The Monthly Megazine Issue #431: Alt-History Never Looked So Good – Megatropolis’ Magnificent Finale

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 Dave Taylor

The latest Megazine hits shops and digital on Wednesday 14th April. Inside, you’ll find a new Judge Dredd multi-parter, ‘Don’t Drokk With Bob’, more from the Dark Judges in ‘Deliverance’, and more campy vampy fun with Devlin Waugh.  As for hellos and goodbyes, there’s the return of Diamond Dogs and its farewell (hopefully not for too long) to the brilliant alt-history tale of Megatropolis.

JUDGE DREDD: DON’T DROKK WITH BOB – PART 1 – Ken Niemand, Ian Richardson, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Two Judges patrolling the crappy parts of MC-1 roust a group of the city’s homeless… and soon learn one thing… you simply don’t drokk with Bob…

Bob’s an old Cit-Def fighter from the Apocalypse War, a Fargo Valour Medal winner, screwed up and spit out of the system, pumped full of enhancements and turned into something bigger, nastier, and something Dredd’s soon tracking down.

It’s a Dredd where we’re all rooting for the poor bastard ground down by system – even Dredd, but we know just how this one’s going to end. Poor old Bob. Poor dumb Bob.

But there’s another strand of story going off here, as it turns out Bob’s already got some powerful enemies in MC-1 who are very interested in a spot of revenge.

Ian Richardson delivering great looking art, with the touch of the Alan Davis I’ve mentioned before, but here there’s something of the Ezquerra here and there… just look at that chin…

And Niemand, well, Niemand is rather dominating Dredd right now, both here in the Meg and over in 2000 AD. And he’s doing it rather bloody brilliantly. His Dredd’s have that feel of being able to go anywhere, from straight action through this sort of Dredd as the unfortunate bad guy having to bring in the screwed up cit, all the way through to the sort of Wagner-ish near comedy Dredds of old. And it’s all rather good indeed.

MEGATROPOLIS – PART 8 -FINAL PART – Kenneth Niemand, Dave Taylor, letters by Jim Campbell

Well, it all comes to an end here, another great Megazine strip, alongside Dreadnoughts as highlights of 2020/2021.

This alt-history view of MC-1 has played everything so well, dropping us into this gorgeous, art-deco, retro-infused version of everything we know and switching things round to result in a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable noir detective tale – if James Elroy wrote sci-fi, this might be something akin to the result – although there’s not a chance Elroy could make it look as stunning as Dave Taylor manages here.

In this final part, that Judge Dredd android bursts into Mayor Booth’s party, guns blazing, taking down the corrupt and criminals assembled, with Rico and Jara in the way.

And what about Madame Cassandra’s words… about a coming darkness… and a war between the city’s two founders? Well, that’s going to have to wait for Megatropolis Book Two.

I, for one, cannot wait to welcome it back to these pages.

DEVLIN WAUGH: THE LORD OF LIES – Ales Kot, Mike Dowling, letters by Simon Bowland

After the dinner party last issue where Devlin started asking questions about Titty, Devlin’s demonic dildo friend of sorts, Titty’s now got a new body – and Devlin’s even less trusting.

So, join us in a tale of perfumes, ambergris, therapy sessions, demonic possession, and revisiting old haunts, all with the promise of setting things up for a major new arc starting next issue.

Mike Dowling is quite perfect for Waugh, there’s a refined menace about him, the idea that whenever he walks into a room he could be there to engage flirtation or to dismember, and Dowling gets it all in his characterisation.

Ales Kot does seem to be enjoying himself on these tales, playing with the cast, embracing the flamboyance, and delighting in the wordplay…

‘”..also a dash of Ambergris…”
“Isn’t that whale bile?”
“And incredibly expensive. But I know a lad who knows a whale… it’s a secrete, you could say.”

It’s a secrete… yep, worth the cost of admission just for that one.

DIAMOND DOGS – BOOK 2 – PART 1 – James Peaty, Warren Pleece, letters by Simon Bowland

Back to the old parts of Brit-Cit, where the gangs run the streets. Nia Jones used to run with the Diamond Dogs gang, whilst also acting as a Brit-Cit Justice Department informer.

Now, the Dogs have disbanded and Nia’s life’s imploded… but her handler’s got another job for her… a key underboss in the Euro-Cit Crime Union.

The first series of Diamond Dogs was damned enjoyable and there’s no reason to believe this second one won’t do exactly the same.

And it’s great to see Warren Pleece’s artwork back in the Meg, always looked that little bit different, always looked so good.

THE DARK JUDGES – DELIVERANCE – PART 8 – David Hine, Nick Percival, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Hine and Percival’s Dark Judges work so well because they manage to keep the storyline going, even though you know that there’s very little hope of anything other than the deadly quartet coming out victorious and surrounded by the bodies of the dead.

Well, that and the magnificent ridiculousness of getting gags like this into the strip…

And of course, you get the artwork of Nick Percival… where you get this sort of thing – although if ever there was a half-page that deserved a double-page spread, it was this one!

Anyway, as for what’s going on… just your everyday Dark Judges stuff really – end of the world and all that.

The Dark Judges are back to full strength, Judge Whisper has defected to the other side, and the Deliverance has begun… the blood’s flowing, and that’s before the kids have mounted what seems an impossible attack.

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