(Meg 208 On BARNEY)
Whilst southern England bakes in 32ºC heat, I'm still working my way through these Megs of mine. I was pleased to see the return of Bato Loco and liked the humour of the cover a lot! Possibly my favourite Meg cover so far?
So let's start with the Puerto Novan wiseguy. On the plus side, I liked the Gordon Rennie story and I still like the character a lot. I'm pretty sure in a future Meg, he gets a reprint all to himself, so hopefully there are a few more stories to come. I found the art not to my taste, though. It looked like it should have been coloured, and it was distracting is trying to sort out which line belonged to which bit of the frame. it hasn't put me off Simon Coleby as an artist, but I hope this black and white experiment is shelved and coloured Bato Loco is the order of the day from now on...
The only disappointment with the Dredd story Shakedown is that it finished. As I said in previous reviews, you just start to get into a story arc - and it finishes - Young Middenface being an example of that...
Another story that finished was Black Siddha. I won't give anything away, but this arc did rather feel like a prequel to setting up what will happen next. It was very good, and I hope to see it back soon.
Apocalypse Soon continues to delight and make yours truly smirk a lot (you've got to check out the horses - they really are having a good time in this episode!). Devlin Waugh is still going (I can't really add much more than that) and we have a replacement for Family which is a pilot episode of Repo-Mex. In his introduction to the Meg, Alan Barnes asks "if you want to know what happens next, be sure to tell us...". Sure, Alan, no problems. No thanks. I mean, it was an OK story, but it's not top of my list to be brought back to the Meg. Bring back Young Middenface, Alan! (Except even if Alan Barnes is reading this, I'm kind-of 10 years too late!). So what's Repo-Mex about? Well there's a hotel in deep space where the scum of the earth seem to wash up, staffed by droids. And one droid in particular is going to have his life changed. What I didn't like is the droids seem to have feelings. That's weird and not normal Sci-Fi convention. I mean, I get people really can't fly and all that, but this just seemed to push believability too far. Why would a droid have feelings? Who would have created them like that? Anyway, sexually active droids I can do without, thanks, so sorry - Alan - not for me this one...
In the Gold repro section we had three fairly obscure Dredds and Darkie's Mob. On the Dredds, there was some lovely Ezquerra art to feast upon and Steve Dillon's first Dredd. Bear in mind these Megs pre-date the Complete Case Files reprints, so it was probably the first time some, or all three, of these had been dug out of the archives. The stories were The Other Slab Tynan, The Greatest Story Ever Told and The Big Itch. Well worth a look - I have a soft spot for early Dredd. If you want to read them they all appear in the Restricted Files Vol.1.
Darkie's Mob carried on in the same vein of boys 70's war action. Dreddlines received some complaints, even with the dialogue changes, saying that the Meg should be leaving this sort of strip in the past where it belongs. That the Jap-bashing content wasn't really the sort of thing we should be reading nowadays. Maybe that's true, but I like the strip because:
- It is of it's time and it is the sort of thing I remember fondly from my childhood. Coming to it cold is perhaps a different experience,
- The Gold article in this issue on the origin of ABC Warriors cited Darkie's Mob as an influence in it's development.
- It's early John Wagner - the man is a comic-writing god - and it's fisty-cuffs with anyone who disagrees ;-)
So I come out in favour of the reprint happening, but I totally get why others don't like it.
The text article this month was a feature on the Audio stories that were licensed from Rebeliion back in 2001. Written by Scott Montgomery it details how Big Finish Productions were looking for a new idea to create audio stories with and settled on 2000 AD characters. I enjoyed the first part of the article, including info that the stories featured voices from Simon Pegg, Louise Jameson, Mark Gatiss and Clare Buckfield amongst others. But is then descended into a blow-by-blow account summarising each story that was available. More advertising than information, and I left it there. You can still buy the stories today over on the 2000 AD Big Finish website.
And finally...The Daily Star Dredd was another good-un - with quality Ron Smith art to boot. I wish the Meg still reprinted these today - it really wouldn't take up much room and they are a delight!
Right - off to see if my entire body will fit in a freezer (don't try that at home, kids...)