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JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE, 388

by ModernPanther on September 26, 2017


Writers: TC Eglington; Alan Grant; Rory McConville; Arthur Wyatt; Alex De Campi; John Wagnes
Artists: Nick Dyer; Paul Marshall; Mike Dowling; Paul Davidson; Nick Percival
Colourists: Eva De La Cruz; Dylan Teague; Len O'Grady
Letterers: Anne Parkhouse; Simon Bowland; Elle De Ville
Publisher:  Rebellion


Brutally enforcing the law destroys the lives of innocents in Judge Dredd: Collateral Damage. When Jeremy Attrix’s wife is killed by a criminal in a shootout, his anger leads him to a support group for those whose lives have been damaged by Dredd’s actions. But are these people who they appear to be, and can they be trusted? Collateral Damage focuses on grieving citizens, reducing Dredd to a background character who is quietly sympathetic but increasingly frustrated by the inept group’s insistence on protesting whilst he’s trying to get the job done. The story is a little slow in getting where it’s going and the art by Nick Dyer is a little sparse, but like recent stories in sister publication 2000AD, Collateral Damage shows how Dredd isn’t just a soulless machine and that he actually cares about the people he was born to protect.

 

A hidden villain is pulling the strings and causing chaos in Judge Anderson: NWO, whilst the PSI Judge tries to connect with his son to bring him down. NWO shows many of the quirks and eccentricity of the city, but feels a little empty as Anderson repeatedly seems to slip up.

 

Returning to the Megazine for the first time in ten years, the worlds foremost occult investigator makes a dashing entrance in Devlin Waugh: Blood Debt. The dapper, charming and dangerous to know Devlin makes a bold entrance which mirrors his original appearance in Swimming in Blood twenty five years ago, when the defiantly camp, muscle-bound exorcist announced he was “here to steal the show”. Originally written by John Smith, this new adventure is in the very capable hands of Rory McConville with art by Mike Dowling.

Many of the original stories made mention of parts of Devlin’s private life which were never seen, but here we are immediately introduced to close family and Devlin’s employers at the Vatican. A mysterious debt is passed to Devlin following the disappearance of his brother, Freddy. It’s a bold introduction, which will introduce Waugh’s mixture of gentlemanly wit and brutal violence to a whole new audience.  Blood Debt lifts the whole issue.

 

Lacking a big screen sequel to the fan pleasing Dredd (2012), Rebellion have been producing short comics for the last five years, using the movie version of the character.  Dredd: Furies is the latest and follows the Techie, played by Domhnall Gleeson, who was previously Mama’s unwilling IT support. Having escaped the madness of Peach Trees, the character is here forced into a plan to kidnap the child of a wealth businessman. Unsurprisingly, the law enforcing machine of the title is out to stop them. Furies comes to an end this issue and is a little light, but with a rounded, movie-like ending.

 

The Dark Judges weren’t having a great time on Earth, what with Judge Dredd and Anderson repeatedly foiling their plans to kill everyone, so have fled into space. In Dominion, they are causing chaos on a frozen off-world colony. There’s a building sense of desperation and despair in Dominion and this week sees an Aliens type conflict, but with a lot more dead bodies.

The Dark Judges have at times been reduced to pantomime villains. Even in their biggest storyline, Necropolis, they were dispatched a little too quickly, so its nice to see the full threat of their power being shown not just here but in 2000AD’s recent Deadworld series. Once again, they are becoming the unsettling monsters they should be.

 

The Megazine also features three written articles:

A piece on the impressive back catalogue of Frank Miller gives him full credit for his originality whilst refusing to shy away from the more distasteful aspects of his work.

 

We also get a short article on How Comics Work, a new book by legendary comic artist Dave Gibbons and Tim Pilcher, and an obituary of Alfonso Azpiri. Azpiri, who contributed to early 2000AD, passed away earlier this year.

 

The Megazine is packaged each month with a “floppy” reprint of earlier stories. Some of these are classics and some...not so much. This month’s floppy is a collection of “What ever happened to?” stories, which catch up with some lesser known names. It's a mixed bag, with some of the characters fan favourites of yesteryear and some wilfully obscure. A highlight is the comedic “Whatever happened to...Maria”, which sees an uncomfortable Dredd give a eulogy at the funeral of his housekeeper, who appeared as a comedy foil in the strip's early years. It turns out the Maria wasn’t all that she seemed...

Our Score:

8/10

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