The Monthly Megazine – doing just what it says, taking you through the latest goings-on in the sister monthly to 2000 AD, 30+ years and still going strong!
Like it says right there on the cover, you definitely have to read 2000 AD Prog #2300 first before this one, as it’s got the first part of the 2000 AD goes zombie storyline – where the fallout from this alternative read of Judgement Day reverberates around the entire 2000 AD multiverse.
So, if you ever fancied seeing an undead Judge Dredd and zombie infection spreading around the globe with tales of Shimura, Anderson Psi-Division, Missionary Man, Cadet Giant, Devlin Waugh, and Armitage, all with the welcome addition of the greatest Strontium Dog, Johnny Alpha, well this really is the month for you.
Judge Dredd: The Megazine #447 – full of all that damn fine zombie madness – is out wherever great comics now.
Okay then… a quick recap of the story so far… just like in Judgement Day, Sabbat the Necromancer comes to Dredd’s world and raises the dead. But here in this reality, Dredd’s assassination plan gets voted down in favour of dimension bombs that end up infecting the entire 2000 AD multiverse with Sabbat’s undead, including Mega-City One, where this happened…
Meanwhile, Johnny Alpha’s headed back to Dredd’s world to see if he can salvage the disaster… it’s 2114 AD and the world has gone to hell.
Where the Prog was full of the what-if style wish fulfillment for comic fans, taking us on a tour of the 2000 AD multiverse gone zombie, this one is one episodic tale, all to do with getting Johnny Alpha from Hondo City to Mega-City One, each tale taking him that little bit closer to the inevitable end. And as such, there’s the feel of it all being a touch mechanistic, every tale functioning to move Johnny from A to B to C to MC-1. Some of the strips manage to rise above that and give us something extra, others… not so much.
But just like the Prog, it’s just one of those interesting what-if things, total wish fulfillment, the whole wouldn’t it be cool to see 2000 AD do The Walking Dead sort of thing. And by the end of it all, warts and all, you can’t help but think 2000 AD does manage to pull off these sorts of crossover events with style and a good old-fashioned, continuity be damned fun.
JUDGE DREDD: THE DARKEST JUDGE – by Ken Niemand and Leigh Gallagher, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse
The zombie plague’s taken over MC-1 and Dredd’s been bit… can you think of anything worse in the city than Dredd’s drive and a creeping zombie infection?
And that’s exactly what Niemand gives us here, the money shot of zombie Dredd stalking the city, flip-flopping between hunting the perps for food or interrogation, all the while knowing that Johnny Alpha’s on his way back.
Gorgeous artwork from Leigh Gallagher – well, gorgeous in as much as flesh-rending zombies cna be, but you can see what I mean.
SHIMURA: HOPE LIES BURIED – by Karl Stock and Zei Kama, colours by Gary Caldwell, letters by Jim Campbell
Hondo City Judge Shimura faces down the great sea of the undead with a little help from Johnny Alpha, fresh back in this time after seeing what a mess Dredd’s made of the future.
Shimura’s merely a way for Stock to move the tale on, but that’s not so much a problem as the point, with Kama’s art looking really strong and good –
ANDERSON, PSI-DIVISION: ALLIED FORCES – by Honor Vincent and Boo Cook, letters by Simon Bowland
Next on Johnny’s meet and greet, Cass Anderson deep in the Hondo Radlands, spooked by a horrifying vision of her future but still determined to get Alpha to MC-1 for that showdown.
Yet again, it’s Boo Cook to steal the show here, fresh off the magnificent Death Cap and showing us all that he’s capable of with Anderson – stylish, organic, fluid work, complete with a final panel to give you (just like Anderson) nightmares.
MISSIONARY MAN: THE LONESOME UNDEATH – by Gordon Rennie and Dan Cornwell, colours by Dylan Teague, letters by Jim Campbell
He used to be a Texas City Judge, bringing his own brand of the law to the wilderness of the Cursed Earth. But all that’s gone now as the zombies take over…
Johnny’s gathering up the troops here, Anderson already in tow, now to get the Missionary Man, deep in the Cursed Earth. Zombies, horse, and damn big guns come out thanks to Rennie and Cornwell. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition indeed.
CADET GIANT: I AM… – by James Peaty and Nicolo Assirelli, colours by Peter Doherty, letters by Simon Bowland
The son of the fabled Judge Giant, Cadet Giant was once a promising talent in the Academy of Law. Of course, all that was before the dimension bombs turned MC-1 into zombie central…
And we’re back in MC-1, with Giant in hiding, trying to figure out just what the hell he’s meant to do in a city without justice.
It’s a standout of the non-Dredd strips here, deviating from the journey of Johnny style thus far, Peaty writing it well, taking us inside Giant’s head, all the doubts and fears and the way he overcomes them both. And as for Assirelli, his art looks as strong as ever, although it’s more substantial and dense than his last work in the Meg, The Returners, definitely an improvement on things.
DEVLIN WAUGH: HOW I LOST THE WAUGH – by Liam Johnson and Conor Boyle, colours by Barbara Nosenzo, letters by Jim Campbell
It’s back with the assembling of Johnny’s little gang now, as we head to the zombie delights of Brit-Cit for the first time and find out just what it’s like to be a vampire dandy detective of Brit-Cit in a world of the walking dead…
On the one hand, it’s just a bridge to sending the gang off to Armitage and them into MC-1, but on the other, once the mechanics of it all are rather clumsily done with, there’s a melancholy and almost wistful sense of a Devlin Waugh tale here that works.
ARMITAGE: AN UNDERLYING FEAR – by MIke Carroll and Steve Yeowell, colours by John Charles, letters by Simon Bowland
Given the tip by Devlin, off we pop to see good old Detective Inspector Armitage, currently holed up in a Brit bunker with an overly twitchy civil servant and a dwindling number of Judges.
Again, it’s one where the mechanics do their thing, Johnny, Cass, and the Missionary Man getting from here to there, passing through Armitage’s territory, looking great and with a nice turn of phrase from Carroll, especially those last words.
JUDGE DREDD: THE DARKEST JUDGE (PART 2) – Ken Niemand, Leigh Gallagher, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse
And here we are, the finale, where Johnny’s gang or perhaps Alpha’s Angels finally get to the Big Meg and face down the Walking Dredd (and yes, of course that was the first thing I thought of when I first caught wind of this whole thing).
Like Johnny says, it’s not something to fix, just something to stop, and it’s down to Johnny, Cass, Missionary Man, and Giant to bring the fight to a nightmarish Dredd and the inevitable finale, seeing two of 2000 AD’s greatest face off with each other.
And Gallagher’s Dredd really is a nightmare, bare skin and bone, ravaged and pure terror walking.