The Monthly Megazine #454: Everybody’s Going Surfin’, Surfin’ MC-1
by Richard Bruton
Welcome once more to The Monthly Megazine – doing just what it says, taking you through the latest goings-on in the sister monthly to 2000 AD.
We’re now onto the third Megazine with the new squarebound, put everything in one, format. This means it’s the five regular strips, all the usual text features, and three reprints, all under one cover.
This month, we see the conclusion of two strips, Storm Warning: Dead & Gone and Surfer: Book Two. Two great strips I’ll be sorry to see go, but their replacements are the magnificent Drednoughts by Michael Carroll and John Higgins returning for its second series, The March of Progress, and the bittersweet appearance of Spector, the robot detective drama from John Wagner and the late, much missed, Carlos Ezquerra, with Dan Cornwell taking over on art from episode three.
The other three continuing strips this month are Judge Dredd: One-Eyed Jacks, continuing that unlikeliest of team-ups from MC-1 and ’70s New York City; Dark Judges: Death Metal Planet, with more gloriously gruesome metal mayhem; and Devlin Waugh: Karma Police, in which the usually louche vamp dandy is having a particularly bad time of it.
As for the reprints, we’re getting the final issue of IDW Comics’ Judge Dredd: Year One and a fourth part to Mega-City Two, plus a look at the new Leopard From Lime Street collection.
Judge Dredd: Megazine #454 is out on Wednesday 15th March – Which means it’s time for a preview of all that’s inside…
JUDGE DREDD: ONE-EYED JACKS – PART 3 – Ken Niemand and Kieron McKeown, colours by Quinton Winter, letters by Annie Parkhouse
More cross-time capers, as Dredd and Rico hunt down the cause of the 20th Century artefacts turning up at the sites of a series of murders.
So, in Mega-City One, Dredd’s interviewing a black market historian who tells him about a certan 70s New York cop who had a similar case, lots of out-of-time objects left at murder scenes… yep, that would be Jack McBane (One-Eyed Jack from classic Valiant/Battle Action Weekly comics of the 70s), the other half of this particular thrill.
And once they get investigating that one, they find a mystery that seems to be wanting to get in touch…
Meanwhile, back in the ’70s, McBane is investigating and gets wind of the leader of a cult-style thing talking about heading to the future.
And the undercover cop that McBane’s put into place amongst the hippies? The one pictured in the folder Dredd’s found? Well, this is the first time we catch her name. It’s a bit of a moment for sure.
All in all, a damn fine series here, taking that initial fun idea of what if Dredd and One-Eyed Jack could have a team-up and then running with it to create something that’s really working to make the cross-time caper work.
STORM WARNING: DEAD & GONE – PART 6 – FINAL PART – by John Reppion and Clint Langley, letters by Jim Campbell
The end of a rather magnificent storyline for Brit-Cit Judge Lillian Storm. Ever since the start of this one, we’ve been teased about what’s going on, with Reppion playing things out across two separate times, and Storm ending up going to hell in an attempt to uncover the mystery of ex-Chief Psi-Judge Campbell’s death.
Now though, she’s back from the dead and wanting a few answers from the new Chief Psi-Judge Pelham… although there’s a few paperwork issues to get around first…
Hugely satisfying series. Sure, you might have figured out where it was going to go by the very end, but the act of getting there was damn good. It’s the best Storm Warning so far and bodes damn well for future tales.
And as for the artwork, whoever gave Clint Langley the job of art here, take a bloody bow. In the past, both Tom Foster and Jimmy Broxton have produced some incredible work on Storm Warning, but having Langley’s art here on the tale of Storm going to hell is just the perfect match.
DARK JUDGES: DEATH METAL PLANET – PART 6 – by David Hine and Nick Percival, letters by Annie Parkhouse
You know how it’s all been a bit lighter so far in Death Metal Planet? With the stupidest of ideas that a metal band could come up with the moronic plan of freeing the Dark Judges?
