The Monthly Megazine Issue #425: Death Holds A Political Rally

by Richard Bruton

The Monthly Megazine – doing just what it says, taking you through the latest goings-on in the sister monthly to 2000 AD.

Cover by Nick Percival)

I was watching the news when I got this month’s Meg, a Trump rally on the screen – Covid-President unmasked holding forth in front of a tightly packed and mostly unmasked crowd. Judge Death may well be the politician we’re going to get.
Anyway, Percival’s cover is a chiller. And once you go closer and closer, the detail just gets more and more horrifying. Especially when you unfold the whole wraparound and get the full effect.
Inside this month’s Meg we’re on part two of everything from last month, a particularly strong line up of Judge Dredd: The Victims of Bennett Beeny, Megatropolis, Dreadnoughts, The Returners, and the cover featured Deliverance.
The latest Megazine hits shops and digital on Wednesday 21st October. Get it from your local news agent or comic shop (but be smart folks, don’t make the mistake MAGA folks are making – MASK UP) or from the 2000 AD store.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Judge Dredd Megazine #425 awaits…

JUDGE DREDD: THE VICTIMS OF BENNETT BEENY – PART 2 – John Wagner, Dan Cornwell, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse
After Colin MacNeil had to bow out of this one a couple of pages in, Dan Cornwell has stepped in to do an impressive job of things in another tale coming out of the legacy of America Jara.
Total War have taken Bennett Beeny Block, home to the rich and influential, there are bodies everywhere and Dredd leads the charge to free the Block. Or rather, Dredd leads his teams and then lets the Mark 8 Mechanismos clean it up. Again, it’s Wagner playing with the ideas of Dredd coming to terms with the Mechs as useful tools in the fight, fascinating seeing Wagner bring a small change to Dredd’s thinking.

But the main thrust of this one is to have Citi-Def run rampant through the Block, weapons hot and cocking things up – you can’t fail to make the comparison to the armed militia over in the US with their open carry permits and long guns.
Great to see Wagner back on Dredd, full of action, full of those wonderful questioning moments, ably assisted by Cornwell.

MEGATROPOLIS – PART 2 – Kenneth Niemand, Dave Taylor, letters by Jim Campbell
The first episode of this alternate timeline MC-1 adventure set things up quickly, introduced us to a corrupt Justice Department where Joe Rico may just be the only good cop. Now, with his new partner, Amy Jara (yes, another callback to America Jara) he’s investigating the mystery perp who gunned down the corrupt cops and the mobsters and roared off on two wheels… yeah, that’s what I’m thinking as well.

But before that, Bernice Hershey, journalist at the Defender, is making waves amongst the rich and powerful, including rubbing Mayor Booth up the wrong way with questions over Eustace Fargo possibly bankrolling DA McGruder’s possible run for mayor.
As before, this one just looks superb, Taylor’s artwork a gorgeous thing, all dirty art deco and retro-futuristic, full of magnificent details, every panel a thing of absolute beauty. And it’s reading just as it should, a slow-burning pulp noir with one foot in MC-1 and one in Chandler and Elroy. It’s just a damn enjoyable read.

DREADNOUGHTS – BREAKING GROUND – PART 2 – Michael Carroll, John Higgins, colours by Sally Hurst, letters by Simon Bowland
Now, if Megatropolis gives us one way of going back to a different world, Dreadnoughts gives us another, this time rooted deeply in the MC-1 we’ve known for so long. Yet here, we’re back at the very earliest days of the transition from the law and order of our world today to the Justice Department and the Judges as the beginning and end of the judicial system.
It’s 2035 AD and Judge Glover is two days into her job in Boulder, supplementing the four-person team of Judge Venn. She’s the first of the new breed, the first non-cop Judge, and that’s causing trouble from the off.

Carroll’s going deep into establishing things here, with Glover’s experiences telling us all we need to know about the monumental changes afoot, focusing on the personal to give us the overall worldview, meaning Dreadnoughts has all that epic feel, aided and abetted admirably by John Higgins, doing incredible work here.

THE RETURNERS – HEARTSWOOD – PART 2 – Si Spencer, Nicolo Assirelli, colours by Eva De La Cruz, letters by Simon Bowland
Well, we’ve discovered that although The Returners are immortal that doesn’t mean they’re invulnerable, which is why being surrounded by a group of angry-looking Brit-Cit Judges is not a good place for them to be.
Getting out of it, thanks to some conveniently strange heart shapes encouraging them to play follow the leader, which only ends up with them, as you’d expect by now, in more trouble.
Assirelli’s art just looks superb here, all big panels and loose lines.

THE DARK JUDGES – DELIVERANCE – PART 2 – David Hine, Nick Percival, letters by Annie Parkhouse
The Navis Mortis – ‘Ship of Death’ and the flagship of the Mortarian Death Cult has picked up Judge Death from space and is headed to Thanatopia, home to the Cult. The High Priestess, Mother Kalula, the Morbid Messiah, awaits their return – tea and biscuits probably not what awaits them.
Hine’s filling this one with some great characters with some suitably darkly comedic lines

Death remains in the Boing tube for now, but a fiendish plan brings Judge Whisper back, hidden on board the Kimodo. All it takes is a little manipulation and the ship’s course turns to Thanatopia. Oh, those poor, poor bastards from Dominion just can’t get a break, can they?
Loads of fun here as we wait for the inevitable return of Death with Nick Percival going overboard at every opportunity to get as much beautifully disturbing detail into the artwork.

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