The Monthly Megazine #430: The Return Of The Dark Judgesss – Scream Now.

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, 30+ years and still going strong!

Cover by Nick Percival

The latest Megazine hits shops and digital on 17th March with another done-in-one Judge Dredd, the end of the latest Returners, and more from Megatropolis and Dark Judges: Deliverance, and a brand new Devlin Waugh to camp it all up.

First up though, as The Returners: Heartswood ends, it’s a sad moment as its writer, Si Spencer, sadly passed away in February. His long career in comics (Harke & Burr, The Creep, HAVN, Life During Wartime, The Vinyl Underground, Bodies, Hellblazer and so much more) ran alongside another very successful career as a TV script-editor on the likes of Eastenders, The Bill, and Grange Hill.

More than 30 years a writer, Spencer died way too young, just 59. The final Returners arc, Amazonia, will run from Megazine #432. You can contribute to a memorial Go Fund Me for Si Spencer here.

JUDGE DREDD: ONE FOR THE AGES – Rory McConville, Karl Richardson, letters by Annie Parkhouse

The done-in-one Dredd goodness continues, with the return of Rory McConville, who’s always been a bit of an expert at these.

Here it’s a drop into the world of the ridiculous competition culture of Dredd and MC-1, all started way back when we first got that look at the world of competitive eating. Here though, it’s all about competitive ageing when things take a nasty turn with someone bumping off the eldsters…

All of it’s to do with getting the record for oldest living citizen… even if it’s only by a couple of seconds. And then, by the end of it all, we’re straight into another record holder in a Future Shock sort of twist.

Plenty of time for gags… thankfully none of them falling flat as this one did for Dredd…

Like I say, McConville’s one of the current crop of Dredd-scribes who does these one and done things so well, giving us a very enjoyable piece of Dreddworld nonsense with tongue buried in cheek. And as it’s all accompanied by Karl Richardson’s fine, fine artwork, with a very solid, very grounded look that does the sci-fi so well.

MEGATROPOLIS – PART 7 – Kenneth Niemand, Dave Taylor, letters by Jim Campbell

I still say it was a shame in a way that Megatropolis debuted with Dreadnoughts alongside it. If not, it would have been the story I enjoyed most through the end of 2020 and the first few months of 2021.

But anyway, we’re deep in the alt-history version of MC1 now, and it’s finally time to get a look at the Anderson of this world possibly laying the groundwork for the future of the series…

No, not what I expected for Cass either, but that’s the real fun of Megatropolis, seeing just how differently familiar it can all be.

Oh, and do I even have to tell you that Dave Taylor’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous? No, didn’t think so.

DEVLIN WAUGH: A QUESTION OF TRUST – PART 1 – Ales Kot, Mike Dowling, letters by Simon Bowland

Devlin’s at another dinner party – these rarely seem to go well.

Although hell, it’s still good to see everyone whooping it up round the table, especially Titty, Devlin’s demonic dildo friend of sorts – the moment you see a dildo possessed by a demon sip and then critique its wine – perfect.

And having it all start so sedately does give us a chance to see just how well Mike Dowling can do this sort of quiet, conversational moments. Watching the camera angles work around the room, seeing the changes in shadow, picking up the different expressions on the faces around the table – well, just shows how good Dowling is.

It also give Kot the chance to address the gender of Titty and introduce proper pronouns and have a little chat about hell…

Not to mention just what happens when Titty has to go to the little demon’s room.

So, basically everything you’d expect from a Kot/Dowling Devlin Waugh production. All finishing with an idea of a little intrigue and a certain someone not being who they say they are, but more on that particular dark path next time.

THE RETURNERS – HEARTSWOOD – PART 7 – FINAL PART – Si Spencer, Nicolo Assirelli, colours by Eva De La Cruz, letters by Simon Bowland

The entirity of The Returners second series finale is completely overshadowed by the news of Si Spencer’s all too young death in February.

We see the end here, with the Returners returning lost souls to their loves and all ending with a beautiful moment setting up the next, and final, Returners series, Amazonia. That will be coming your way in Megazine 432.

As I’ve said before, it’s a beautiful looking thing that I’m increasingly thinking would work so well in a collection of all three series. That way, the openess and beauty of Assirelli’s art could be enjoyed and I’d feel less bothered about the lack of real depth across these few pages every month here in the Meg.

THE DARK JUDGES – DELIVERANCE – PART 7 – David Hine, Nick Percival, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Another particularly enjoyable series in the Meg right now, Deliverance is full of everything that’s been missing from the Dark Judges’ exploits over the last decade or so. They became comedy elements of any storyline, losing all the threat and horror they should rightly have.

Thankfully, Hine’s writing on his Dark Judges series has been instrumental in bringing back the chills and the horrors of these psychotic life-ending nightmares. Although he’s also managed to perfectly integrate the comedy as well, giving us the very best of both worlds.

And of course, the whole thing would be nowhere near as terrifying or grotesquely beautiful were it not for Nick Percival’s art – the perfect artist for this job, capturing every nasty bit of the Dark Judges.

And here we get an all-new look for the Dark Judges, with Percival introducing his alien designs for the quartet. It’s suitably nasty.

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