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JUDGE DREDD MEGAZINE, #391

by ModernPanther on December 20, 2017

Writers:  Rory McConville; Dan Abnett; John Wagner
Artists:  Leigh Gallagher; Neil Googe; Mike Dowling; Phil Winslade; Nick Percival
Colourists:  Gary Caldwell
Letterers:  Annie Parkhouse; Simon Bowland; Ellie De Ville
Publisher:  Rebellion



This month’s Megazine is the Rory McConville Show, with three of the five stories coming from the winner of the 2015 Thoughtbubble talent search.

An alien infestation in a Mega City spaceport has got out of hand, and Dredd makes his way through a maze of crazy, accompanying the only scientist(s) who can solve the problem. The end of last month’s episode saw Dredd accosted by rejects from Grant Morrison’s We3, but that’s just the beginning of the montage of violence. Judge Dredd: Contrabandits is filled with interesting ideas and characters, but unfortunately rushes to a conclusion.

 

The Black Museum is an underused horror anthology format, with the crypt keeper like tour guide giving the backstory for the morbid items held within the Justice Depertment’s museum of crime. In Black Museum: Fake News, the scares come from how manipulated media reports can obscure the truth, with the story of a bombing by enemy combatants.

The Day of Chaos storyline was back in 2012, when Donald Trump was just an ordinary Joe billionaire, but the story foresaw the rise of “fake news”, with a media rushing to be first with outlandish reports, and the resulting misinformation leading to countless deaths. Using this as a backdrop, Black Museum: Fake News sees a young Judge driven to despair by his futile attempts to bring a purveyor of lies to justice. It's an interesting tale which satirises both an attention hungry media and corrupt authorities who would twist the truth to retain power. Artist Neil Googe gives us a world of detailed and expressive characters, with an interesting style of delicately finished art.


 

Everyone is the main character in the story of their own lives, but none of those stories are as interesting as Devlin Waugh’s.

Last month saw the world’s foremost paranormal investigator discretely infiltrate a supernatural casino in search of his missing brother, only to be confronted by an angry stranger who threatened to blow his cover.  In a single scene in Devlin Waugh: Blood Debt, Waugh resolves this problem with his usual cool confidence and to devastating effect. No matter how important any of these supporting characters might think they are, Devlin is here to steal the show. Waugh must be a wonderful character to write – an articulate and erudite stongman, with charm and stories of derring-do, as able to puncture with his sharp wit as smash skulls. It's a balance which continues in the storytelling, with this issue finding the perfect positioning between exposition and action as we discover the truth of Freddy Waugh’s mysterious disappearance.

 

Lawless: Breaking Badrock has slowly and unobtrusively built character and tension over the past few months. Characters have slowly been reintroduced and developed, as well as the growing threat of the Munce Corporation. The munce hits the fan this month, as Deputy Lawless has to deal with enemies inside and out. A Western frontier town in space is now just another trope, but Lawless avoids the obvious, building layered characters with its slow burning plot. Phil Winslade’s incredibly detailed line art squeezes a huge amount of detail into every page, going above and beyond to build this complex world.

 

The Dark Judges have fled Earth to spread their twisted morality to distant off-world colonies in Dominion. A small band of survivors have secured themselves whilst an army of the undead surround them. The recent resurgence of Judge Death and his lieutenants is a welcome one. The characters had become increasingly comedic and lost most of their early menace, but recent stories have made the dark Judges more terrifying than ever. Dominion, however, has largely been a by the numbers zombie story, with the only standout being the morbid art of Nick Percival.

 

The Megazine also includes written articles on the work of comic legend Ken Reid, in particular his Faceache strips which were recently collected and the subject of a review here on Comics the Gathering, as well as an interview with artist Mike Dorey, who was responsible for the look of many stories in the early days of 2000AD.

 

This months Megazine is bagged with a reprint of Wagner’s Walk, a world war two story that was originally published in Tornado in 1979.

Our Score:

8/10

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