JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE #345 | REVIEW

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MINOR SPOILERS

Published monthly by Rebellion

Cover- Phil Winslade: Excellent work from Winslade. The deep blue colours almost set up the mood of what is to follow within the pages. Lovely use of lighting and detail.

Judge Dredd: The Call of K. Cattrall (Part 1) – I wonder if Arthur Wyatt had ‘The Call of the Cthulhu’ in mind when he thought of the title? It certainly seems so, and a nice little homage to Lovecraft’s famous story too. Even the story has a feeling of Lovecraftian horror, with strange symbols and scary fishmen by the dozen, there’s even a shot of a Cthulhu like creature on page 8.

The story concerns Dredd and PSI Judge Zheng investigating a gory crime scene wherein the victim’s head has been decapitated, and a strange symbol on a mirror written with blood. But then of course, things take a turn for the worse. There are a lot of nice touches in the strip, and Paul Davidson’s artwork is superb. Chris Blythe’s colours are almost murky in some panels, giving a sense of fear and foreboding. A thoroughly enjoyable first episode, let’s hope it finishes strong.

DeMarco P.I – The Whisper (Part 3): Claude our friendly mutant who’s immune to death, aids  DeMarco in finding The Compound, a wasteland where ex-MC1 citizens have sought as refuge. It is here that she hopes to find more answers to The Whisper; the mysterious mutant/entity behind a spate of disappearances in Sovsec.

This is one of my favourite strips in the Meg right now, the set up by Mike Carroll is an interesting one with a lot of mystery and intrigue, not to mention the climate of fear and mistrust towards mutants and those of East Meg descent. The story is complemented perfectly by Steve Yeowell’s terrific artwork. I’m also enjoying the characters immensely, Claude being one of them. I hope he takes up the vacancy left by the late Travis Perkins.

Ordinary – We come to the conclusion of Ordinary, and what an enjoyable strip it has been these past few months. In fact, I can comfortably say that it’s the best creator owned work in the Meg since Lilly MacKenzie and Snapshot. And I felt this was a terrific ending to the story.

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Finally, we get to see what Dr. McDonald’s powers are and it’s something I could not have predicted. The revelation is a heartfelt moment and it’s beautifully depicted by D’Israeli. That was the standout for me, and the last panel. Well done to Rob Williams and D’Israeli for an amazing strip, one which I enjoyed reading immensely every step of the way. I’m looking forward to the proposed hardcover collection with great fervour.

Anderson PSI Division – Dead End (Part 3): Well what can I say? The last page had me gobsmacked, watching on,  horrified by the shocking scene which greeted my bewildered eyes. There were several moments leading up to that point that you witnessed Anderson’s inner turmoil, thought to yourself if she would be capable of commiting such an harrowing act, but it does not lessen the impact of that last page whatsoever…

As soon as I started reading Alan Grant’s story back in #343 I knew straight away that this story would be different from the Anderson strips of previous. And Mike Dowling’s magnificent artwork helped to set the tone: a sombre, mediative, almost poetic feel to it thanks to the brilliance of both writer and artist.

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The opening is really well done, as we see a perp from the last episode, languishing on a hospital bed with bullet wounds to both legs. Dredd’s solution to the lack of resources (in getting the perp artificial limbs) is pretty grim, and Anderson’s furrowed brows tells you her thoughts on the whole situation. And later, more horrifying discoveries involving children (although it’s off panel). It really hits home how dangerous the Mega City is, with very little hope for its inhabitants. And one of those is Anderson.

The next episode cannot come soon enough for me.

Features:

Screen Story – RoboCop by Callum Waddell: A really enjoyable piece by Waddell on the original RoboCop movie and its sequels. It’s interesting to see the influence Judge Dredd had on the film, with Ed Neumier citing instances where Old Stoney Face proved influential in its production, esp. the satire side of things. For me, it’s one of the best sci-fi films of the 80’s, and even better than The Terminator! And just as Waddell’s piece mentions it, I too was only a kid when I watched RoboCop on video for the first time, and it changed my whole life! It was also the most worn out video casette at home (due to repeated viewings).

New Comics – The Royals: A look at Rob Williams’ new comic. This sounds really exciting with a great concept too, I might order the first issue soon.

Obituary – Jóse Ortiz: A wonderful tribute by Mike Molcher to the late artist, and while I’m not familiar with his work (having discovered Thrillpower later on in life) it does not stop me from seeking them out.

So a superb Meg overall, I cannot fault it one bit, the strips, the features, hell even the cover – everything was a pleasure to read and behold.

And the floppy – Strontium Dogs: Tales from the Doghouse: I’ve only started to read it but already I’m having a right old laugh, except for Tom ‘Birdy’ Lilley – the ending got me all teary eyed – it’s a tragedy! A great cover too by Carlos Ezquerra, honestly it’s Trade quality stuff.

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