The Monthly Megazine #439: Drokking Through The Snow… ‘Tis The Season For The Christmas Meg

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!

Lee Carter’s Dredd looking grumpy – well, knee-deep in snow and blood will do that too you

The last Megazine of the year includes a stand-alone suitably Christmas-ish-themed Judge Dredd, plus the beginnings of four new strips – Death Cap, Diamond Dogs Book 3, Lawless, and Surfer.

So that’s a brand-new Cursed Earth revenge thriller from the team behind Blunt, the third and final arc of Diamond Dogs where young Nia comes under the wing of Armitage, an all-new era for Metta Lawson in Ballots over Badrock, and the first non-Dredd Mega-City One tale from John Wagner and Colin MacNeil in a while.

Now THAT is a Christmas line-up for sure!

Judge Dredd Megazine #439 hits shops and digital on 17th December.

Right then. Strap on the snow shoes, stick the Christmas tunes on… we’re off to celebrate Christmas the best way…

JUDGE DREDD: SAVIOUR – Ken Niemand, Steven Austin, colours by Matt Soffe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

It’s a week before Christmas and there’s a special delivery for Dredd. Seems one of the primitive worlds way out there have been trying to get some help from the big man – it seems that the planet’s picked up a nasty little infestation of a mega-corp exploiting the planet’s resources.

But now that Dredd’s turned up with the cavalry, all will be well – right? Well, yes and no. See, on the nice side, Dredd does show up and free the natives, expelling the bad old Corporation – and all on Christmas Day as well.

But then, on the naughty side… well, let’s just say Dredd’s not one to succumb to the spirit of the season and knows a good thing when he sees one.

Great artwork from Austin and a perfectly nasty Dredd coming out from Niemand – yep, tis not the season.

DEATH CAP – PART 1 – TC Eglington, Boo Cook, letters by Simon Bowland

An ex-Texas City Judge making her way in the Cursed Earth, years after taking the walk, disgraced, Goya is happily settled down here, husband and kids, the whole thing.

But the world in the Cursed Earth is a crappy place and there’s no telling who’s going to show up shooting.

Worse still, Goya’s off on her annual pilgrimage to pay her respects to who she was and why she’s here, memories of a past life. Which is why her world gets ripped out from under her, her family massacred, her world turned upside down by the outlaws responsible.

This is exactly how damn good an opening chapter in a storyline should be. And Cook’s artwork just gets better and better. He’s just done such a damn fine job of making this look and feel just like the Western tale of revenge it’s going to be, but manages to also get you right inside the heads of all concerned, nailing Goya’s despair, the terror of the townsfolk, the evil of the raiders… gorgeous stuff.

But if you’re after perhaps one perfect moment from Death Cap, from Eglington and Cook, it’s this… as Goya’s mutie horse comes to save her, to carry her back, to get her to where she needs to be – an old grave and the beginning of her revenge.

This is a perfect opener to what always looked like it was going to be something rather good – the team behind Blunt doing a Cursed Earth western with a fungal horror twist. And from the first episode, this one’s really got potential. It’s got everything you need to open a series well – the characters are set out, you instantly get the sense of loss from Goya, you see what she’s struggled to build out here in the Cursed Earth, and then you see the loss, all thanks to the mutated hordes… and yes, that’s where the title comes from – it’s all about the fungus here…

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

After running with the Diamond Dogs and acting as a Brit-Cit informant for her corrupt handler, young Nia Jones is now working with Detective-Judge Armitage.

Well, here in the opener, there’s a heist being pulled on a deal going down between a London gang and the Silver Apples crime syndicate. And, as Jennifer 9, second-in-command of the Silver Apples comments… it’s done in fine style.

Back to Brit-Cit and the unfortunate life of Nia. She might have freed herself from her old handler, but now Armitage is running her – and you just get the impression that things aren’t ever going to go well for her.

Another excellent opener from both Peaty and Pleece, the final series of Diamond Dogs looks like its going out well – although given it’s the final series… not too sure of Nia’s chances of making it out alive this time.

LAWLESS: BALLOTS OVER BADROCK – PART 1 – Dan Abnett, Phil Winslade, letters by Jim Campbell

Colonial Marshal Metta Lawson’s had her fair share of adventures out in the frontier township of Badrock, but few of them have been as insane as this one… Having saved the township, seeing the SJS arrive in town and take over, making enemies of the vast Munce Inc. mega-corporation, she’s now quit her post and is running for Mayor.

Yes, there’s a shock in seeing the law carrying on with Pettifer and the SJS running the show, whilst Lawson is reduced to glad-handing the electorate on the campaign trail… but that’s just what Abnett’s after here.

After all, Lawless has always been just as much about the evolution of the township as it has been about Lawson’s own personal evolution. And this is the next stage of it for both of them.

So, whilst the tagline of ‘Vote Metta for a Betta Badrock,’ sounds great, she’s got some way to go to catch up with the many other contenders for the Mayoral race – a lot of them being more versed in… well, let’s say the more refined art of electioneering isn’t perhaps Lawson’s forte.

Or, as she puts it…

It looks like it’s all coming to a head with Colleen Hagenhaur as Lawson’s main opposition, with Getz’s big business funding behind her… as we as Aldis Brotherly. But Brotherly’s got his hands in many pies, including something dodgy going on with the SJS. And then there’s the strange beastie down in the research labs and whoever’s funding the mine foreman, Lionel Waylons’ campaign.

Yep, all most intriguing, all most gorgeous, all most wonderful – so, just business as usual for Mssers Abnett, Winslade and Citizen Metta Lawson.

SURFER: PART ONE – PART 1 – John Wagner, Colin MacNeil, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Okay then, who wished for John Wagner and Colin MacNeil to return to the world of Skysurfing and non-Dredd tales in MC-1 last Christmas? If you did, you might have had to have waited a while, but good things (and make no mistake, this is a very good thing,) come to those who wait.

Anyhow, we have ourselves a somewhat disgruntled Surfer in the big Meg. Zane Parks, 16, his dad’s hitting the bottle too hard, seems he was an old mate of Chopper’s back in the day, taking part in Supersurf 7, and his Mom was a champ surfer too, three titles, including the Asian open, before she got herself killed. But no matter, today is all about the lad’s job interview for a surfing role in a new Chopper movie.

Damn, it’s so good seeing McNeil and Wagner just relax into this one so well. There’s a couple of pages in here where we just get to experience being in the air with Zane for just the smallest time, yet between them, MacNeil and Wagner make it as though you can really feel the air rushing past, see the obstacles coming at you – perfect stuff.

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