Friday, 9 August 2013

Meg 211 - Portrait of a Ssserial Killer

This Meg came with a choice of two Judge Death covers. The copy I have is a subscribers copy (which BARNEY says is one of only 3750 copies!), so it actually came wrapped in both covers - a nice idea. The outer cover has to be my favourite - a wonderful parody of the Batman Killing Joke cover by Brian Bolland with the Joker replaced by Judge Death. One arch nemesis replaced by another. Brilliant stuff from Frazer Irving, and a firm favourite.

So the amazing Charlie's War began to be reprinted this month. Whatever the feelings are about Darkie's Mob being racist and stuck in the past (and people are still writing to Dreddlines to complain) these must be out aside for Charlie's War. I know the Meg is a Sci Fi anthology, based around the world of Judge Dredd. Put that to one side for a second, and appreciate one of the finest stories to grace comics. Full stop. Reading it now has quite a powerful effect. I don't mind saying I had tears in my eyes and a big old lump in my throat. As a kid, I remember it well - especially the mud and filth and the bulging face of 'Old Bill' the sergeant barking orders at the men. In my adult days I now know a lot more about this period of history and knowing what Charlie is about to face is quite an emotional thing. He joins the Western Front six weeks before the Battle of the Somme...

The text story, Blazing Battle Action, told by David Bishop is still holding my interest. Again, this may be because I read the Battle comic as a kid. A reader of the Meg who did not may skip this and wonder why a quarter of their magazine is taken up with a load of guff from a 70's war comic...

Back to the Sci Fi. Oh, hang on, The Bendatti Vendetta, isn't Sci Fi! I'm enjoying it though. The newest recruit is put through his paces, but its difficult to see who is testing who. Again, Robbie's story gives you a pay off at the end of the episode. He really is a top writer! But as quickly as it started, it has finished. Gah! More please!

Right, now let's get back to the Sci Fi! Harry 20 is still marvellous. Harry and his buddies are deep into their escape preparations, but others are becoming suspicious... There is some real dramatic tension in this story that may not have been appreciated by children, but it's gripping stuff for adults.  Really enjoying this one.

Then there is the Dredd story Sturm Und Dang. Firstly, it's another Gordon Rennie story. Hurrah! Secondly, is drawn by 'Rey' Carlos Ezquerra. Twice hurrah! Thirdly it's a Cursed Earth saga! I'll stop with the 'Hurrahs', but I think you get my point. All the right ingredients for a cracking story and it really is. Dredd is forced to enlist the help of a disgraced ex-Judge Koburn when his Hotdog Run group are asked to take out a gang of Muties. Muties with Nazi tendencies.

Really now enjoying Judge Death: The Wilderness Days . This episode was particularly good in being a parody of Natural Born Killers - with Jay Death along for the ride. Now I have got used to the style and story-telling, it's become a firm favourite.

XTNCT is also going well. I have to confess to not fully following the story this episode, but the character of Raptor totally makes up for that. If I meet D'Israeli at a comic con and can get a sketch off him, Raptor would be my choice. He's a brilliant little character who 'speaks' using no vowels (so XTNCT = 'Extinct'). It's a bit like playing the missing vowels round in Only Connect reading his dialogue... Some may find it frustrating at first, but please persevere!

The Four Horsemen have finally found their Horses and are on a full charge in Apocalypse Soon. Tony Blair and George W. Bush make an appearance - very topical! In The Interrogation Cube was Frazer Irving, who was quite grumpy about the whole thing - but never as grumpy as Mr Grumpy Gordon Rennie! Speaking of which, he finally seems to have run out of steam as his regular column You're Next Punk has disappeared. I hate it when that happens. It's like when the Daily Star Dredd's vanished. No warning - just gone.. Also, a lot of adverts in this month's Meg - seemingly all for the same thing: Dredd vs Death the novel; Dredd vs Death the computer game; then the computer game again... Filler!!!

And finally...Devlin Waugh. Meh.... (BTW, if you are a big Devlin Waugh fan, leave a comment - tell the world why it's so great! Balance my lethargy over the strip. Explain to me why it isn't the same every week of crap one-liners and random chasing of people by vampires!)

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