It’s amazing that the Meg’ is still here after all the tribulations since its debut in 1990. It’s far more consistent than it’s older sibling. Overcome with enthusiasm this week for publications from the House of Tharg, managing something twice in a weekend for the first time since his thirties, Luke rambles for a few hundred words on this special anniversary issue.
Judge Dredd Megazine 400
Review by Luke Williams
Leading off with a suitably beautiful Chris Weston cover the Meg’ celebrates 400 issues of publication. Crumbs, I remember buying issue 1 when I was doing my A-Levels.
Quite a treat this week, Prog’ 2100 and the Meg’ have their Dredd strips drawn by master of the form, Henry Flint. Bu the Meg’ could pull ahead, with a script by John Wagner.
Wagner takes the opportunity to take the piss out of the Royal Family. Being completely on it’s arse, halfway through the 21st Centruy Brit Cit sells off the institution the highest bidder. As a concept it’s really appealing but doesn’t quite work for me, sadly. Nice build up, but the pay off is a bit flat. Still better than a lot of the Dredd’s that have appeared in the Prog over the past 12 months more. Wagner Dredd’s are becoming like Hen’s teeth, lets hope the gap between this one and the next isn’t that long. Herny Flint, well, what can I say? Henry Flint can do no wrong. Quintessential modern Dredd artist.
Next up is the sublime “Lawless”, which tells you everything you need to know really. Between this and “Brink” in the Prog’ , Abnett is knocking it out of the park.
Tension in the air as it’s all going a bit wrong for Badrock , under siege from Munce Corp’ Metta has marshalled (ahem) the town in a bid to repel invaders. Winslade’s art is gorgeous, with eye boggling detail and that splash page of Meta is just amazing. – classic stuff, please don’t jib out at the last minute guys.
“Blunt” returns for series 2. Our hero is still working on getting his charges back the safety of the settlement. But the itself is no better, under attack and the people there are getting bumped off.. Boo Cook’s fluorescent art sets my teeth on edge, but I know I’m in a minority Eglington’s script is tidy enough, but as a strip it just doesn’t push my buttons. But at least it is trying something different.
Croatian writer, Ales Kot writes a rather lurid and suitably sordid strip for “Devlin Waugh”, although it still feels a little odd that John Smith isn’t writing the camp vamp’. Devlin sorts out a old problem for an ex lover involving a sex aid and a demon. Mike Dowling is perfect for Devlin, Ales has a good handle on the character and plays up the prurient elements.
“Storm Warning” return, Leah Moore & John Reppion with new artist Jimmy Broxton, artist on “Hope” and the (I feel unfairly overlooked) “Goldtiger” . The Brit Cit Psi Judge has an interesting possession case, a spirit has been displaced from its still living body. The character is supposed to be stroppy and unsociable, that needs to be played up to differentiate between Storm and Anderson, although Brit Cit set stories are always welcome (apart from Brit Cit Brute – that was just silly.). Harsh, perhaps but the most memorable things about the last series was Tom Foster’s wonderful art, like a new Bolland or Cliff Robinson. Broxton is an underrated artist, and has a good handle on “spooky”. Hopefully, the story will be a bit more memorable this time around.
The Dark Judges appear in a follow up to Dominion, this time written by David Hine – who hasn’t worked for the Tharg for quite a few years. When we last left the remaining 3 dark Judges (Fear was left floating in space, and we know he was the weedy one anyway) they had just taken over the MC1 colony of Dominion.This picks up one of the last survivors of the colony and their attempts to evade the Dark Judges . “Dominion” was far better than “Dark Justice”, which suffered from each of the players going through the same step, I didn’t even like the art that much (I’ll get my coat). Time will tell if this is better, but it’s a shame that Wagner couldn’t work on this sequel, but even if he did, the Dark Judges can suffer from over exposure, at least this is a twist and there is a feeling that they may not just end up back in spirit traps / Boing again. Nick Percival’s art is suitably horrific, but far too murky and indistinct for me.
“Anderson, Psi Division” pops up, again, in a special one off. with Grant on scripting duties, which I am more comfortable with than the recent crop of other writers. If you’ve read my comments for Prog’ 2100, they stand here for the Anderson, Grant invested so much in her character and story but since the late nineties they seem to have run out of ideas in what to do with her. Although as a one off, this is fun. nice art from Inaki Miranada, hardly consistent with the way other artists draw her though – she’s getting on a bit now, and here she is drawn as a woman in her 30s.
in between the strips are some short interviews with all the previous editors of the Meg, McManus, Bishop, Tomlinson, Barnes and Diggle. The contain nothing revelatory, but there are some nice insights to how often the Meg came to cancellation.
Of more interest is the Alan Hebden interview, just in time for the appearance of “Meltdown Man” written by Hebden and drawn Belarindelli in the Ultimate collection and the upcoming reprint of Hebden and Redondo’s classic “Mind Wars” from “Starlord” in the floppy. The second interview is with genius art droid Ian Gibson which is remarkably candid, Mr. G has a go at co creators and 2000AD editorial. Anyone who has seen him on panels at conventions or from interviews on this blog knows what to expect (although perhaps a little toned down for print). Most amusing :).
The Meg’ is always good value, but £7.99 seems a tad steep. The floppy has reprints of the early Dredd work from Staz Johnson, PJ Holden, Tan Eng Huat (I forgot he worked for Tharg) and again shows that Gordon Rennie has a good handle on Dredd, but that Robbie Morrison’s doesn’t. The floppy to be fair is always worth a read – rare that it is pointless.
The Meg is always more consistent than the Prog’ but, that’s hardly surprising as it needs less content, less frequently as its weekly sibling. An oddly understated anniversary issue, but good quality.