice Department attempts to take down La Reine Rouge and its plans to create its own criminal state.
With The Red Queen’s Gambit, Wyatt and Lynch have taken various strands of their work together, on Dredd, on Orlok, and weaved what felt much more like a very satisfying espionage thriller or clever crime series than your average Dredd. It’s a gambit that paid off handsomely, thanks not only to Wyatt’s storyline but Lynch’s MacMahon-infused artwork. All in all, excellent stuff all round.
And thankfully, with the end of this current storyline, there’s more to come from the Red Queen and her devious plans.

DEMARCO, P.I.: AN EYE – PART 3 – FINAL PART – Laura Bailey and Paul Williams, letters by Ellie De Ville.
The striking thing about Demarco is the art, newcomer Paul Williams’ spare and stark black and white work giving him nowhere to go, no colours and detailed backgrounds to disguise a fault. Fortunately, Williams’ art not only suits the b&w but thrives with the space afforded it, the spare nature of things allows him to get the principal stuff just right. It’s quite a lovely looking thing.
But pretty alone is never enough. Thankfully, in Laura Bailey, Williams has a fine partner in comics, crafting a stunning episode of Demarco and a particularly nasty piece of work going at it. This is Demarco…

But, as the saying goes, you should see the other guy.
Put it this way, the title makes a lot of sense in this final episode of what’s been a strip obviously put together with a huge affection for the character. I want to see Bailey and Williams with more Demarco very soon.

DIAMOND DOGS – PART 4 – James Peaty, Warren Pleece, letters Simon Bowland
In Diamond Dogs, we’re deep in the worst bits of Brit Cit, watching Nia Jones’ life unravel. She’s been playing both sides for a while, second-in-command of The Diamond Dogs gang plus informant for the Judges. But with the return of an old friend, she’s needing out.
All of which takes us further back in time. Last Meg, we saw just how she landed in the clutches of the Judges and here, we’re back to her childhood, memories of her dad, as she puts a plan in place for passage out. But what is it they say about the best laid plans?

Hugely enjoyable series from Peaty and Pleece, this episode really hitting well, getting the mix of drama, expostion, and action just right, plus a last page with a fabulous final moment. Poor Nia really can’t get herself a break can she?

THE RETURNERS: CHANDHU – PART 4 – Si Spencer, Nicolo Assirelli, colors by Eva De La Cruz, letters by Simon Bowland
The Returners just looks fabulous, with Assirelli and De La Cruz combining to craft some big, expansive pages, lush colors, resulting in a strip with a real sense of space and openness to it.
But, on the flipside of that, the openness in the art means that its also a story that has a tendency to drift a little. Big panels and pages look so nice, but there’s just not that much able to happen across each page. We’re four parts into this second Returners instalment and it doesn’t yet feel that it’s getting started.

Instead, there’s more interplay between the Returners themselves after getting dropped into the Mongolian Free Zone, supposedly to rescue a Sino citizen. And these little character moments play out really well, it’s just a touch frustrating that it feels that that’s all there is right now.

ANDERSON, PSI: THE DEAD RUN – PART 3 – Maura McHugh and Patrick Goddard, colors by Pippa Mather, letters by Annie Parkhouse
The Dead Run is the dreaded Psi-Judge babysitting mission, taking the best Psi-cadets out into the Cursed Earth and seeing how they hold up. And Anderson’s drawn the short straw this time and is head babysitter.
But, with the We Silent Few gang and psi-active bad guys around, this one’s proving to be a real baptism of fire.

What’s particularly strong in The Dead Run is how McHugh takes the time to flesh out the various Psi-Cadets and the variety of talents they possess. It’s just whether they’re going to get out of this one in one piece or not.
As I’ve already said up there in the intro, Goddard’s a superb artist, his storytelling always so good, his style packed with energy, a pleasure to read.

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