The Monthly Megazine Issue #445: Ask Anderson

The Monthly Megazine – doing just what it says, taking you through the latest goings-on in the sister monthly to 2000 AD, 30+ years and still going strong!

Rachael Stott with a stunning bit of cover artwork

Inside the June Megazine we have the first part of Judge Dredd: Regicide, running straight on from last month’s Q-Topia, with Dredd abandoned on the Black Atlantic seabed. Alongside that, there’s the final part of Diamond Dogs, the penultimate episode of Death Cap, more Lawless, and a brand-new Judge Anderson saga beginning right here.

Judge Dredd Megazine Issue #445 is out wherever great comics are sold on Wednesday 15th June.

JUDGE DREDD: REGICIDE – PART 1 – Arthur Wyatt and Jake Lynch, colours by Jim Boswell, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Last Meg, there was Q-Topia, with Maitland and Dredd off to Koko Cabana, the ape-run casino off Krong Island, Maitland to bring it under MC-1 jurisdiction in another sting against The Red Queen and Dredd in an operation against Quaganon, one of The Red Queen’s hired assassins from The Hard Way. For Dredd, that didn’t exactly go too well, leaving him stranded on the bottom of the Black Atlantic.

All of which brings us to the start of Regicide and Dredd waking up in his own little version of Squid Game, trapped in a labyrinth with a lot of loaded combatants locked in some bizarre gladiatorial thing with, it turns out, a load of familiar faces.

Meanwhile, Maitland’s coordinated op on the Red Queen is going incredibly well: “the whole Reine Rouge house of cards is coming down.’”All except one, Nu Jakarta, and that’s where Maitland reckons the Red Queen will be holed up.

Except that’s where the problems begin and where everything comes together so well in these Arthur Wyatt Dredds. Because Wyatt, along with Rory McConville and Rob Williams, has been putting together a lot of out of Mega-City One storylines and created their own complex (yet very enjoyable) political dramas in Dreddworld. The reason Maitland’s seeing a problem is that Nu Jakarta is effectively Hondo City controlled and, thanks to the Project Providence cock-up seen in recent Megazines, they’ll turn a blind eye to the Red Queen there.

But there’s the risk that Maitland’s getting too close to this one and wants to go in without Dredd, wants to finish it once and for all. And she doesn’t know where Dredd is – any guesses anyone?

Bloody great start, bringing it all together so well, the split storylines of Dredd and Maitland coming together, of course, all in pursuit of the Red Queen, with some great writing from Wyatt and a pleasure to see Jake Lynch back on the Red Queen saga as well.

DEATH CAP – PART 7 – TC Eglington, Boo Cook, letters by Simon Bowland

Well, Death Cap really is just sublime isn’t it? Last episode was a revelation from Boo Cook in letting the art carry the story, a stunning piece of work telling the tale across multiple times of the Grubb’s Fungus and its infection of the Cursed Earth. And it all ended with this little revelation…

Yep, Grubb’s Fungus could transform the Cursed Earth. But it couldn’t be that simple, could it? Well, in this episode you discover that it’s way more complex, with the fully transformed Shaman having a long-term plan to replenish the Fungus, give it even more radiation to feed off, to spread across the entire continent.

Goya, infected yet not completely taken over, dying but still with fight left in her, has other plans.

Like I say, it’s just an incredible thing, all credit to TC Eglington for sure, but the collaboration between him and Cook, not to mention all that Cook has brought to the strip is simply amazing. Obviously, given what’s happened/happening to Goya, you have to see this one as a strip that just can’t have a sequel, but let’s just enjoy it for what it is, how great it is, an exploration of mortality and nature, writer and artist in total synergy. One more episode to go…

DIAMOND DOGS: BOOK THREE – PART 7 – FINAL PART – James Peaty, Warren Pleece, letters by Simon Bowland

As Nia Jones says in the first couple of pages, this one’s all about tying up loose ends and making sure the lights are turned out. The finale to Diamond Dogs is suitably low-key, mopping up after the climactic events of last episode, Peaty and Pleece giving Nia the ending she had to have… well, pretty much anyway.

Before then, with her cover blown and her days in Brit-Cit done, Armitage manages to be all the support you’d expect…

Although it does give us this glorious moment…

The ending… well, it’s perhaps not quite as downbeat as I was expecting, but it does put a real end to Nia’s Brit Cit life for sure.

Across the three series of Diamond Dogs, it’s been a good ride, Peaty and Pleece exploring more of Brit Cit – and yes, an Armitage follow up would be great to see from the pair of them.

ANDERSON, PSI-DIVISION: DISSOLUTION – PART 1 – Maura McHugh, Lee Carter, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Cassandra Anderson, a legend in Mega-City One, one of psi-division’s most experienced and powerful officers, and one with a habit of going just that little bit rogue.

Case in point, now she’s in trouble with her superiors, having let a friend abscond. All of which leads into a flashback to current Psi-Div Chief Shenker on a call with Anderson, the call which led to his getting the top job. But with that title and the fact of Anderson and Ryan currently in Psi Holding Cells, you can’t help but think McHugh and Carter have big plans for the whole of Psi-Div here.

It’s the follow-up to Maura McHugh and Lee Carter’s one-off Anderson tale from 2000 AD Prog 2250, Be Psi-ing You – one that’s reprinted here, with Lee Carter taking the chance to remaster the artwork, as well as 2019’s The Dead Run series.

I had this to say about Prog 2250’s Be Psi-ing You:

“What we have here is both epilogue to the Sci-Fi Special and McHugh setting things up for more Anderson. And hopefully, we’ll be getting a big Anderson series from McHugh very soon – she’s proving herself most adept at getting the character right, and the ending here is no ending at all, more a set-up for all she seems to have planned.”

And that, thankfully, is exactly what we’re getting here, another script from Maura McHugh where she shows just how involved she is with Anderson and, alongside more particularly strong artwork from Lee Carter, she’s in the mood to create an Anderson series for now.

LAWLESS: BALLOTS OVER BADROCK – PART 7 – Dan Abnett, Phil Winslade, letters by Jim Campbell

Is it all going wrong in Badrock? Well, it certainly seems to be given the first few pages of this one, with Deputy Nerys Pettifer about to go on the record with what she believes in the corruption at the highest levels.

She documents her thinking, giving us a handy little story-so-far moment at the same time, telling us all about ex-Marshal Metta Lawson’s fall from grace and all the threats to Badrock’s status as a free trade zone.

So we cover Brotherly and the Getz Corp’s exclusive trading deal with the Zhind, the convenient arrangements of Brotherly and SJS McClure, the Judge whose plans to weaponise Badrock’s fuana for wider use by the Justice Deptartment needs Brotherley’s labs to work. Then there’s Nerys’ fears that organised crime is running a protection racket through Badrock, all run through the mysterious Mr Smith, who also seemingly had his grubby hands all over the Mayoral elections.

And then there’s the vigilante problem… as we were shown last issue…

Now, with Nerys reporting all of this, there’s two ways it could go, right? Either the honest and law-abiding SJS are going to take her findings as they are and do something about it… or, the corrupt and in the pocket of the big Corporation SJS are going to take her findings as they are and do something about it.

Yeah, which one do you think is going to happen? Oh Nerys, you’re opening Pandora’s Box right here.

As you’d expect from Lawless, this one’s another great episode, one that sums up so well for readers, pulls everything together so beautifully, and sets us off in more new directions. And of course, Winslade’s art is just simply perfection in highly detailed b&w.

 

 

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