Judge Dredd Megazine 451 Featured Columns 

Multiver-City One: Judge Dredd Megazine 451-452

By , , , and | January 18th, 2023
Posted in Columns | % Comments

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

Megazine 451

Cover by Cliff Robinson and Dylan Teague

Judge Dredd: Dollman
Credits: Ken Neimand (script) Stewart K. Moore (art) Annie Parkhouse (letters)

Matthew Blair: It’s Christmas in Mega City One and while it is normally a time for comfort, joy, and happy feelings the fact is that crime never sleeps and fortunately, neither does Dredd.

This year it’s a routine disturbance call from an anonymous tipper that brings Dredd to the front gate of a former child genius star who made a name for himself by being a vertically challenged freak of nature named Tommy Kinder who has lost all of his wealth and has resolved to take his revenge on the children of Mega City One.

To say what happens next would be venturing into spoiler territory, but let’s just say this is one of the creepiest Dredd stories I have ever read.

“Judge Dredd: Dollman” is written by Ken Neimand and it’s a classic Judge Dredd story. Neimand understands that the world of Mega City One is a bizarre combination of absurd humor/social commentary, heart breaking character twists and developments, and incredible violence. All three of these factors are on full display with Neimand poking fun at celebrity culture, the impermanence of fame, and the creation of a truly tragic villain that both deserves every bad thing that is going to happen to him, but you feel sorry for him at the same time.

The art for “Judge Dredd: Dollman” is provided by Stewart K. Moore and it’s functional and fun to look at. Moore has a very clean style with very thin lines and minimal shading that give the story a sleek and modern vibe reminiscent of Herge’s clean line style with a more modern aesthetic. On top of that, the characters look appropriately creepy and there’s one hell of an action scene that dominates most of the story. It’s certainly a unique style that is clear, easy to understand, and is a lot of fun.

“Judge Dredd: Dollman” is a classic Dredd story with all the elements of a great Mega City One tale and some great action. It would be very interesting to see if Tommy Kinder makes another appearance in the future.

Storm Warning: Dead and Gone Part 3
Credits: John Reppion (script), Clint Langley (art), Jim Campbell (letters)

Greg Lincoln: Despite the abrupt two week skips in time, John Reppion tells a pretty compelling and concise story. We flip back and forth between Lilian Storm’s hunt for her superior Campbell, who is now a werewolf, and to her fighting skeletons in a red “hellscape.” We are reminded in the opening of the ghost familiars that follow her as the story opens with their voices narrating the scene. It seems the ghosts didn’t follow her to hell as the voices are absent in those scenes. Reppion shows Storm as headstrong and determined as she ignores orders from her fellow Judge to hunt Campbell on her own without all the Lycanthrope precautions he insisted on. In the afterlife she encounters the Night Bus and it is an amusing, character filled driver after dispatching some skeletons. But the strip seems short and leaves us wanting more.

Clint Langley’s painted art is detailed, expressive, and aptly tells the tale. His characters and panels are well designed and always interesting to look at. There is something a bit crunchy and inconsistent from page to page, though. With how clear and crisp his work is most of the time, the panels where it is off or possibly rushed stand out. Most of those are in the brief afterworld combat scene that’s a little underwhelming at times. Through the afterworld Lilian Storm is both cool and creepy in ways that you can’t help but like.

Devlin Waugh: Karma Police, Part 3
Credits: Ales Kot (script), Rob Richardson (art), Simon Bowland (letters)

Brian Salvatore: In direct contrast to Ales Kot’s previous Waugh story, “Karma Police” is a remarkably restrained piece of comic writing, especially for a Devlin Waugh tale. Kot has brought all of the danger and tension inward for the most part. Devlin can put on a good face, but he’s worried about this trip which, as discussed in prior installments, is quite different for the character. In this installment, Devlin’s charm is back up to 10, so much so that a family of strangers is welcoming to him, a possessed dildo, and a walking cockroach. It’s nice to see Devlin be confident in something in this strip, and also allow himself a little bit of a personal connection with the mother of the home and, for once, not in a sexual way.

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Rob Richardson’s art remains restrained and compact, allowing facial expressions and body language to do most of the heavy lifting here. The scene at the dinner table, which begins with Devlin smiling ear to ear at a table full of people who are unsure and uncomfortable, which ends with everyone jocularly enjoying each other’s company, is a perfectly constructed two-panel segment, allowing all you need to know to be transmitted with subtle art.

We also are brought to the doorstep of the reason for this trip, and the visuals from Richardson take a leap toward the grotesque. There is still a lot of mystery and intrigue still to be figured out.

