The Monthly Megazine #450: A Storm Is Coming To Brit-Cit.
by Richard Bruton
Welcome once more to The Monthly Megazine – doing just what it says, taking you through the latest goings-on in the sister monthly to 2000 AD.
As you’d expect, more of the same five strips that began last Megazine here – although we do have the second and final part of Ian Edginton and D’Israeli‘s Judge Dredd: Babel. So that’s more explorations of Brit Cit in Storm Warning and Devlin Waugh, the world of Mega-City One in Surfer, and more Dark Judges in ‘Death Metal Planet’.
Next issue, as well as being the annual Christmas blowout, we have a format change. Instead of the Megazine being bagged with a graphic novel-length floppy each month, we’ll be getting a 128-page squarebound magazine that incorporates the reprint material. But as it’s the Christmas Meg next month, there’s a bumper Christmas treat in store, with an extra 16 pages that include the start of the new Mega-City 2099 by Kenneth Niemand and Conor Boyle.
But that’s next month. First, we have five excellent strips to enjoy previewing for you in the pages of Judge Dredd Megazine #450, out on Wednesday 16th November.
JUDGE DREDD: BABEL – PART 2 – FINAL PART – by Ian Edginton and D’Israeli, letters by Annie Parkhouse
The second and final part of the Dredd and the aliens xeno-sabotage/xenophobia storyline that really could have done with being longer to explore the complexities of what Edginton is throwing around here with the off-world investment that MC-1 needs to bring in the much-needed creds, but also brings with it the inevitable bigotry – if it’s not mutie-hated, it’s alien-hatred…
But hopefully there’s enough left uncovered here, enough potential points of continuation that both Edginton and D’Israeli will have chance to return to it in the near future.
But the short run does mean there’s a sense that it was all build-up and tease last episode and all rush to finish this episode, meaning that the story never quite lives up to what it could have been. Enjoyable certainly, but enjoyable in a very predictable way with Dredd and his alien law-pal getting out of the predicament they found themselves in at the end of part 1 before discovering a conspiracy, dealing with the xeno-terrorists, stopping the conspiracy, and shaking hands on the idea that the Law trumps business every time.
STORM WARNING: DEAD & GONE – PART 2 – by John Reppion and Clint Langley, letters by Jim Campbell
Okay then, last episode saw us see a bit of a shocker down in the mausoleum when we were in their for the funeral of Brit-Cit Psi-Div, Judge Campbell, the coffin of Judge Lillian Storm.
That’s in the now, we’re off for a quick trip into the past two weeks, to discover just what happened to leave Judge Storm in a coffin surrounded by her lovely constant companions, the ghosts of dead children.
And the when of two weeks ago is on a night of a full moon. And like the ghost kids say, ‘Full moon’s bad though, isn’t it, Lilly? Makes people act weird.’
Well yes… case in point…
Clint Langley gives this a completely different vibe to the previous series, where it’s been either Tom Foster and Jimmy Broxton on art, but damn, he couldn’t have come on for a storyline that suits his stylings down to a tee – all werewolves marauding through the streets and Lillian Storm investigating (it seems like) the death of Chief Psi-Judge Campbell – and if that means taking a trip down below to the bad place, well so be it.
And it sure does look rather like she’s taking a trip below…
Oh, it’s rather taken a turn almost immediately, with Storm’s trip downstairs just perfect for the artwork we’re getting from Langley and the storyline all seemingly concerned with Campbell’s death – it’s jumping forward and back in time, there’s the intrigue being planted of Campbell’s death, that sole mention of the new Chief Psi, Pelham, Storm’s death that’s enabled her to keep investigating on/in other realms… oh yes, lots of good stuff going on right here in Storm Warning.
DEVLIN WAUGH: KARMA POLICE – PART 2 – by Ales Kot and Rob Richardson, letters by Simon Bowland
Last episode had Devlin being told a tale of his ancestry and the curse on his bloodline by Franz Kafka – in full-on Metamorphosis bug form.
We went back to Ohio 1848 to see a very Devlin-looking figure headed out West. And now, second episode, we have yet Devlin from now back in Devlin ancestor from then’s body. We have a cave and a death. And we have a cruise ship and a scared Devlin, headed to who knows quite what. Or when.
I said last time that Ales Kot writing Devlin Waugh always delves into the strange, but here we’re really rather diving into it.
It’s fascinating piecing it all together here and I’m warming more to Richardson’s artwork after the lush work of Mike Dowling for Kot’s previous Devlins. It’s not up there with what Dowling brought to the book, but it’s looking pretty good nonetheless.
DARK JUDGES: DEATH METAL PLANET – PART 2 – by David Hine and Nick Percival
As you’ll remember it’s 25 years on from where we were in Dark Judges: Deliverance. Young Rosco’s not so young any more, although still on the planet where the Dark Judges are being held in place by Um and Whisper and the planet.
But of course, held in place or not, the insidious influence of the Dark Judges always gets out, always takes hold. And here it’s with Akan, one of the children of the planet who’ve grown up with the Judges there, who took the SS Kimodo off to Earth.
That was a year ago now and the Justice Department have sent another set of Judges to Thanatopia, including Rosco’s grown-up niece Hellga. Trouble is, Akan’s coming back as well, complete with the Lizard Lords – a Death Metal Band. Yes, a Death Metal Band – and they’re planning to stage Deathfest with a hundred private ships on their way from Earth.
Hmmm, Deathfest. Take a wild guess who’s going to be the guest of honour at that one?
Yep, got it in one.
It’s a rather glorious combination of dark and silly this time, with Hine rather jamming tongue in cheek when it comes to characterisation of The Lizard Lords, pushing along the story, adding in some future MC-1 backstory of Judge Helga, and Percival just going with it artistically, both her on the Death Metal Planet and back in MC-1.
SURFER: BOOK TWO – PART 2 – by John Wagner and Colin MacNeil, colours by Chris Blythe, letters by Simon Bowland
Poor Zane Perks, first he gets involved in a scam movie to recreate Supersurf 7, now he’s realising just how much trouble his dad’s in with Mr Snarky, the gentleman he owes a lot of money to.
Oh, and the SJS are surveilling him because of how easily he got sprung from Cubes on appeal.
This episode, Wagner winds it all up beautifully, moving things from here to there with such effortless style. We get to see Zane foolishly try to bargain with Snarky, and Snarky perfectly put the SJS off his trail. And then, well then things get real serious for Zane and his dad…
Yep, you can’t help but feel this is one where Zane’s living a doomed life, one of Wagner’s beautifully written everymen of Mega-City One who rarely seem to get out of things intact.
And then there’s Colin MacNeill’s artwork, just superb, absolutely superb. The layouts, the flow of his pages, it’s all a masterclass in how to do it right.