Judge Dredd Megazine 349
Review by Seth
Decks are cleared for the big anniversary 350 next month. New to Dredd (? I’m pretty sure anyway) Canadian Cameron (“Sea Guy” “Manhattan Guardian”) Stewart supplies a natty cover with a solid but ever so slightly cartoony line, he’s got both Dredd and Anderson sorted, next step : 2000ad strip work (pretty please?).
“Judge Dredd: Rad to The Bone” concludes and it all kicks off. Vibrant and kinetic Boo Cook’s art might be, but it doesn’t do it for me for some reason, beautifully coloured though. He does seem to acknowledge that as much as Joe is getting on a bit – so is Hershey; she has a few more lines on her face here. Eglington wraps up a fun if unessential strip, with a guest appearance by the absurd Judge Smiley. Most importantly Eglington understands the most fundamental part about Dredd’s character is that he’s an arsehole and a ruthless one at that, admirably demonstrated more than once in this episode.
Next, we have a long overdue “Interrogation” with “Slaine” and “Dan Dare” artist David Pugh. He’s had a bit of a life hasn’t he? Missed by me certainly, and sadly overshadowed by the awesome Glenn Fabry in “Time Killer” and “Tomb of Terror”, Pugh dropped out of site after leaving Dare and “last planet” never got past issue 2, since then he has been busy outside of the field of comics. Definitely worth a read.
Two Ton Tony Tubbs makes a reappearance in “Tales of Mega City One”. Financially, Tony is on his not insubstantial arse. Worse, that arse (and belly and jowl etc) is getting smaller. The source of his fame and fortune is wasting away, he needs money fast and grassing to the judges might be a way back. David Bailie spins a great follow up tale coupled with great art by Eoin Coveny wearing his Baikie and Kennedy influences on his sleeve. More from him please.
Gordon Rennie and Kev Hopgood’s “The Man from the Ministry” moves into episode 2. The occupant of the mysterious spacecraft is interrogated and confirmed to be the same pilot who left Earth in 1953, but has not aged a bit. Coming across as a bit like Warren Ellis and Chris Weston’s “Ministry Of Space” meets the “X-Files” or more accurately Gerry Anderson’s “UFO”. It has the feel of a strip from “Lion” or “Valiant” or is that just me? Hopgood’s style has changed considerably since I last saw him in the prog’ drawing “Night Zero” or one of its sequels. Always a good artist, nice clean lines with a touch of Peter Gross about them (or vice versa?)
Entertaining “Interrogations” with “Slaine” and “Judge Dredd” art droid Nick Percival and “A History of Violence”, “Sandman”, “Judge Dredd” and “Tharg’s Thrillers” artist Vince Locke follow. It’s amazing to think that it’s over 20 years since Nick Percival first worked for the House of Tharg. A cheaper alternative to strip they might be, but it’s rare that these interviews are ever less than interesting, little bits of gossip and background to the creation of your favourite (and not so favourite) strips.
Finally, “Anderson: PSI Division” wraps up her pursuit of Algol Rey. Alan Grant’s story uses the fallout from Chaos Day as a backdrop for Anderson’s battle with an old enemy, with a little help from Old Stoney Face. I can’t help but feel that Anderson has run her course (despite the shock half way into this run), but it seems there maybe another change in direction in the offing. Grant is a class act; hopefully this will lead to a revitalisation (but still better than Karyn or Janus any day). Dowling’s art is beautiful, chunky and craggy with a touch of Peter Doherty about his line work and colouring, check out his series “Death Sentence” from Titan.