JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE #338 REVIEW

JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE #338 REVIEW

A really enjoyable Meg this month! A great Dredd cover by Cliff Robinson, simply brilliant.

We have Judge Dredd: Downside, to kick off proceedings. The artwork by Boo Cook is fabulous, as is the fun script by T.C Eglington. I’m seeing more of Eglington’s work in the past few months and I must say I’m becoming quite a fan now. This story was very fun with a little twist in its tail. Great opening page by Boo Cook which reminded me of that famous falling scene from The Incal. So much detail in Boo’s style, coupled with his distinctive style and colour palette which makes his work very appealing. I know it did to my son when he saw me reading the story, ” wow..that looks awesome dad” he cried! And he isn’t wrong.

Following the opening strip we have an Interrogation, with none other than T.C Eglinton himself, or Tom Eglinton as he is known too. It was an interesting piece with great insight into Eglinton’s influence and first work on 2000ad; Black Kisses. I remember really enjoying the story, in fact I might dig out the copy to give it a re-read. We also have mention of Eglinton’s more recent work especially the awesome Tharg’s 3riller, Gunheadz, with the great Boo Cook (they make a great team if I am honest!).

Next we have another Interrogation, this time with Lee Garbett. I really enjoyed his recent cover work for Prog 1839 (Ten-Seconders). So a nice read again. We soon end the Interrogations with a stonkingly good strip ‘ Tales from the Cursed Earth – Gamma Tan’, by, wait for it, Eglinton & Cook! Wahey! Another fun strip, this time in b&w but still awesome thanks to Cook’s outstanding work. There were some memorable moments in the story, not to mention a little stomach churning too! That bloke with those ‘udders’ on his neck, feeding his buddies the ‘special juice’ was very weird and….well disturbing I must say! But it was great fun overall.

Next up was Theets of Dan Francisco Part Four. This was a really enjoyable episode as Dan has to come to terms with the actions of his self and seniors (yes, you Dredd!) during the Chaos Wars and the impact which is still felt in the city, especially among the poor and deprived. And the ‘Sharks’ which try to feed off the fears and anger of the victims of war, and turn it to their advantage. And Dan, no doubt burdened with some of the guilt goes looking for the Dune Sharks. The artwork by Paul Marshall is again top notch, with a great script by Arthur Wyatt. This was a strip which I wasn’t too taken by at the start, but it has grown on me and has been nothing less than enjoyable.

Bob Byrne’s Twisted Tales follows next, and a fun one it is too! Very dark and with more than its fill of the macabre – and I bloody loved it! The story (which is wordless of course) is set in a spaghetti western-ish town undersea inhabited by some weird looking fish folk, well actually more human in make with legs and clothing. A hideous looking money/tax collector (imagine a cat fish with arms and legs – atop a crab) goes round knocking on doors and depriving the towns folk of their precious money. Until one of its inhabitants cooks up a plan to rid them of the cat-fish-man, but he pays a heavy price indeed. John Byrne’s artwork is magnificent, the colour palette is very dark in places and full of character. It reminded me of Charles Dicken’s tales such as A Christmas Carol. It finishes with a genuinely twisted ending befitting of the title. Fun stuff from John Byrne, the last couple of his Twisted Tales have been superb.

We have a Fan Fiction next which I’ve yet to read but will do so very soon. And lastly we have Insurrection Part Five. Great artwork as usual from the great Colin MacNeil, as for the story, things are getting very interesting as a recovering Gallows goes deeper into the seperatist group led by Karel Luther, with the SJS hot on their trails. An enjoyable episode with hints of fireworks to follow via that chilling closing line. Great stuff.

To round it off we have Dreddlines, with three letters on show. I agree with the editor in reply to the last one, the Interrogations/features in the Meg are very insightful a lot of the time and in no way ‘fillers’. It’s part and parcel of what the Megazine is about, and truthfully one of the reasons why I buy it.

And lastly, the floppy – ‘Night Zero’ which I must say was bloomin’ enjoyable as hell! My son was watching his cartoon show on TV and I just slumped back on the sofa with the floppy in hand and read it all in one sitting. Kev Hopgood’s b&w artwork and the late John Brosnan’s pulp-noir storytelling was excellent, with so many nods to other works of sci-fi (whether knowingly or unknowingly). I myself saw a bit of Escape from New York with a smidgeon of Blade Runner and The Terminator thrown in. Not to mention the perpetual night-time setting which recalled ‘Dark City’, although it was released much later after this story. There were some standout moments in the story too, such as when Tanner and the 2nd clone (or was it the 3rd?) of Allana enter the sewers or Hades to meet Nemo in his underground lair, reminded me of the recent Stickleback when we meet the Rat Queen in the bowels of London.

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Another of my favourite panels was the “top of the world ma” one (above), where we have a pan back from Tanner’s face in the Dome Control Room. That was great work from Kev, not to mention a very interesting protagonist in Tanner himself, or should that be ‘The Tanner-minator’ (sorry I couldn’t resist!). So an enjoyable floppy, not a masterpiece, but fun nonetheless.

Overall, a superb Meg this month. More of the same please next issue, and please hurry it up with ‘Ordinary’!

5/5

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