by Gavin Johnston on August 15, 2018

Writers: Rory McConville; Si Spencer; David Ballie; Gordon Rennie
Artists: Staz Johnson; Nicolo Assirelli; Chris Blythe; Mike Dowling; Brendan McCarthy; Teirnan Trevallion
Colourists Chris Blythe; Eva De La Cruz; Brendan mcCarthy; len O'Grady
Letterers: Annie Parkhouse; Simon Bowland; Ellie De Ville


Script droid Rory McConville has become prolific since first writing for 2000ad only a few years ago. His Dredd stories are frequently filled with madcap humour, but tinged with sadness and violence. Judge Dredd: Brain Drain takes a simple idea that has been bounced around in Dredd stories for years – pills that make you smart – and turns up the dial until a whole Mega City university is under their influence. Its a fast moving one-off, which moves effortlessly between scenes, picking up interesting characters as quickly as it dispatches them.


The Returners comes to an abrupt end. After a few twists and turns, Returners went from being complex, to cliched, and back to complex. When it looked like this would become a sci-fi haunted house, it has instead transformed into a super-team origin story. After six parts, we still know little about these characters and the reason they are here, instead Si Spencer focussed on upping the tension with each new episode, the backstory coming in disjointed pieces. But the pieces are in play for a bigger story down the line. Hopefully it wont be too long before we learn more.


You might have been trying to keep up with Devlin Waugh: Kiss of Death. You might have been paying attention to how the nightmare virus devastated a city, and Waugh set off on a quest to the catacombs to confront the gatekeeper of another world...about how his celebrity date died tragically in a battle against chaos. If you were, we’ve wasted your time, because this joyous journey wasn’t about plot – it was about revelling in the chaotic quest, where anything can happen. All heck breaks loose in this final chapter, as the story jumps ahead, and the high-faluting pseudo-occult references are thrown out the window, so we can have a glorious adventure. Mike Dowling’s art breaks from from rigid panels and become a wondrous, sky blue expression of sheerjoy, as we catch the slightest glimpse of just how amazing Devlin’s world can be.


Chopper: Wandering Soul has been a bit of an uneven journey. Chopper Shakespeare’s battle against a nanobot cloud, powered by Australian Aboriginal myths, has dipped into stereotypes at times, remained respectful of art and culture in others. As we reach the end, giant Judda Judges approach Sydney-Melbourne, and a blend of magic and science is needed to stop them. For all the action, it’s a melancholy tale. Despite the lurid art from Brendan McCarthy and Len O’Grady, where no gutter remains undecorated, it’s full of sadness. There’s some lovely emotional writing as we catch up with Judge Bruce as he faces death, and Cleverman Wally grieves for those lost. From a shaky start, where even it’s main character questioned the wisdom of his being here, Wandering Soul has been a worthy journey.


Strange Brigade exists as a prologue for a video game planned for release by Rebellion at the end of this month. That would be a cynical markettng ploy, if it wasn’t so well written and so much fun. Messing with the stereotypes of the British Empire, its a non-stop action sequence filled with knowing humour. We haven’t had much of a chance to meet these characetrs, but their voices are clear and distinct. After a bit of a build up, the final boss battle was over a little too quickly, but it’s been a really fun ride, and hopefully the Strange Brigade will return.


The Megazine also includes two written articles: one on the upcoming Vigilant comic, which teams up classic characters from British comic’s yesteryear, and the second on a new Dredd tabletop game from designers Game and a Curry. The Megazine is also bagged with a selection of “lost cases” - new Dredd stories, set in the midst of classic epics.  These are great stories, and wl worth the cover price alone.



Our Score:


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