Judge Dredd Megazine 450 Featured Columns 

Multiver-City One: Judge Dredd Megazine 450 – Skeleton Crew!

By , , , and | November 16th, 2022
Posted in Columns | % Comments

Welcome, Earthlets, to Multiver-City One, our monthly look at the “Judge Dredd Megazine!” Let’s get right to it.

Cover by Tom Foster

Judge Dredd: Babel Part 2
Credits: Ian Edginton (script) D’Israeli (art) Annie Parkhouse (letters)

Matthew Blair: It seems that corporate intrigue and old fashioned xenophobia are still very much alive in the future, and when it comes to Dredd and the world of Mega City One both of these things can get complicated and perilous. The last installment of the story left Dredd literally hanging by a thread with an army of Mega City One gang members gunning for his life and only a fellow squid creature lawman to help him. How will he ever survive?

Well, this is the finale of the story, so you can probably figure it out.

It’s kind of a shame that “Judge Dredd: Babel Part 2” is the final part of the story because it would have been nice to see where writer Ian Edginton could have taken it. Edginton does a great job of showing how brutal and ugly the xeno haters of Mega City One can be, but also does a great job of showing how incompetent and cowardly they are as well, especially when faced with the cold and ruthless skill of Dredd and his alien counterpart. While Edington can be a bit wordy with his exposition, the real highlight of the episode is the budding friendship between Dredd and his fellow squid creature lawman. They work very well together and it would be nice to see them team up in future episodes.

As usual, D’Israli’s artwork is gorgeous and well suited for a story like “Judge Dredd: Babel Part 2”. Sice D’Israli spent the last episode establishing the look and location of everything, he gets to use this section of the story to show off his own storytelling chops, and it works beautifully. Everything is clear and easy to understand and there are some great crowd shots and large scale action scenes that look very busy and frantic, but are still clear and easy to understand. Plus. the colors continue to be gorgeous and the character designs are beautiful and unique.

“Judge Dredd: Babel Part 2” is a rather sudden and regrettably abrupt ending to a great story, but with any luck Dredd has made allies that will show up in future adventures.

Storm Warning: Dead and Gone Part 2
Credits: John Reppion (script), Clint Langley (art), Jim Campbell (letters)

Greg Lincoln: Rich and detailed artwork is a joy to see but sometimes, like this chapter, it doesn’t necessarily lead to a clearly told story. Flashing back to the point we started at with Lilian Storm possibly interned as dead, we see ghosts come to visit her. They relate that they do not believe her to be dead and proceed to wait for her awakening while we return to days earlier and her return to Psi headquarters. The story here falls apart a little and makes you worry you have missed a chapter, but no, this is just where we are as things there go horribly awry. It’s likely all the doing of the doppelgängers among them but only the storytelling can tell. There is a vividly illustrated afterlife/nightmare sequence that is seemingly real, but may be just a psychedelic induced experience. Left perplexed, we can only hope the next chapter has another clearer flashback. It’s really intriguing but, sadly, leaves a lot of hanging questions and just a bit of confusion as to what is happening to of ghost hunting Judge.

The art by Clint Langley is really hard to fault and I’m not sure that the confusion is really on him. The clarity of the action within the scenes he drew and colored is solid. You know what is happening and to whom. There is just a step missing, or that feels missing in the tale when Storm tries to take care of business. The whole transformation scene and the scenes that follow as Lilian “awakens” and finds herself in that hellscape was likely intended to be as disorienting and disturbing as it seems to the eye.

Continued below

Devlin Waugh: Karm Police, Part 2
Credits: Ales Kot (script), Rob Richardson (art), Simon Bowland (letters)

Brian Salvatore: There are certain people who you just aren’t accustomed to see sweat, and Devlin Waugh is one of them. His fear at the interaction with his ancestor is so out of character for him that his compatriots are worried, not just about him, but for themselves. Waugh is usually the cool, cocky, steady hand when hell comes to Earth. But he’s rattled, and Rob Richardson’s art does a good job of not just showing his discomfort, but more impressively, shows him attempting, with mixed success, to cover up that nervousness. He and Ales Kot do really sublime work here, letting Waugh dance on the edge of a breakdown, but projecting just a mild paranoia.

