The latest monthly issue of the Judge Dredd: Megazine came out in the UK and digitally a while back, but it doesn’t hit US shores in print until sometime this month. Getting hold of it in the US can be a bit of a pain, you’ll most likely need to ask at your local comic shop – but it’s definitely worth it, a regular dose of longer strips than you get in the weekly 2000AD. So, here’s what there is to look forward to in issue 399, all behind a cover by Adam Brown – it’s a clearing of the decks issue before next month’s massive Megazine 400, with all the strips finishing up before a complete new set of the best in sci-fi action next issue.
Judge Dredd: Brain Drain – Rory McConville and Staz Johnson
A quick, done in one Dredd tale from McConville and Johnson, with smart drugs on the agenda in MC-1. But, of course, the smart drugs in Dredd are always going to be different – every pill customised to deliver just the knowledge you need. 22nd Century Robo-Romantic music, Re-Evolutionary psychology, Munce marketing and entrepreneurship – there’s a pill for all that!
The single issue Dredds have always been a feature of Dredd, they’re something that allows the writers to explore more of the world of Dredd, something that you simply don’t get with other long-running series. They’re one of the reasons you can dive into Dredd at any point and simply enjoy it for what it is. Brain Drain keeps that long tradition going so well, with McConville proving that he’s got a real handle on the world of Dredd and Johnson’s art really looking great.
The Returners: Irmazhina – Si Spencer and Nicolo Assirelli
The final episode of this clever little chamber piece down in Ciudad Barranquilla, the Banana Republic South American Mega-City. We’ve followed the dysfunctional group into a mysterious pyramid and, after the twist of the last episode, it’s time to wrap things up, albeit in a way that leaves the door open to a second series in the future.
In truth, after all the build up, with Spencer ramping up the tension, the events of the finale are all a bit over and done with too soon. But, it’s often the way of these things, where a great buildup can never truly deliver a great finale. It’s been an excellent series, and Assirelli’s beautiful artwork has been a major part of that along the way. Here, there’s a double page spread that’s just amazing. Hopefully, if and when The Returners does return, we’ll be treated to more of Assirelli’s artwork as well.
Devlin Waugh: Kiss Of Death – Rory McConville and Mike Dowling
And it’s all over before it truly began. Which is a damn shame, as I could read McConville and Dowling’s take on Devlin Waugh issue after issue. McConville’s nailed the character just right, and Dowling’s artwork just has a beautiful quality in his line work, something of the Frank Quitely about it.
Take this final episode of the 3-parter, Dowling opening with a slow reveal of the sky before delivering a full page exploding into action. Simply gorgeous.
Next issue we have more Dowling on Devlin, but Megazine 400 welcomes Ales Kot to the character, and it sounds like it’s going to be simply divine!
Chopper: Wandering Soul – David Baillie and Brendan McCarthy
The finale to Chopper’s return, and, like The Returners, it’s one that was never truly going to be an epic end. And in truth, the whole point of this Chopper series hasn’t been so much about Baillie crafting an epic tale as it has been about the mood and tone of the piece – that he nailed so well, with Chopper’s dreamtime adventures being a deep dive into psychedelic beauty. And there’s no one better for this sort of psychedelic drift as Brenden Mccarthy, with every single page just looking gorgeous.
Strange Brigade – Gordon Rennie and Tiernen Trevallion
Video game adaptations are weird things, and, frankly, they’re generally a bit crap. But, given that Gordon Rennie is the lead writer on the Strange Brigade game, and he’s definitely thrusting tongue as hard as possible into cheek with this two-part intro to the game, this is as damn good as you can get when it comes to a video game adaptation. Add in Trevallion’s gorgeous looking artwork and you’ve got a ridiculously fun and funny little adventure.
Now, as for next issue – it’s a biggie – you don’t turn 400 every month you know!
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