The Monthly Megazine: Preview The Big Judge Dredd Megazine Issue 400

by Richard Bruton

This is the big one, 100 pages to celebrate the 400th issue of the monthly 2000AD title, packed full of new series and perfect for you to jump onboard. It’s a good one, all set off with a gorgeous Chris Weston cover.
Megazine 400 is released in the UK and digitally on the 19th of September. It makes its way over to US shores at some point, although it’s probably best to tell your local comic shop to order it in for you. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

JUDGE DREDD: THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY – John Wagner, Henry Flint, colors Chris Blythe, letters Annie Parkhouse.
Kicking it all off, as seems fitting, we have John Wagner making a return to Judge Dredd, with ‘The Trouble With Harry’.
On art duties, we have the gorgeous work of Henry Flint, who’s also on art over in 2000AD Prog 2100, also out in September, where he’s providing art for ‘The Small House’, written by Rob Williams and promising to be one of those incredibly important, world-changing Dredd tales. So, it seems very fitting to have John Wagner here doing the other sort of Dredd tale, the single issue socially relevant story, both ridiculous and heavy-hitting in its commentary. It follows the privatised British Royal family through the years, ending up with ‘seriously eccentric’Prince Harry II, (speciality mad grins, an ear collection, and vid knighthoods). Quite simply brilliant. But what else did you expect from Wagner and Flint?

LAWLESS: ASHES TO ASHES – PART 1 – Dan Abnett, Phil Winslade, letters Ellie De Ville.
A much-anticipated return to the badlands of Badrock, mining colony for Munnce Inc., on the backwater planet of 43 Rega. When last we left Colonial Marshal Metta LLawsonand the gang, things were looking decidedly grim, with Munce Inc.’s criminal dealings revealed and a kill squad inbound to wipe Badrock from the face of the planet.
Ashes to Ashes finds Lawson and the colony manning the barricades, waiting for the next assault to come, knowing they’re up against it this time.
Oh, it’s a beautiful series, with Phil Winslade’s lush and detailed black and white artwork looking so very good. Dan Abnett’s storylines for Lawless have all been building up to this moment, and, given that Abnett always likes to throw us a curve, no one has any idea quite howw this brilliant series is going to play out – but damn, it’s good to be involved.

BLUNT II – PART 1 – TC Eglington, Boo Cook, letters Simon Bowland.
Another colony tale, but a decidedly different one to Lawless, with the colonists of Getri-1 finding themselves on a planet with a unique flora and fauna, all seemingly intent on wiping the human invaders from the planet. After the events of the first series, where a rescue mission for a downed shuttle craft introduced us to half-uplift Blunt, the rescue party returned to the colony, only to find their friends and family kidnapped.
The thing that marks Blunt out has to be the organic textures of Cook’s artwork, with his artwork full of strange alien landscapes and creatures. But couple that with Eglington’s idea of humanity here as the virus infecting the planet, and there’s a great story in here.

“Devlin? There’s something in your pocket.”
“Oh, I’m just glad to see you again, Martin.”

DEVLIN WAUGH: CALL ME BY THY NAME – Ales Kot, Mike Dowling, colors Quinton Winter, letters Simon Bowland.
So opens the latest tale of the deliciously camp vamp, paranormal troubleshooter, Vatican exorcist, supernatural investigator, Devlin Waugh. Ales Kot joins the Meg for his first UK series and just seems to get the character right from the off. It’s all Balenciaga raincoats with added pocket dildos and it’s enormous fun.
Existential debate with a demon and a spot of ultra-violence. Oh, it’s off to a wonderful thing – sadly, just a one-off, but it would be damn good to see Kot do more for 2000AD or The Meg, and more Devlin would be fabulous.

STORM WARNING: OVER MY DEAD BODY – PART 1 – Leah Moore, John Reppion, Jimmy Broxton,
Brit-Cit’s most pissed off Psi-Judge, Lillian Storm, returns for her second series. Well, you’d be pissed off all the time if you could talk to the dead as well.
Although, the opening of this second Storm Warning does see a slightly more chilled Storm, playing a game of Guess Who with the dead. No, genuinely a literal game of guess who, with the spirits of the dead. Great opening image.
And then, of course, some dead guy comes along to spoil things. Or maybe not dead. Something to do with an extended stay on a life-support machine. Anyway, dead or not, he’s standing there, in front of Storm, asking her to help him.

THE DARK JUDGES: THE TORTURE GARDEN – PART 1 – David Hine, Nick Percival, letters Annie Parkhouse.
The Dark Judges are back, and Death, Fire, and Mortis are busy making their presence felt, in their own unique way, on the now dead world of Dominion.
There’s an army of zombies out where the colonists were, and just one cop left, as far as we know, with a mission to stop the Dark Judges getting back to Earth. So, alone, in deep trouble, Officer Rosco gets a message back from Hershey – the cavalry’s on the way. Trouble is, they’re going to take six months to reach the colony. Destroying the only ship left on Dominion, she’s on her own, with the Dark Judges looking for her and waiting for the rescue mission.
So far, so good, with David Hine doing all the set up and Nick Percival delivering just the sort of art that works so well for the Dark Judges.

ANDERSON, PSI-DIVISION: JORDAN RAMZY’S KITCHEN NIGHTMARE – Alan Grant, Inaki Miranda, colors Eva Del La Cruz, letters Ellie De Ville.
The art on this latest Anderson does look quite amazing, Miranda blowing it away with the very first page and every page after that, with spectacular character design all the way through this one-off strip. But, it also shows the big problem with Anderson, and it’s not just Miranda’s problem – that first page has Anderson pondering her 40 years as a Psi-Judge, yet looking, for all the world, as fresh faced as a 20-year old. It’s an annoyance that I keep coming back to – if Dredd can age properly and look all his years, why the hell can’t Anderson?
But, aside from that moan, it’s a perfect done in one Anderson tale, and fitting to have this 400th issue of the Meg bookended with two of the comic’s greatest writers, Wagner and Grant, on their signature characters.

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