Review written by Eamonn Clarke
To read more of Eamonn’s reviews go check out his Thank you for your Attention blog
It’s a double helping of thrill power week with both the Prog and the Meg coming through the letter box together. Time for the Dredd-full duo to face off for the title.
Covers. Ben Willsher vs Steve Yeowell and Chris Blythe
Willsher delivers an early knock out blow with Dredd crashing through the cover and taking out most of the logo in the process. That’s two weeks in a row with a lot of broken glass on the cover. The Meg cover is interesting but not particularly memorable. I wonder how much of the detail has been added by Chris Blythe’s colours. I look forward to seeing the pencils when this shows up on Pete Wells block’s 2000AD Covers Uncovered.
Score 1-0 to the Prog.
Dredd. Mega-City Confidential part 4 by John Wagner, Colin MacNeil, Chris Blythe and Annie Parkhouse vs Rad to the Bone part 1 by T.C.Eglington, Boo Cook and Annie Parkhouse.
Wagner and MacNeil are keeping the secret of Section 7 until next week. Whether it can ever live up to this suspenseful build up remains to be seen. I’ve always found Wagner’s endings to be slightly anti-climatic but that’s true of most ongoing comic stories which need the major characters and setting unchanged for the next instalment. MacNeil’s use of light and shadow is fantastic, Dredd’s visor and Styler’s glasses on the third page are especially effective.
Over in the Meg Eglington and Cook set up a tale of a vengeful villain from Dredd’s past. Another week another death threat, but if an ongoing series lasts 37 years there are bound to be some repeated tropes. I assume the mutated Orang-Utan is a known character but it’s a new one on me. On a medical note the amount of deformation of Dredd’s helmet suggests a fatal injury to me but maybe his skull is Adamantium these days. Cook’s work is lovely but MacNeil has the edge here.
Score 2-0 to the Prog.
Outlier part 4 by T.C.Eglington, Karl Richardson and Annie Parkhouse vs DeMarco P.I. The Whisper part 5 by Michael Carroll, Steve Yeowell and Ellie De Ville
Two private investigators on the trail of super powered killers. Outlier continues with the jungle hunt diversion and weapons of mass destructions with cool names but little impact. Meanwhile DeMarco uses some grim weaponry of her own to work out who is tipping off the Whisper and why. The story telling was a bit confusing here with different timelines to work out and I confess that I have only just realised that the former cadet Kesseler is one of the survivors from Carroll’s Forsaken story in last year’s Prog.
Both stories were a bit of a let down after the earlier episodes but again the colour art in the Prog tips the scales.
Score 3-0 to the Prog. An early hat-trick, is the match over already?
Slaine The Brutania Chronicles part 4 by Pat Mills, Simon Davis and Ellie De Ville vs The Irrational Lottery by T.C.Eglington, Jon Davis-Hunt, Gary Caldwell and Simon Bowland.
Slaine finally swings his axe but it looks like there is a sting in the demon’s tail. Over in the Meg the ubiquitous Eglington gives us an amusing self contained story about life on the Mega-City dole. Slaine wins points for having some creepy Doctor Who style demons emerging from the waves but as ever Mills is taking his time getting to the point. It’s a close run thing but the art by Davis-Hunt with Caldwell’s crazy colours just edges it out for a win for the Meg.
Score 3-1 and the Megazine is back in the game.
Jaegir: Strigoi part 4 by Gordon Rennie, Simon Coleby, Len O’Grady and Simon Bowland vs Anderson: Dead End part 5 by Alan Grant, Michael Dowling and Simon Bowland.
Two scarred heroines face off. It’s time for a creepy castle in Jaegir with scary monsters and super creeps in a jungle hunt (that’s this week’s 80s electro-pop reference taken care of). O’Grady’s colours continue to make this work for me although I need some steak now after all the sizzle.
Meanwhile Anderson and Dredd realise they are on the trail of another blast from the past, but it doesn’t matter that the story has gone down a familiar pathway because Dowling’s art steals the show. There’s something about his big screen facial close-ups that seems just right for the pages of the Megazine. It’s nice to see Anderson back on top of her game and craggy faced Dredd putting her back in the firing line. And it’s an easy win for the Anderson story.
Score 3-2 and all to play for.
Sinister Dexter: The Generican Dream part 4 by Dan Abnett, Smudge and Ellie De Ville vs the Megazine articles.
Godzilla wins, that’s just the way it is.
Final score 3-3, a tie!
So my scoring system is a bit suspect but the judge’s decision is the law etc. (If it came down to a penalty shoot out then my money would be on Wagner and MacNeil to win it). Two top quality issues from the house of Tharg. If you’re not reading 2000AD you are missing out on the best of British comics.