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

Chris Egan: Visions of the future, nightmares of the past, this week’s “Death Metal Planet” is hallucinogenic absurdity that captures a bizarre sense of fun and excitement, but also a gut churning discomfort that should always come about in the presence of the Dark Judges. This is the metal show of the century and it is going to be horrifying. Every time we get the next chapter of this series I wonder how and why this mash up of the Dark Judges and heavy metal feels so right and so wrong at the same time, and all I can come with is that it is just weird enough to work, but in that fun, cringey way. The writing comes together, and it is now jab at Hine, but the reason to continue with this series is the incredible, ghastly art by Nick Percival. It is chilling. Those who serve the Death Metal Planet also serve the Dark Judges. There could not be a worse fate, and Percival makes us shiver with his rendition of this entire affair.

Surfer: Book Two, Part 3
Credits John Wagner (script) Colin MacNeil(art) Chris Blythe(colours) Simon Bowland(letters)

Michael Mazzacane: The storytelling is the process in the third part entry of “Surfer” book two. John Wagner’s sparse narration provides ample room for artist Colin MacNeil to use contrast and a heavy amount of spotted black ink to create a moody noir as Zane Perks tries to silently move over the wall and surf to Candia. Wagner’s prose is there mostly for dry at times humorous commentary that gives the strip a sense of fait accompli. Zane’s die has been rolled. He’s chosen his route as he accelerates up to 140+ KPH. It’s “do or die.” But he can’t plan for falling debris or the things that live in the wreckage of the Old World.

Colin MacNeil’s page design makes this strip worth reading, even if you haven’t been keeping up with it. The artist consistently uses long skinny panels after the first page, which contrasts with the near splash image on the opening page. However, functionally the images both perform the same job: to obscure and barely capture the image of Zane as he attempts his escape. On the first page, the figure of Zane is dwarfed by the Mega City around him. His silhouette stands out only as a byproduct of Chris Blythe’s pallet and MacNeil’s composition. That sort of technical craftsmanship is on display on the third page, designed to be fanned out of a series of panels. MacNeil places Zane’s figure relative to the previous one acting as a guide for the reader’s eye as it slowly leads both down the drain into a claustrophobic trap.

Even when Zane gets over the Mega City wall, the same high-contrast artwork is at play now aided by the faint light pollution of the city. MacNeil’s environmental design is obviously more horizontal in this section but manages to keep clear enough boundaries between fore and background that it works. This segment is more of a tense cat-and-mouse game between Zane and the anonymous Judges on patrol.

Reading this strip made me want to go put on Theif or at least pull up the bank heist. Everything supports the next component part in this strip. It doesn’t try to get overly complicated, it just executes what it needs to and makes for a tense engaging read.

Continued below

Megazine 452

Cover by Laurence Campbell and Quinton Winter

Judge Dredd: One Eyed Jacks 01
Credits: Ken Neimand (script) Ian Richardson (art) Quinton Winter (colors) Annie Parkhouse (letters)

Matthew Blair: “Judge Dredd: One Eyed Jacks 01” opens on a rare and awe inspiring moment: Dredd making a mistake, but don’t worry! It turns out that some of Dredd’s bionics are a bit off and he needs to step away from the streets and do office work until they’re recalibrated, because actual, durable machines will break before Dredd does. However, just because Dredd is stuck behind a desk doesn’t mean he can’t help solve crimes, which has led to Dredd becoming a consultant for a case that seems to involve a bunch of hippies and a loose cannon cop…from 1975.

Buckle up folks, because we’re dealing with time travel shenanigans.

“Judge Dredd: One Eyed Jacks 01” is written by long time Dredd writer Ken Neimand, and to be honest it’s kind of weird to see Dredd so vulnerable. Who knew that one of the strangest moments in the entire series would be seeing the great Mega City One gunslinger behind a desk doing mundane chores? Fortunately, it doesn’t last long and Neimand does a great job of crafting a very interesting mystery that promises to be extremely entertaining and reintroduces Dredd in a past life: Jack McBane, otherwise known as “One Eyed Jack”.

The art for “Judge Dredd: One Eyed Jacks 01” is provided by Ian Richardson. Richardson is paired with colorist Quinton Winter and their talents do a great job of making Mega City One look bleak, brown, and decrepit, which is a fitting description for the teeming mass of humanity that is Mega City One. Also, quite a bit of the story takes place in the real world of 1975 New York and it’s rather telling that Richardson and Winter do a great job of showing the parallels between the real world setting and the fake science fiction one with how violent and broken they are.

“Judge Dredd: One Eyed Jacks 01” is the introduction to a hell of a crossover starring New York’s toughest cop and Mega City One’s symbol for law and order. It’s an intriguing mystery with a lot of violence, intrigue, and police overstepping their bounds.

Storm Warning: Dead and Gone Part 4
Credits: John Reppion (script), Clint Langley (art), Jim Campbell (letters)

Greg Lincoln: The best part of “Dead and Gone Part 4” has to be the driver of the Night Bus that appeared last week. John Reppion did open up about some of the back story for Lilian Story, her cadre of ghosts and her superior Campbell, but it kind of pales to the amusing moments with the driver. His cherry picking the waiting dead for their trip to the River Styx and his response to Lilian’s dead horse theft steal the show in this chapter. His carnival barker personality is so much clearer than anyone else in this story. Judge Lilian feels more like an observer in this chapter and it leaves most of the story falling a little flat.

