REVIEW: Judge Dredd Megazine #382

Publisher: 2000AD/Rebellion
Writers: TC Eglington, Alan Grant, Si Spencer, Dan Abnett
Artists: Boo Cook, Paul Marshall, Jake Lynch, Phil Winslade
Colourists: Dylan Teague, Eva De La Cruz
Release Date: UK & Digital OUT NOW, North America 15 April 2017

Price: UK £5.99, North America $13.00

Judge Dredd Megazine #382
Rebellion

‘Happy Birthday to you, happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Judge Dredd, happy Birthday to you!’! Okay, now you can thank your lucky stars you didn’t actually have to listen to me sing that little ditty and simply bask in the unadulterated, gob-smacking knowledge that Judge Dredd has been in print continuously for the last forty years!

They say if you can remember the sixties, you weren’t there but if you can remember the debut of Judge Dredd at least you know the nurses haven’t screwed up your meds again. I’ll pause now whilst those long term aficionados run off to their attic/garage/shed and check just how many of those hundreds and thousands of issues they still have in pristine plastic bags. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-dum.

Okay? All finished? Well, if the thought of missing even a single issue in the future brings you out in a cold sweat, those nice people at 2000AD are giving you the chance to subscribe to 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Megazine and in return they will send you a really Zarjaz t-shirt. If you are already a subscriber, tough luck, this offer is only for newbies.

Created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra, Judge Dredd first appeared in the second issue of 2000 AD (1977) and he’s been there ever since surviving team-ups with Batman, video and role-playing games, two big screen appearances and, in 2012, was one of ten British comics characters to appear on a series of stamps issued by the Royal mail! Not bad for a humble clone from the bad side of town. Not that Mega City One has a good side of town since Judge Dredd’s world is a post-apocalyptic America, which was a bold move on behalf of his creators since many would argue that the style and ethos of Judge Dredd is quintessentially British. By placing Judge Dredd in the heartland of the comic book industry itself, it’s almost like they were saying; “you can keep your capes and tights, this is how it should be done!” And no-one has had the guts to contradict them in forty years. Way to go guys!

One other way in which Judge Dredd differs from every other comic book hero is that he ages in real time. Which means he in now seventy years old. “Happy Birthday to you…” Oh, yea, I already did that. How Dredd’s age will be handled in the future is anybody’s guess, but for now he’s hale and hearty and busting perps like he did back in 1977, in the era of Punk Rock and Saturday Night Fever.

Which brings me (finally, you might say) to Judge Dredd Megazine #382. Like its predecessors, Judge Dredd Megazine #382 is a massive 132-page compilation title comprising several stories, interviews, extras and promos for other top titles. Here’s just a sample of a few of the delights on offer. First up is Big Meg, featuring the birthday boy himself, written by TC Eglington and drawn by Boo Cook. Although, to be accurate, the real star of this tale is Megan Taylor, Big Meg herself, a citizen of Mega City One for all those historic forty years, she’s currently in the hands of organ leggers but fiercely proud of her neighbourhood despite the hard life she has led and determined to save it at any cost. As Meg reminisces about her life we get a snapshot of life in Mega City One from the unique viewpoint of one of the background people who are so vital to the Judge Dredd mythos but who seldom get the praise they deserve. Big Meg helps to re-dress that balance somewhat and gives us a cracking good tale to boot.

Next up is Havn by Si Spencer and Jake Lynch. Set in Nu-Iceland (the country, not the shop) Havn is a hermetically sealed community with an artificially sustained environment all controlled by a computer network called ASKJA. Havn gives us mutant bears, a feisty heroine called Abbey and lots of nice blue colour tones to denote the freezing temperatures. Too soon to tell where this is all heading but it has some nice hooks to make us want to read more.

Dragon Blood Part 3, features Judge Anderson of Psi Division and is brought to you courtesy of Alan Grant and Paul Marshall. Investigating an underground civilisation whose inhabitants mated with an ages old dragon race and are just waiting for their chance to rule the world once again, our mind-blowing Judge finds herself out-gunned in the psi department for once and ends up in mortal peril.

Then Judge Dredd Megazine #382 gives us the Dan Abnett, Phil Winslade black and white offering Lawless in which Marshal Meta Lawson is having just another bad day trying to rebuild the town of Badrock to keep it safe from the predators lurking in the surrounding Badlands.

There is plenty more in Judge Dredd Megazine #382 to whet your appetite if you’re still undecided about that subscription offer (the t-shirt is cool) or this may just confirm what you already know: Judge Dredd may be the oldest law bringer in town but he still rocks!

Happy Birthday Joe and many more of them too. Another 40 years? Why not!

 

 

 

Reviewer: Gary Orchard
Reviews Editor: Steve Hooker

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