Judge Dredd Megazine #354
I’m a bit slow off the mark; Rich already got a review out on this, but what the hell eh?
First off, I love the fact that the specials are back, but there is no filler. The editorial detritus puzzles and articles that used to pad them out. I actually miss those bits, but I guess the Meg’ has the monopoly on those.
Anyway, behind a suitably spooky atmospheric Ben Templesmith cover, are lots of suitably spooky stories.
Judge Dredd stars in “Sorebone”. Film fans go obsessive over an allegedly haunted film prop. It’s not an original premise. An economic script from TC Eglington who is turning out to be a good Dredd writer, but doesn’t give us much of a payoff here, but entertaining all the same. The real treat is the art by Ricardo Burchielli of Vertigo’s“DMZ” (check it out). Fabulously wonderfully fluid line work, I’d like to see him on some more regular work in 2000ad. He’d be great on “Rogue Trooper”.
Speaking of blue boy, the GI turns up here. Rogue and bio chips pick through the Nu Earth wasteland, only for Rogue to be infected by a poison that overcomes his body’s natural resistance. Rogue is incapacitated. In his delirium he fights metaphors of the war, whilst Bagman, Helm and Gunnar squabble and bicker instead of treating him. Guy Adams has a good handle on Rogue, this doesn’t work as well as the Summer Special story and it reminds me a bit of “Milli Com Memories”. Are editorial easing Rogue back into regular appearances (and possibly pretending that the last 20 years never happened), but if they do, leave it with Adams. Lee Carter‘s art is fantastic, atmospheric and beautifully drawn.
“The Alienist” is up next. Another quirky steam punk tale – really? This isn’t bad, but didn’t push my buttons really. Rennie and Beeby’s script is interesting enough. An otherworldly being comes to Earth to protect it from attack from other dimensions and outer space (presumably). Eoin Coveny art has developed since the last time I saw it, I can see elements of Cliff Robinson amongst the echoes of Jim Baikie / Cam Kennedy. I can wait for the next episode – no rush.
Terror Tales “Phantom Pains”. Eddie Robson writes a haunted house story, with a particularly gory pay off. Short, snappy and bloody. Doesn’t overstay its welcome. Art by Jeff Anderson?
Wow, haven’t seen him in years! Not since Judge Dredd “Better The Devil You Know”(?!?!??) Clean, clear, great storytelling – old school 2000ad.
Ahhhhhhhhh, “Defoe”. The nearest thing to an origin story we’ve had for Titus (I just know someone is going to prove me wrong). Where many strips have a length of between 10 and 12 episodes for reprinting as a collection, the odd one off is welcome – it’s like having a non album single, a little diversion between the major storylines. Leigh Gallagher was born to draw horror, zombies and 17th Century England – anything he wants really. Must. Save.Money. Buy. Defoe Page. From.Gallagher. Blog. Gallagher brings out the best in Mills, Defoe is one of the best things he’s done in ages, much better than the “Flesh” revival and the seemingly directionless “ABC Warriors”. Can’t wait for the next series.
“Anderson” rounds things off. A non whiny Cass’ at that. Great art from Darren Douglas, cartoony, kinetic and colourful, and rocking the “La Roux” look. We’ve seen the story before, gamers are brainwashed into killing their families by a bully victim out for revenge. Alan Grant takes Cass away from the deep and meaningful and back to straightforward judging.
Top package. Perhaps a bit longer next time though? (and the odd wordsearch?)