Clint Langley’s art in this chapter is cleaner and more consistent than it was in ‘Part 3.’ His painterly style still has a slightly static feel to it and some panels seem more like pinups than sequential storytelling. The story is still following two separate timelines but, for some reason, the color palette is the same throughout, gray with reflective chrome highlights. It’s all a bit too Warhammer 400000 in parts, but it’s still a cool looking tale all in all. The ghostly blue lighted figures stand out so clearly with all the dimly lit scenes. They draw a lot of the focus on the pages to both good and bad for the story itself.

Devlin Waugh: Karma Police, Part 4
Credits: Ales Kot (script), Rob Richardson (art), Simon Bowland (letters)

Brian Salvatore: When you have a giant, walking and talking cockroach, it seems likely that he’s not going to be the most straightforward or virtuous character, but Kafka has been a surprisingly friendly and jovial cockroach until this point. All of that changes in ‘Part 4,’ and all of a sudden Rob Richardson’s decision of keeping Kafka in shadow and obscured reveals itself as foreshadowing instead of simply an artistic choice. Richardson gets a chance to let loose on this chapter, as we get a beautiful full page exploration of the Waugh line, and we get some fun variants – Hippie Waugh! Demonic punk Waugh! Boils all over his face Waugh! – as well as the best shadowy penis this side of “Batman: Damned.” Richardson’s work has been so restrained that it is nice to watch him have a little fun.

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That fun is appreciated because the rest of the chapter is incredibly harrowing for Waugh. Having been betrayed by Kafka, he is to be bonded to his ancestor and become his new host body. Waugh seems unable to escape this, but we know what Devlin Waugh has done in the past, and I’m sure he’ll find a way out. But this strip has done a really great job of adding drama and depth to a character that has often felt both a little too silly and a little too resilient. It’s nice to see him sweat, but this chapter takes that almost too far, adding a real sense of dread and danger. It makes for a tense read for a character that rarely delivers dread, even when things look bleak.

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

Chris Egan: Part Four continues the heavy metal nightmare that is unfolding, but it brings back some of the Judge action, making this feel, once again, like it is part of the greater “Judge Dredd” universe, and not just some weird simulacrum of one. Between the death metal imagery, the religious/faith imagery, and the classic Judge shoot ’em up scenes, this entry has quite a lot to pore over. There still isn’t a lot to latch onto in terms of story depth, but it tries to do something with this hodge podge of ideas, and it continues to be a fun and wild read. Again, Percival’s work is the reason to keep returning to this as it continues to grow and change, but never quite gets out from under the shadow of the DC Metal stuff from the last few years. And while a lot of that feels like a direct homage, or even rip-off of various 2000 AD works, especially the Dark Judges, neither that or this ever claw above just how corny the whole thing is. Whether that is on purpose or not, there is a thin margin in which this series works, and the art is what’s keeping it there.

Surfer: Book Two, Part 4
Credits John Wagner (script) Colin MacNeil(art) Chris Blythe(colours) Simon Bowland(letters)

Michael Mazzacane: After the effective tension of the last strip, the follow-up was inevitably going to be something different. Did I expect an exercise in Old World Hillbillies? Not at all. The social and class comedy in this strip was not all that effective; it hit the notes you’d expect but lacked any sense of charm. The heavy use of writing in dialect made the sequence more confusing to read than anything, but that is also likely a “me” problem. All of which obscures the simple plot maneuvers the strip needed to get through to push the narrative forward.

The opening page is probably one of the most effective in the strip as the Judicial eyes on Zane get a report on his apparent death outside of Mega City One. Colin MacNeil’s heavy use of black and silhouettes has been very effective when it comes to portraying the Judges, they’re anonymized in a way that main “Dredd” strips cannot because of their position as protagonists. In “Surfer” this function is inverted; they are, at best, a lawful evil set of antagonists Zane is up against. Who they are doesn’t matter, it’s about what they represent that does.

The surreal splash page about halfway through the strip is technically well done. A stained glass and puzzle piece breakdown of the story so far and all its stressors. It is a shocking image that is justified in the narrative. It also feels like the creative team needed to pad out the strip a bit or had a page to fill. The recurring image of Pop makes it more than a one-and-done in terms of imagery and ties it more into the strip, but my feelings on splash pages in “2000 AD” strips have been covered plenty of times. This is not one of their better uses.

Zane’s realization that he has become a drug mule is a nice reveal. Of course, he is just a drug mule! This appears to be just drug smuggling, not some super conspiracy, just pulpy kid in over-his-head storytelling. The tease for the next entry is enticing: now he has to get back in.

//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).


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!


Michael Mazzacane

Your Friendly Neighborhood Media & Cultural Studies-Man Twitter


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


Greg Lincoln


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