2000AD’s big brother, yet afflicted with a problem due to being monthly – five pages of an ongoing strip on a monthly basis is just too little. I’ve moaned on and on about previous issues having this problem, let’s see if the most recent issue has sorted things out or not.
Gorden Rennie kicks off the issue with Judge Dredd, as he seems to nowadays. This story, Master Moves, with D’Israeli is a nice piece on Mega-City One hosting the annual Mega-Chess Championship. It brings to mind the early Chopper stories, with the Surf competitions, except this time the event is lawful and it’s what is happening behind the scenes that isn’t. It’s always nice to see a group of other cities’ citizens gathered in one place, and Rennie handles them well in a great story, accompanied by very nice D’Israeli art.
Whatever Happened To Cookie? is next, by Si Spurrier and Roger Langridge, and although Langridge keeps the tempo and laughs up with his wacky cartoony style, it can’t disguise the essential problem with this story – if you don’t know who Cookie is, then his reminiscences and retconning of his own history are reasonably meaningless. The graphic of the hospital attached to the abattoir is almost worth the price of admission, though.
David Bishop’s text feature, an ambitious index of all Dredd stories to date, sorted chronologically and grouped into storylines rather than issues, follows, and I’m afraid it’s a waste of space. This time we have seven pages given over to just eleven issues of 2000AD – okay, so Bishop has found a money-spinner, we’ll all be dead before this series is over – but the real problem is that the Megazine could have just reprinted the best one of the those eleven stories (in five or six pages) and summarised the rest in the remaining one or two pages, and this would’ve been immeasurably more entertaining.
2000AD Gold fills out the middle pages of every issue, classic reprints – or supposedly “classic” reprints. This time we have seven episodes (they’re three pages each) of the well-regarded Charley’s War. Unfortunately this strip has aged badly, and whilst the first few episodes were worthwhile as a historical curio, at the moment it’s frankly boring. With so many more episodes to go (and that Charley is so stupid he should’ve been killed ages ago, strip-wise) I can see this being skipped in future issues). A Future Shock and a pair of classic Dredd shorts round off the reprints, and you know you’re in for a good time when the first page opens with Judge Macho having to dress up as a woman for Decoy Duty…
It’s the fourth and final part of Judge Dredd: Blood of Satanus II: Dark Matters by Mills and Mighten, and it’s long on action and violence (and gore) (and title), short on plot.
Adrian Salmon provide Oeming-esque art for a text story by Gary Russell, about Psi-Judge Karyn and her point of view of a Dredd trip to the planet Lazarus on Justice One…with a traitor in the midst of the crew, Dredd’s body dying and his mind lost, there’s a lot to experience through Karyn’s eyes at just how far Dredd will go in the pursuit of justice.
A half-page column by Rennie on plagiarism and the sharing of ideas (mentioned as Idea Space by many other writers) is followed by the concluding strip in the comic – and it’s a cracker. It’s the concluding episode of Judge Anderson: Half-Life by Alan Grant and Arthur Ranson, and you really can’t go wrong with this pairing. The rebellion in the past on Judge Death’s homeworld is torn to pieces and Anderson shocked back into awareness in “current” Mega-City One, but she’s bringing a visitor with her, and this particular visitor can’t be stopped… superb story, and at 12-page chunks it’s solved the prior problems of shorter continuing strips in the Megazine. This one needs collecting in a book right now.
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