Now this is what I’m talkin’ about! The Megazine has stumbled and faltered in the past but right now it is the best of British.
We open with a nice summary page followed by reader’s letters (nice representation of views) then we get right to the meat, Judge Dredd.
12 beautiful pages of art from Goddard and Teague and a typical dark, funny and twisted story from Gordon Rennie. This is a story of revenge, sex changes, politics and corruption. Dredd gets drawn into an investigation that leads him to Hong Tong. Good stuff.
Judge Death is next. As usual John Wagner really delivers the goods here but the star, the daddy here is Frazer Irving. The darkness, the passion, the humour, the pathos, the atmosphere and the sheer bloody horror of it all it’s great. Irving manages to combine a degree of campness to his work that doesn’t detract from its brutality, in fact it adds to it. Put simply Death wanders the cursed earth meets a human family and slaughters them but there’s so much more to it than that.
Devlin Waugh continues the green tinted hack and slash story we seem to have had forever. This was great fun to begin with but there has been so little plot development that the story seems to have stalled all together. The art is awesome and Devlin is perfect but it’s not enough to save the story unfortunately.
We’ve got 2 classic thrills from the British comic archive. The first of these is Harry Twenty on the High Rock. This is a prison drama where the eponymous Harry is serving 20 (thus Harry 20) years in a prison satellite for smuggling food to folks who were starving because of the Earths brutal regime. The artwork on this strip is great but the whole thing is very dated. Fortunately there’s a good chunk of this to read through and whilst it takes a little getting into it is definitely worth it in the end. Very compelling and a great classic to haul up from the vaults.
Darkie’s Mob has divided fan and critics opinion. Some see this as a jingoistic and racist throwback to days best forgotten. I can understand this point of view but I don’t agree with it. If I can quote Dreddlines (the Meg’s letter column) a second: “Darkie’s Mob largely depersonalises the Japanese, yes – but not, we maintain because it has a suspect racial point to prove: rather, because the Japanese are used as an archetypal, if stereotypical, representation of ‘The Enemy’ in a piece that might take place almost anywhere, anywhen – Culloden, Iraq, deep space. It happens to be Burma, 1942.” Dreddlines goes on to apologise for any offence they have caused. Darkie’s mob is a tense, gripping, dark, nasty and very influential piece. I grew up on war comics and this is a nostalgic trip for me but the comics I grew up on weren’t anything like this! Wagner and Western managed to produce work worthy of Garth Ennis’ ‘War Stories’ decades before the Vertigo title was even thought of.
Apocalypse Soon is a silly little one page strip from Alan Grant and Shaun Thomas. This week Death drops a tab. Fun.
In Blazing Battle Action Dave Bishop looks at 2000AD’s predecessor, Battle Picture Weekly. I was lead to believe that Dave would be taking a broad look at British Boy’s Comics but it doesn’t matter this is still another great offering from the Bish. What we have is another hidden history from the man who peeked behind the curtain of 2000AD’s veiled history. This is an excellent read.
Xtinct is from Paul Cornell and D’Israeli. It’s the far future and genetically engineered creatures do battle against each other in bloody fashion. I won’t ruin the various twists in this but it is a great tale with a great set up for future stories.
The Bendatti Vendetta comes from Robbie Morrison and John Burns. Vendetta is a bloody gangland tale set in the UK. Burns’ art is lovingly painted and it neatly conveys all the characters emotions and facets whilst still handing the violence and gore admirably. This could have been a straight slaughterfest but in Morrison’s hands it is a lot more.
The final word goes to Gordon Rennie who ‘saps his bile duct’ for our amusement. Little touches like this have really added to the latest incarnation of the Megazine and it’s a good read too.
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