What a strange issue this is. I mean, look at the cover! I'm keeping this one in an envelope as I don't feel I can leave it lying round the house for my 9 year old to stumble upon. The Dredd the cover refers to is even stranger, and I'll come on to that shortly...
First off, let's wrap up Devlin Waugh: Red Tide - fizzle, fizzle, pop... It kind of stumbled to a conclusion and then concluded. I thought the last couple of pages or so of wrapping up the story were alright, but the pay off wasn't worth the journey. As promised in my last entry a fellow 2000 AD Forum member and comic blogger, Greg Meldrum, will be providing us with a counter-point article on Red Tide. So stay tuned for that after this posting...
The observant among you will be thinking I'm really cracking through these Megs at the moment. And that is probably due to the reprints, Charley's War and Harry 20. Starting with the latter, I found the story absolutely gripping. The tensions Gerry Finlay-Day is building with Harry's escape attempt, and the twists and turns he is throwing in along the way is keeping me utterly hooked. Will he finally free himself of The Rock prison and the evil Warden Worldwise and his cronies? And then it was over... Ah well, I wonder if there was ever a follow up written? And in Charley's War, it is the Battle of the Somme and Charley's platoon are going over the top. It's fascinating to read the account of this war from the perspective of a Tommy in the trenches.
In addition to these stories, we got a Daily Star Dredd (Hurrah!) and a Harry 20 colour poster! I haven't detached it to put on my bedroom wall - my wife would kill me :-)
Right, let's talk Dredd and the new story Crime of Passion penned by John Wagner and drawn by Cliff Robinson. It's a strange story, and I'm not sure I liked it that much. Tension is mounting at the World Sex Championships as the greatest teams from around the world compete for the ultimate prize. But the Judges learn of a plot to derail the whole championships - will they get there in time... Actually, my summary makes it sound more interesting than it actually is. It's a bit silly really. Lots of "Ooo Matron" moments a-la Kenneth Williams, which might be funny if you are 12, but I found it all rather dull. Yes there are tits and bits, and it's all "very" controversial (something Alan Barnes' editorial delights in playing to) but the story wasn't there for me. It wasn't controversial, it was dull. Sorry John Wagner, you are better than this...
XTNCT lost me again this week a little. Paul Cornell just loves rolling the "dice of different story lines", seeing what crops up and whacking that in to the world just to get in the way of our heroes (or villans, you could read it either way, depending on your view of the human race). This time is nuclear apocalypse that crimps the genetically modified creatures' day... As I have said before, XTNCT takes risks, and I have no problems with that. I'm prepared to give it a lot of slack.
I was sorry to see that Armitage was only a two-parter. It felt the storyline had more to give. I'm thinking I'm repeating myself a lot here. There have been too many stories in these Megs that have only lasted two or three episodes which needed a longer run, particularly when others have gone on for bloody ages (yes, Devlin Waugh, looking right at you). I was looking forward to a detective story with a lot of detective work, but what I got was a quickly contrived plot vehicle where it all fell into place in about 5 panels. Quite grumpy about that.
The Las Vegas exploits of Judge Death started to wane on me this week. I hope this one isn't going to outstay it's welcome. It needs wrapping up, I think, otherwise it will be a slow and lingering death (which I'm sure Jay D himself would enjoy). Still holding my interest, but I'm just wondering if we aren't slightly on "repeat" with the storylines. Judge Death turns up, trusts some humans or muties to help his mission of destroying all life, they betray him, he gets mad and kills a few people, he moves on - and repeat.... The most entertaining thing about this story is still Judge Death's internal monologue. Perhaps a "Secret Diary of Judge Death Aged Several Millennia" might be a good follow up (with apologies to Sue Townsend)!
Lacking a text article this issue, probably because Devlin Waugh was a double episode, but Gordon Rennie was still on hand in You're Next Creep to dispense his usual quality ranting. This time it was how to play a drinking game with 2000 AD based on popular Dredd plotlines. Very good, Gordon! Apocalype Soon rounded off the Meg with God getting utterly fed up with the Horseman and finding some replacements!
And finally... a few letters in Dreddlines supporting my view of Charley's War and of the excellent Sturm and Dang Dredd. Nice to know you're right some of the time :-)