Saturday, 3 August 2013

Meg 209 - Road Kill

(Meg 209 on BARNEY)

Slightly different design for this Meg cover, with the white border and different title font. I don't think I like the border much, but it could be just the way Greg Staples painted the Judge Death picture necessitated it. And what a painting it is! I love Greg's covers. Prog 1750 being my most favourite cover ever to grace a Prog.

Dreddlines published a very anti Darkie's Mob letter and a very pro one. Again, Alan Barnes made clear his view is to not focus on the jingoistic, anti-Japanese elements and, instead, focus on it being just a cracking war story that could have been set in any time or any place. It just so happened in the 70's that boys wanted to read World War II stories. As I said in my previous review, I think it is worthy of inclusion in a reprint section. Whether 2000 AD should be reprinting stories from the Battle comic, however, is a different kettle of fish. It doesn't bother me, I like them, but I'm sure it will annoy others who would much prefer reprints of 2000 AD material, if reprints are to be included at all.

Back to the Darkie's Mob story and in this set of episodes the mob face their biggest challenge yet when Darkie himself is captured. Can they save their leader?

Let's look at the FOUR new stories (yes, four!) in this issue. XTNCT is a quirky tale about the last few humans in the very far future. And being human, they have created armies to fight their wars for them. These armies are genetically modified dinosaurs, animals and plants. I wasn't sure about it to begin with, but I'm glad I pushed that thought to one side, because it looks like a good start. Scripted by Paul Cornell, whose name I don't recognise, and drawn by D'Israeli, who I do recognise, it is rendered in grey-scale which adds to the bleakness of this future world. The first text box we see really sets the scene:

"This place was once called Bordeaux. Then New Oslo. Then Edenurrathe. Then Blue. The three other names."

i.e. we are so far into the future - you need to leave any frame of reference you have behind! So GM dinosaurs and walking, talking tress don't seem that weird!

Then we have The Bendatti Vendetta which is totally opposite; set much nearer our own time and full colour painting, rather than greys and blacks. Again, I didn't hold out much hope (perhaps I was just a bit grumpy when I read this Meg!), but saw it was by Robbie Morrison and pushed all thoughts of misery out of my head. Robbie is absolutely, totally one of my favourite comic book writers. Please, please check our Shakara or his most recent work, Drowntown, and you will not be disappointed...  I think I was feeling negative about this because it reminded me too much of Black Light, which was reprinted in a recent Meg, and I didn't like. Anyway, back to this story. It is about a shadowy organisation who take on criminals the police are unable to touch. It's John Burns on art duties, and whilst I haven't liked some of his other stuff, I liked this artwork and script together. It did start a little slowly, and I thought I would be into the realms of Family - i.e. completely lost on what was going on - but I wasn't and at the end of the episode I wanted more...

Death On The Road is a Judge Death spin off, where Death is wandering the Cursed Earth. It was OK, I guess, it did teeter a bit on being silly. Maybe it was "played for laughs", but it didn't quite hit the mark. However, I am reserving judgement until next episode - unlike Judge Death himself who would have just extinguished the strip from existence :-) Loved Frazer Irving's black and white penned artwork, and it's a John Wagner script, so lots to like about this...

The new Dredd, Hong Tong, is a Gordon Rennie script - so I was immediately looking forward to it after reading Bato Loco in Meg 202. It didn't disappoint. Dredd has to leave MC1 behind to pursue a gang who are hiding known lawbreakers by giving them an entirely new body. He meets up with an old adversary from Sino-Cit (from Prog 1233 apparently) who is now on the side of the law...or is he? Looking forward to the next one.

Devlin Waugh - well - I'm running out of things to say. I think I ran out a couple of reviews ago. We are lumbering towards a conclusion. I do wonder if it might best be read in one sitting, rather than as a serial. Perhaps I'm losing the tension in between other strips. Or perhaps it's not really my thing. I dunno. I don't skip it, I'm quite interested to see how it ends. But I won't be crying when it does end. MacNeil's art is probably the thing holding my attention the most. By Grud, the man can paint...

Back to the reprint section, and we have lost the Daily Star Dredd Reprints! Nooooo! This is a terrible decision, Mr Barnes. Why? They were only half a page - surely room could be found for a half page reprint? Tut. Anyway, Harry Twenty On The High Rock (which I'll just shorten to Harry 20) began. I've wittered on a lot in this review, so I'll just say it's very good and I'll cover it more next time. I'll also cover the text article Blazing Battle Action by David Bishop more next time, where David is tracing the roots of the awesome Battle comic... Gordon Rennie is still finding things to rant about - this month it's co-writing. Quite informative actually...

And finally...can't leave out Apocalypse Soon. Still love it...

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