This chapter features a flash-forward that is as mysterious as it is ominous, and will most likely be a misdirection of some sort. But Kot, wisely, puts the fear that Waugh is feeling front and center for the reader, too. We are able to share his dread, but also know that the end is usually not as bleak as it is projected, not just in Waugh stories, but in comics in general. The script allows the reader to walk side by side with Devlin though his emotional state which, while the story is still warming up, is preferable to just sitting idly by, watching Devlin sweat.

Dark Judges: Death Metal Planet Part Two
Credits: David Hines (script), Nick Percival (art), Annie Parkhouse (letters)

Chris Egan: While moving further away from typical Dark Judges imagery, and those characters specifically, the nightmarish music video style of Hines and Percival’s work is still keeping things unsettling and uncomfortable with a jet-black sense of humor woven into this horror fantasy. It’s the same sandbox, they’re just using different toys.

This month’s chapter is a throwback to the sci-fi/fantasy magazines of decades past while also taking a jab at that kind of work. Wild and bizarre imagery covers the pages while the writing pokes fun at the blending of stereotypical metal-head sensibilities and wacky horror fantasy tropes. The comic feels like both a gentle parody and homage rolled into a singular vision that holds good spookery and zany action.

The horror and adventure aspects are right at home within the “Judge Dredd” universe and this chapter is a interesting and stylishly executed example of a great expansion on the world. Even if this isn’t you’re cup of tea, there’s no denying that this team continues to keep things intriguing enough to have you ask yourself what could possibly be coming in the following issue.

Surfer: Book Two, Part 2
Credits John Wagner (script) Colin MacNeil(art) Chris Blythe(colours) Simon Bowland(letters)

Michael Mazzacane: I didn’t expect the second book of “Surfer” to turn into the Premium Rush of the Dreddverse, but here we are. John Wagner, however, shifts our perspective in such a way that it isn’t just an oblique reference to a campy crime thriller from the 10s. During the courtroom sequence from the previous strip, Zane Perkins was like a fish in a bowl. That feeling of surveillance becomes the operating procedure for this strip as the reader is placed firmly in the role of watcher, through the eyes of Judges and gangsters that infest Mega City One. It turns the character of Zane into something of a cypher forcing readers to question their motives and look for potential subversion on their part. That is the point of view that everyone else is taking when it comes to Zane.

This outsider perspective holds true until the final pages of the strip when a cattle prod to the back shocks us into his inner thoughts. His feelings of isolation and helplessness as the gangsters that got him put away in the first place, and apparently got him out, blackmail him into becoming their delivery boy for who knows what. MacNeil’s art is solid if a little heavy on uniform vertical spotted blacks that take away a sense of dimension to the image. Once readers are put in Zane’s perspective, however, that uniformity becomes a mask that hides both his real intentions and feeling of isolation when he comes home to see what they’ve done to his old man.

Wagner and MacNeil go pretty brutal with how they depict Zane’s drunk of a Dad beaten to a pulp and lips sewn shut. It isn’t an artistic brutality one that hides behind aesthetics, it’s plainly gorey and blunt. Like the message the gangsters are telling Zane and his dad: dead men tell no tales.

How “Surfer” has used perspective over these two entries in terms of both artistic point of view and narrative have me interested in what comes of this as Zane is forced to become a mule.


//TAGS | Multiver-City One

Brian Salvatore

Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).

EMAIL | ARTICLES

Greg Lincoln

EMAIL | ARTICLES

Michael Mazzacane

Your Friendly Neighborhood Media & Cultural Studies-Man Twitter

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Christopher Egan

Chris lives in New Jersey with his wife, daughter, two cats, and ever-growing comic book and film collection. He is an occasional guest on various podcasts, writes movie reviews on his own time, and enjoys trying new foods. He can be found on Instagram. if you want to see pictures of all that and more!

EMAIL | ARTICLES

Matthew Blair

Matthew Blair hails from Portland, Oregon by way of Attleboro, Massachusetts. He loves everything comic related, and will talk about it for hours if asked. He also writes a web comic about a family of super villains which can be found here: https://tapas.io/series/The-Secret-Lives-of-Villains

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