The Monthly Megazine #415: Jolly Holidays With Dredd?

by Richard Bruton

It’s the last Judge Dredd Megazine of the year, with Dredd getting about as festive as he does on a fabulous cover from Staz Johnson and Matt Soffe.
Deck the halls, trim the tree, pucker up under the mistletoe… it’s the Monthly Megazine

(Cover by Staz Johnson with colors by Matt Soffe)

This month, four brand new stories begin, with Dredd heading into the Black Atlantic in Plunder by Michael Carroll and Karl Richardson, Ales Kot and Mike Dowling returning to the world’s most fabulous supernatural troubleshooter in Devlin Waugh: A Very Large Splash, more from the strange world of Getri-1 in Blunt III by TC Eglington and Boo Cook, and a return to see what’s happening with magnificent Marshal Metta Lawson in Lawless: Boom Town by Dan Abnett and Phil Winslade. And to complete the fist-full of fantastic tales, the finale to The Returners by Si Spencer and Nicolo Assirelli.
The new Megazine, issue #415, hits shops on 18 December for the UK and on digital – perfect for your Christmas stocking!

JUDGE DREDD: PLUNDER – PART 1 – Michael Carroll, Karl Richardson, letters by Annie Parkhouse.
Back in the Black Atlantic, with Dredd recovering something that crashed down a while back. Yep, it’s Luna-2, Bachman’s God-City splashed down to the Black Atlantic. Carroll does love to pull in so many things in his Dredd tales – but as usual with Dredd, you don’t need to know the history, just jump into the tale.
So, alongside Judge Verne (another thing Carroll loves – different Judge classes), Judge Guthrie, and scavenger leader Philippa Shekhar onboard a newly resurfaced prison ship. There’s a lot of fuss being made over a comms glitch interfering with the Judge’s long-range comms… you reckon that could be important?
Oh yes, pirates on the starboard bow… It’s Dredd isolated and facing down MC-1’s equivalent of Captain Nemo. So far, so good.

DEVLIN WAUGH: A VERY LARGE SPLASH – PART 1 – Ales Kot, Mike Dowling, letters by Annie Parkhouse.
Well, Kot and Dowling already established their credentials with the one-off Devlin Waugh tale, Call Me By Thy Name, back in Megazine #400. There we met the demon Tittivilus and saw just how Devlin + demon + dildo manages to work out.
Now here we are for the first Kot and Dowling multi-parter and it’s all carrying on from that tale, as Devlin luxuriates as only he can alongside his new companion ‘Titty’…

Oh, there’s something so wonderfully, bizarrely, decadently wonderful about seeing the world’s premier supernatural investigator reclining on a sun-lounger talking to his new pal, the giant pink dildo inhabited by the spirit of a word demon.
It’s an episode of introductions, but also one of great lines, sparkling dialogue, and really funny gags. Just like this… as Devlin and Titty go swimming… ‘Is there anything you haven’t done?’, asks Titty…

Next, it’s time for a dinner party… where Titty gets ill and prophetic. And suddenly, you’ll all be wondering where your copies of Swimming in Blood have gone. Seriously, go re-read that first volume, it’s going to be important.
All in all, it’s one of those first episodes that does all it has to do, drawing you in with a combination of superb characterisation and stellar plotting… and being Devlin Waugh, not a small amount of spectacular smut.

BLUNT III – PART 1 – TC Eglington, Boo Cook, letters by Simon Bowland
Time to return to the bizarre world of Getri-1 and the evolutionary wonders to be found there. But first, we get to deal with the fallout from the end of the second part of this great series, the distress call going out to the Space Marines.
But Blunt and the other survivors have got to decide what the hell they’re going to tell the Marines coming in, pretty much anything but the truth of the mad alien planet that transforms anything and anyone on it…

All they really want is to get off the planet. Yet you and I both know that it’s not going to be as simple as that. And no surprise, there’s a spanner thrown into the works by the end of the first episode.
And even before we get to all that, there’s the time to meet the Marines, including the Marine droid dallying possibly with machine evolution… all of which is playing more into the ideas of the strip about evolutionary development. All in all, this is something rather special, just as Blunt I and II managed to be, all about the intersection of great storytelling, fabulous artwork, and evolutionary theory, all coming together to create something thought-provoking and fascinating. Hell, there’s even a nod to those old Matchbox Adventure 2000 toys…

THE RETURNERS: CHANDHU – PART 7 – FINAL PART – Si Spencer, Nicolo Assirelli, colors by Eva De La Cruz, letters by Simon Bowland
So far in The Returners it’s been a thing of demonic possessions as the newly not dead have found themselves struggling with the idea that even their handlers might not want them around any longer.
And now, in the finale… well, it’s one of those finales of sorts, a mere minor part in the ongoing tale, which is where the problem lies really. The Returners hasn’t really gone anywhere this time round, albeit hasn’t gone anywhere in a rather spectacularly gorgeous fashion. Assirelli’s artwork has constantly been a highlight on the Returners, benefiting so much from the big panels allocated to it, but giving all that space to the art has meant that the storyline has suffered somewhat. It’s all been fun for sure, just very lightweight fun that looks spectacular.

LAWLESS: BOOM TOWN – PART 1 – Dan Abnett, Phil Winslade, letters by Jim Campbell.
Badrock is a free-trade town now and that brings all the problems you might expect. Free trade means more folks coming in, a frontier experience, and because it’s all authorised by MC-1… more paperwork…

Oh yes, Metta Lawson loves her paperwork, she really does.
What we have here is a beautifully done intro to the next phase of Lawless, with everything new, everything fresh, where Lawson has to deal with her SJS minders, the Zhind, the new townsfolk, and whatever the hell has just attacked one of the settler convoys.
Oh, it’s fabulous to have Lawless back once more, fabulous to see Winslade’s gorgeous b&w artwork illustrating Abnett’s storyline.

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