Hot on the heels of Eamonn’s head to head, here is Strictly Kev with his take on the issues
Tooth vs Meg round 8
Going to try and keep this brief this time round, but we’ll see how long that lasts. 2000ad beat the Meg last month but it’s still one down at 3 to the Meg’s 4, can the Prog equalise?
2000ad Prog 1877
Cover – Now THAT’s a cover! Ben Willsher on fine form with Dredd on one of the new lawmasters, not only managing to crash through a plate glass window but do it one-handed whilst firing a lawgiver too! Only in comics kids. Great, dynamic image for the cover, bears no relation to the Dredd story inside but that doesn’t matter.
Dredd: Mega City Confidential pt.4
And this one’s turning out to be another high quality outing from Wagner and MacNeil doing the kind of gritty, mature Dredd story I like: cover ups, conspiracy and a dirty secret inside the Justice system, (or is it? I’ve yet to read the final chapter). I’ve got a feeling there’ll be some kind of surveillance / big brother is watching you type angle or maybe a pacifying drug in the water system? Some sort of on mass crowd control at least. Max Blixen has turned to bite the hand that feeds and maybe Dredd isn’t 100% behind the Section 7 project? This is tight storytelling with a hint of humour and a dark undercurrent, looking forward to the final instalment.
This isn’t grabbing me at all plot-wise and Richardson’s hyper-macho, over-muscled character stereotypes are dragging it into the realm of so-so. I’m already finding myself asking, ‘who is that guy again?’ about the Carcer character, not awful but I’m losing interest unless something happens to make it more than your basic revenge saga.
Slaine: A simple Killing pt.4
When Simon Davis was announced as the new Slaine artist I thought he was a bad choice but I’m happy to be proved wrong. If anything he’s given the character a new angle, making him strangely more human and less impervious hero. His painting skills and odd colour choices are a breath of fresh air after Clint Langley’s computer palette, bringing back texture and earthiness to the strip. Mill’s writing is better too, more of a ‘going back to my roots’ style with the character and the sometimes po-faced Slaine has gained a little more humour to go with the berserker. Good return for a character that I thought was on its last legs after the recent good-looking but bad reading nostalgia-fest of the ‘Book of Scars’.
Sinister Dexter: The Generican Dream
Speaking of which…. here are two dogs who really are on their last legs and need to be put down. The plot is beyond generic and the dialogue is excruciating with the ‘F’ word (that’s ‘funt’) WAY over-used to little effect. Unfortunately the art by Smudge drags the whole thing even further back into the days of Battle Action and its ilk. A real low point, this has really run its course now.
Jaegir: Strigoi Pt.4
I’m liking this a lot, Rennie is throwing out enough plot strands to keep me hooked and Coleby’s art is always a joy to look at. Still too early to know whether this is going to have legs for another series but I’m getting used to being on the Nort side rather than the Souther for a change.
A 3/5 issue with Dredd being the strongest strip, closely followed by Jaegir.
Cover: Steve Yeowell’s Whisperer fails to excite on this pretty pedestrian cover but those are some nasty looking implements dripping with a very suspect substance. I’ll say no more as I’m sure Orlok could phrase this better.
Dredd: Rad To The Bone pt.1
Not a massive Boo Cook fan but he pulls this one off with some decent detail and neon-lit night time colours. He does a good Dredd, Hershey too and there’s some brutal violence happening in some of the panels, not least in the final smackdown with Dredd. There must be some brain damage happening after a punch like that surely?
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Unsure what relevance this has and I won’t be running to the cinema to see the new film but it was an interesting history of the character. For a start I never know that the first film was made 60 years ago which is pretty incredible when you think about it, surely the first long-form film franchise ever?
Interrogation: Mike Dowling
Three pages with the artist drawing the current Anderson strip who was also responsible for the excellent ‘gay Dredd’ story, ‘Closet’. As with previous interrogations with new artists, there’s little to tell as he’s been a jobbing artist for five years with only half of that for 2000ad, it’s OK but there’s not much here to get to grips with yet.
DeMarco P.I.: The Whisperer pt.5
Thank god that’s over, an episode that sees DeMarco busting heads willy-nilly, shooting people whilst solving the case Scooby Doo-style. Loved the fact that a Med Judge is seen getting out a box marked ‘ice’ after DeMarco has just shot a guy’s leg off – yeah that’s should sort it. If I cared I would go into the ridiculousness of the whole situation surrounding the Whisperer picking off victims to feed on their spinal fluid, supposedly set up by a guy in housing who had to relocate people. By the end it seems that Mike Carroll is just making it up on the fly with the story wrapped up from full action to end in two panels! Not a fan, no more please.
Tales From Mega City One: The Irrational Lottery
This was pretty good despite Jon Davis-Hunt being on the artwork, he’s getting better with some nice detail in depicting the City. Gary Caldwell’s colours let it down somewhat with an overabundance of pinks, mauves and purples but it’s a nice look at the crazier, desperate side of living in the Meg. Not bad for filler.
Interrogation: Declan Shalvey
No idea who he is, never read anything he’s drawn and it looks like his only connection to the world of Dredd is that he read 2000ad once. But there’s some pretty nifty fight scenes with Ninjas on the 3rd page so the guy can draw. Third text piece though and it’s starting to grate again, please Meg, less text or maybe change the subject up so that we’re not getting Interrogations that have little to do with anything? How about adapting some of Pete Wells’ excellent cover breakdown blog posts into a regular feature in the Meg? Some of the ones by D’Israeli or Mark Harrison are features in themselves and would be much more relevant to the Megazine.
I never used to read the Dredd text stories because I like my Dredd with images, that’s why I buy comics. But as i’m reviewing the Meg now I thought I’d better read this and it was pretty good. As it was part 1 I did wish that they’d dropped an interrogation and used the pages to print the rest as I’ll probably have to re-read this part next month to remember what happened.
Anderson: Dead End Pt.5
Dowling’s artwork seems to be improving month on month with shades of Arthur Ranson in the mind probe scenes although there are still way too many blank backgrounds going on. Anderson’s line after being asked how she’s bearing up after the hanging is a bit rich – “Fine, Chief. Half an hour on rapi-heal and you’d never know I’d died”. Now that the perp has been identified this is starting to heat up although it’s not been explained how Anderson was able to resist her earlier suicide urges when other judges are blowing their brains out all over the shop? Was it because she’s stronger or the urges weaker? and why did she not cause harm to citizens like the others? I guess we’ll find out…
The less said about the bagged Judge Janus floppy the better I think, surely one of the like, wholly most annoying characters ever created in Dredd’s world?
2000ad is the clear winner this month – despite the terrible Sin Dex story – making it four all. After the Meg’s fantastic run last year against a very poor jump on Prog line up 2000ad is back, although both currently have a fair share of filler going on. They’re trailing this forthcoming ‘Man from the Ministry’ story fairly hard and ‘Lawless’ looks intriguing but the most eagerly awaited is still the return of the Dark Judges which Greg Staples seems to be talking his sweet time over. Also there’s been mention of the return of the Summer special and of course there’s the Free Comic Book Day issue to look forward to so plenty happening in the months ahead.