The Comicon Monthly Megazine Preview – Meg 398, Coming In August

by Richard Bruton

Another month, another 2000AD Judge Dredd Megazine to enjoy. Sadly, this big, bold, and beautiful sister monthly to the weekly comic suffers from the same problems as 2000AD in the USA; patchy distribution, comic shops that don’t order it, hell there’s comic shops that don’t even know it exists. And although we’re saying Megazine 398 is out in August, frankly your guess is as good as ours.

Fortunately, it also shares the same incredibly high quality of 2000AD, producing longer strips every month featuring the very, very best of splendid sci-fi from the UK. It’s definitely worth seeking out. Get yourself to your comic shop and order it, right after seeing just how great it is with our preview.

(Cover art by Tiernen Trevallion from Strange Brigade)

On the cover this month: brand new strip, Strange Brigade, based on a new video game coming out from the Meg’s publisher Rebellion. Now, normally video game adaptations aren’t something to get too excited about, but with writer Gordon Rennie and artist Tiernen Trevallion involved, the normal problems don’t really apply!
Other strips include the all-out action finale of the Judge Dredd/Razorjack crossover, and the penultimate parts of Devlin Waugh, The Returners, and Chopper in advance of the landmark Meg 400 in two months time, one of those jumping on issues.
So, shall we begin?
Judge Dredd: This Corrosion – Part 3 (Final Episode) – Michael Carroll and John Higgins
Crossovers are usually dodgy things, throwing together two ‘properties’ in clumsy, cobbled together fashion. But, over the years, Dredd has managed to avoid the usually terrible track record and delivered some truly great comics. Think Dredd & Batman in Judgement On Gotham and the Aliens crossover. And now, we can add another to the list, as This Corrosion, the crossover with John Higgins’ demonic otherworldly nightmare Razorjack has really hit all the right notes. The one problem with it? At just three episodes giving us just 30 pages, it all felt too damn short and rushed. There’s punchy, and there’s fast-paced, but sadly, This Corrosion comes off as a mere prelude to something bigger. Fingers crossed.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a real blast, and Higgins’ artwork really has never been better. But after just three episodes, it’s all over before the fun really had chance to explode!

(Judge Dredd: This Corrosion – Part 3 –
Michael Carrol and John Higgins, colors Sally Hurst, letters Annie Parkhouse)

The Returners: Irmazhina – Part 5 – Si Spencer and Nicolo Assirelli
Penultimate episode time for this chamber piece set down in the corrupt South American Mega-City Ciudad Barranquilla. The dysfunctional group involved are deep into the mysterious pyramid that materialised a few days ago, and deep in trouble.
Spencer and Assirelli’s strip has been a slow burner, teasing rather than revealing, locking us into the pyramid, closing down the action in the closed off setting. But, with this fifth part, we take a look back at the pasts of the individuals that, for some reason, were chosen to enter the pyramid. And bang, there’s a connection, as Spencer pulls it all together just in time for the finale. And a series that had been fascinating, mysterious, and great reading, just turned into something excellent. All I’m hoping now is that the finale lives up to the build-up!

(The Returners: Irmazhina – Part 5 –
Si Spencer and Nicolo Assirelli, colors Eva De La Cruz, letters Simon Bowland)

Devlin Waugh: Kiss Of Death – Part 2 – Rory McConville and Mike Dowling
Last issue of the Meg, the first part of the new Devlin Waugh was all about giving us a crash course in the dating life of the vampiric paranormal troubleshooter. It ended with fungal homicide, although, in truth, Devlin was a little more concerned with his date worrying about being seen with an older man.
Here, it’s time to get into the meat of the problem. Namely, just what the hell a paranormal investigator is going to do about a fungal infection and how he’s going to do it with “the apocalyptic hangover” he’s dealing with.
Based on these two episodes, McConville and Dowling have grabbed hold of this great 2000AD character with gusto, wit and are delivering a great little tale here.

(Devlin Waugh: Kiss Of Death – Rory McConville and Mike Dowling, letters Simon Bowland)

Chopper: Wandering Spirit – David Baille and Brendan McCarthy
This Chopper tale delves deep into Aboriginal Dreamtime, as the rogue nanotech cloud infiltrates Oz imagination. It’s Baillie mixing up Mega-City apocalypse threat with ancient spirits, all designed, one feels, to play to McCarthy’s unique and wonderful artistic style. That he’s delivering a cracking little tale along the way is all to his credit. Of course, McCarthy’s art looks spectacular, it always does, but there’s a fun tale behind it all as well.

(Chopper: Wandering Spirit – David Baille and Brendan McCarthy,
colors by McCarthy & Len O’Grady, letters Ellie De Ville)

Strange Brigade – Part 1 – Gordon Rennie and Tiernen Trevallion
Strange Brigade the video game comes out late August from Rebellion. Which is why Strange Brigade the comic adaptation is here in the Meg. Now, not being a gamer, and having read some bloody awful video game adaptations in the past, there’s always a deep breath involved before diving into anything like this. Thankfully, down to Rennie and Trevallion, what you get here is a furiously pulpy adventure with some great looking artwork and dialogue with its tongue firmly lodged in its cheek.

The Strange Brigade! Fearless foes of the unnatural and the uncanny! Defiant defenders if a world that knows nothing of their existence!
But, oh crikey almighty. What terrifically perilous predicament have they got themselves into now?

Yep, Rennie’s having so much fun with this one. To the point where you’re left wondering if he’s just deliberately going over the top for fun or seriously making fun of the whole thing. But, then again, it’s the teetering on the edge that makes it clever and loads of fun.
It’s the 1930s, and Lady Imelda Webster is in charge of a team of misfits and renegades (aren’t they always?) to battle the weird and strange threats headed to this version of England. So it’s all Egyptian curses, hidden tombs, and all manner of nasty old beasties to battle. Fun, fun, fun stuff. Now, if the video game is this much fun, I might actually be tempted!

(Strange Brigade – Part 1 – Gordon Rennie and Tiernen Trevallion, letters by Annie Parkhouse.)

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