(And yes, it’s been great and funny so far, although Hine’s been careful to make all the silliness about those around the Dark Judges, not the Dark Judges themselves – they’re still beautifully terrifying, especially with Nick Percival giving us all the grotesque gorgeousness, with the slime, scum, and smells of decay practically rising off the page to attack your senses.)
Anyway, as I was saying, you know how it’s all been a bit lighter so far in Death Metal Planet? Well, no anymore, not from here, not once we get to find out just how Ummm worked out that Roscoe could save the world.
Without giving it all away… it’s not good for Roscoe. Not good at all.
Hine and Percival are just doing wonderful things with the Dark Judges, making them more interesting and relevant than they’ve been in so many years. Every series has its own particular themes and tone, but they work together as a whole so very well.
DEVLIN WAUGH: KARMA POLICE – PART 6 – by Ales Kot and Rob Richardson, letters by Simon Bowland
Devlin, Titivilus, andThe ancient family curse of the Waughs seemed to be in full effect last episode as our Devlin ended up facing one of his ancestors in the cave and coming off badly.
Again, Ales Kot is taking us to completely new places with Devlin in Karma Police. The whole dandy vamp with a cheeky grin and a wicked line in comebacks has gone and in his place we have a Devlin cast loose into a nightmarish body and a brain that’s only capable of looking back through past lives (hence the pirate intro you’ll see in the preview below).
It’s very dark and desperate stuff, fascinating and hard-hitting at times but also one that can occasionally feel a little slow, even lost. I absolutely don’t think this is an issue with the overall storyline, it’s just that Kot has to play it all out slowly at points to really hammer home the terrifying situation Devlin’s in right now.
So yes, dark, desperate, fascinating, and making the character so much more than he was. All this and Rob Richardson on art, stripped back and dark, atmospheric and perfect for Karma Police.
SURFER: BOOK TWO – PART 6 – FINAL PART – by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland
Well, here’s the end to the second series of Surfer. And it does come to an end, although of course Wagner could easily bring it back for a third series if he wanted to – and I imagine a lot of readers out there (me included) definitely want to see more of this one.
I’m not giving you any more than that for the ending. Suffice it to say that the finale has Zane facing up to his problems – and facing up to boss, Snarkey, tying everything up that’s been percolating nicely for the past five episodes.
It’s been one of those tight and taut Wagnerian scripts that he’s been a master of for so so long. But perhaps the best thing about Wagner’s writing on this one is the masterclass he’s been giving in playing to the strengths of the artist. And in Colin MacNeil, Surfer has the perfect artist. The things MacNeil’s been doing here have just been wonderful.
And now for the reprinted material in here…
You’ve got the fourth issues of two IDW Dredd comic series, with Matt Smith and Simon Coleby’s Dredd: Year One being something that would very easily sit in a Prog or Megazine and Douglas Wolk and Ulises Farinas‘ Mega-City Two: City Of Courts being the sort of gleefully different thing that’s been part of Dredd since the beginning. Dredd: Year One has a young Dredd having his very first cross-dimension adventure in a post-apocalyptic-ish MC-1 whilst ‘City Of Courts‘ has Dredd as a fish out of water in a time before MC-2 bit the big one.
Finally, there’s the welcome look ahead to the forthcoming reprint of Leopard From Lime Street Volume 3 – one of Britain’s most beloved superheroes…
JUDGE DREDD: YEAR ONE – PART 4 – FINAL PART – Matt Smith and Simon Coleby, colours by Leonard O’Grady, letters by Chris Mowry, cover by Greg Staples
JUDGE DREDD: MEGA-CITY TWO: CITY OF COURTS – PART 4 – Douglas Wolk, Ulises Farinas, colours by Ryan Hill, letters by Tom B Long
THE LEOPARD FROM LIME STREET: VOLUME 3 – Tom Tully, Mike Western, Eric Bradbury
And next month… the return of this one…