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Megazine #204

Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2003
By: Alan Donald



Creators: Garth Ennis, John Higgins, Alan Grant, Graham Manley, Pat Mills, David Pugh, Glenn Fabry, John Wagner, Mike Western, Dave Bishop, Jack Adrian, Brian Bolland, Dan Abnett, Steve Roberts, Simon Davis, Rob Williams, Simon Fraser, John Smith, Colin MacNeil and Shaun Thomas.

Publisher: Rebellion

100 pages of Thrillpower, this is what comic reading is all about. is maybe too high a grade but sod it, I finished the issue on a high and with so much choice and so much bloody reading for the cover price I can't really complain too much about the bits I didn't enjoy.

I love this latest incarnation of the Megazine. We've got a huge Judge Dredd story, some classic comic action (Darkie's Mob, Slaine and a Future Shock), the 2000AD history, Devlin Waugh, Black Siddha, Juliet November, Family, Sinister/Dexter, Apocalypse Soon and some other stuff I'm sure I've missed. This is a solid read, a monthly comicbook that took me several sittings to get through as I wanted to do it justice. Heck it took me longer to plough through this as it did for me to read all the rest of this weeks comics (2 bloody weeks worth), I enjoyed most of it and I was happily entertained at the end, value for money in my book.

The lead strip this month was a real good'un. Garth (Punisher, Preacher and Fury) Ennis on Judge Dredd! I'll admit I was half expecting a riotous romp of violence and mayhem interspersed with witty one-liners from Old Stoney Face but I was wrong. Ennis has set this tale just before the 2000AD continuity started all those years ago. John Higgins does a good job to subtly change Dredd, the Judge's uniform and equipment and even Megacity One.

This is a great Dredd tale but it is exactly the sort of tale that would be impossible to tell with Dredd now a days. Joe has become too grizzled and too savvy, he's been there, done that and generally collected every bloody T-shirt going. So by setting this tale in the past Mr. Ennis is able to produce a great story with familiar characters and situations. Of course we know that Dredd must succeed in the end, otherwise how does everything else happen? But c'mon don't we always know Dredd will succeed, it's just a matter of how.

Longtime fans are rewarded with a few in-jokes that'll pass by the newer readers. None of these feel forced or stale, in fact they work very well to enhance the story (for example: Dredd: "Ambitious boy, our Cal." It tells us all we need to know and it provides a laugh for those of us who do know. Chambers: "Chief Judge Cal, no thank you." Again we are given an instant idea of the character and again long time readers are chortling away to themselves).

This is Dredd and this is Ennis so let's face it we'd have felt robbed without several pages of ultraviolence, a nasty sequence that powerfully gets across the awe inspiring image that Dredd conveys and even more ultraviolence. Mixed in we have politics, power games and a good old fashioned cliff hanger.

Whizzing through some of the rest of the mag (I'd be here all month if I was to review every bit of it!) we come next to Juliet November. This is an entertaining enough conclusion to the story with enough pathos at the end to tug on the heart strings a bit. Not one of Alan Grant's best works by a long chalk but heck it's still good.

Slaine. Sorry I still can't get into this run of the Celtic warrior, not even Glenn Fabry's awesome art can help it. I just don't like the story, I love Slaine but not like this I'm afraid.

Darkie's Mob. Yeah baby! It's old fashioned, it's clunky, it's predictable but Grud dammit it's still very, very good. If all the British war comics of the 70's and 80's had been publishing strips of this quality they'd never have folded. This revived strip continues to keep me hooked and coming back for more.

Future Shock. Nice twist, nice art...what more do you want me to say? That's the highest compliments a Future Shock can get.

Sinister/Dexter. Chortle, nuff said.

Thrill Power Overload. Dave Bishop continues his brutally frank and honest history of 2000AD. This is incredably well written and I've enjoyed every part. I really think Rebellion should consider collecting these essays into a book. Next months'll be the last part which begs the question as to what'll replace it? Tell you what I'll call Rebellion and ask them, watch out for an update when I've got an answer. Personally I'd like to see creator/character histories.

Black Siddah. This is exactly the sort of tale I normally despise but somehow Pat Mills manages to keep me interested and wanting more. Very good indeed.

Family. I feel bad that I haven't gotten into this. It's a good idea and it's well drawn and written but for some reason my boat isn't floated, sorry.

Devlin Waugh. Camp wisecracks and nonstop action.

Apocalypse Soon. Enjoyable.

There a quick overview and that's missing out a few sections too. A good read that should still be available in UK newsagents or globally at your comicshop via Diamond.



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