Friday, 23 May 2014

Meg 243 - Jungle Fever

Now I did rather like this cover. Dredd looking very annoyed! A top job by Clint Langley with some lovely background work as well - which makes a nice change from the rather plain covers we have had of late.

Diving inside we have a few stories ending this issue. I guess this kind-of marks the end of the Alan Barnes era, as Matt Smith will now be putting in the stories he wants. His editorial promises a "slightly tweaked, better value" Meg for the next edition. Sound like a page cut and a price drop to me, but we'll see. I'm going to go into a slight aside now and tell you my amusing Matt Smith story. I was in Forbidden Planet in London in the queue waiting to meet various 2000AD creators on Free Comic Book Day. Matt Smith was one of them. A hairy young man joined the queue resplendent in his Doctor Who T-Shirt and carrying a bunch of time lord merchandise. An enterprising fellow queuer turned to this chap and said "You do know the Matt Smith here is Tharg, the editor of 2000AD". The Whovian looked confused. "Not the Doctor Who actor" my fellow queuer continued. The Whovian nodded slightly, grinned a grin, and five minutes later left the queue!

Anyway, enough of my amusing tales of mistaken identity. There's no mistake that the bad mood Dredd exhibited on the cover was carried through to the final part of Warzone. There's shooting aplenty and if you like your Dredds nasty, this is an unmissable 16 page episode. I rather liked this tale. It will be interesting to see what sort of Dredd we get next issues, but it will have a lot to live up to. I can't help wondering if it should have been two 8 page episodes, but I didn't mind that (if it ever was, of course).

Young Middenface ended with a belter of a climax. A couple of important people end up dead and Middenface is deeply affected by this episode in his life. Super writing by Alan Grant and, yeah, I warmed to ShaunThomas' artwork too. Good job all round. I don't know if this strip will return, but Grant seems to have closed this chapter so we will see what happens with everyone's favourite Scottish mutie next...

One story still continuing is Cursed Earth Koburn who in Malachi has a proper demented nemesis. He is the Judge Death of the Koburn storyline and he looks unstoppable. Good to see Buenaventura getting more of the limelight this time. We see a lot of her and she really is a terrific character. She's got over her ejection from Mega City zone and is stepping up to life in the Cursed Earth. I've always liked the adventures set in The Cursed Earth, and with Rennie and Ezquerra in total control, it's a great read.

Shimura also finished with an epic climax as he takes on his old nemesis in part six of The Harder They Come. Some great fight scenes and an all action ending. Not sure what the plans are for this universe going forwards but I do enjoy the Asian adventures. Let's hope we see a similar strip soon.

The Metro Dredd was truly awful. I suspect they work well as daily commuter newspaper fodder but they are ludicrous in the Meg. Some nonsense about Dredd entering a staring contest. Can we please drop them? Same with the Sinister Dexter one pager whilst your at it, Doctor Smith.

Charley's War continues telling Blue's story. I hadn't realised African armies were in the First World War, so learning and being entertained!

I did have a go at reading the Fu Manchu article. My Dad loved Fu Manchu when he was a boy and I had some exposure to the stories as a child. Sadly, I couldn't get in to the article which read more like an encyclopaedic tome than a magazine article. Sorry Sir Alan, not your best work. Great for hardcore fans of Mr Manchu, but not for the casual reader.

David Bishop's interview with artist Mark Harrison was genuinely interesting. Now you may recall I do like my original comic art, so always am interested in the creator interviews... But some are a bit hit and miss. This was a hit. Mr Harrison is an interesting guy and Bishop knows how to interview. So it was all good!

Over in Hotshots, Cult TV featured the US Show House, starring Hugh Laurie. I liked this show, so it was an interesting read. Rob Williams wrote a good article on the movie adaptation of A History Of Violence, wondering aloud if John Wagner approved and then discussed other comic to move conversions.

And finally... Floyd was back in the letters pages! Not seen him around for a while. His bookshelf must be groaning under the weight of the free graphic novels he gets sent every time his letters get published. Perhaps he'd read them all and wanted another one...

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