The Monthly Megazine Issue #435: Like A Vamp Out Of Hell

by Richard Bruton

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!

Cover by Alex Ronald

The latest Megazine hits shops and digital on 18th August – with all the strips keeping on keeping on, which means we get more Dredd, more Diamond Dogs, more Returners, more Angelic, and more of the magnificent Devlin Waugh, with the notorious vamp dandy down in hell and signing away his soul.

Right then. Off we go…

 

JUDGE DREDD: PROJECT PROVIDENCE – PART 4 – Rory McConville, Staz Johnson, colours by Pippa Bowland, letters by Annie Parkhouse

Always good to have a longer-running Dredd here in the Megazine, and this one is turning into a really great longer Megazine Dredd, with at least four issues worth of great espionage and time travel tales happening.

Thus far, we’ve seen that the Tek Judges have been developing a time travel project, Project Providence, where a specialised set of Chrono-Agents have been sent six months into the future to send back the secrets of other Mega City’s future tech. Unfortunately, the other Mega City’s have noticed that MC-1 somehow manages to get their tech almost as soon as they develop it and one of them, Sino-Cit, has taken action, with an agent in MC-1 breaking into Project Providence and stealing its secrets.

This issue Dredd is on the case and on the trail of the running Sino-Cit agent. Essentially, this means we get page after glorious page of Staz Johnson doing a chase scene, which looks bloody wonderful.

 

There’s a sense of McConville carving out his own little bit of Dredd here, with a longer story that surely can’t help but have ramifications on a bigger scale. But more than that, I’m loving the whole idea of it all, the political stuff and the notion of MC-1 being so backward in the world, thanks to the ongoing effects of Chaos Day, something it would be, in other comics, far too easy to simply forget about and move on from. But McConville has taken all that and spun a great idea out of it, the notion that MC-1 is so far behind other cities that they’re losing the tech arms race.

DIAMOND DOGS – BOOK 2 – PART 5 – James Peaty, Warren Pleece, letters by Simon Bowland

Brit-Cit, 2142 AD. Young Nia Jones is/was a Justice Department informer as well as running with the infamous Diamond Dogs. Now, her Brit-Cit Justice Dept handler has her assassinating DuPont, one of the big Euro-Cit Crime Union bosses.

Which is where we’re at right now, with Nia standing over DuPont’s body, not realising just how badly she’s been screwed over.

Not that that’s a surprise to us – Peaty had shown us that at the end of the last episode. But it’s just how he then shifts the pieces about in this tale of the Brit-Cit underworld that’s turning this into a fun strip, so much of it down to Warren Pleece’s artwork, which is just gorgeous to behold.

By the episode’s end, we’re down another rabbit hole, with Nia’s little inheritance from her dad proving way more valuable than she first thought… plots and plans and revenge all coming together for the second half of the series.

ANGELIC: RESTITUTION – PART 2 – Gordon Rennie, Lee Carter, letters by Annie Parkhouse

The Texas Radlands, 2077. The return of “Angel”, making a new life out in the Cursed Earth with his adopted son Linc and the strange mutant known only as the Varmint.

But both Linc and the Varmint have disappeared, kidnapped, and Angel’s having to track them down. Problem is, Linc’s back in the mining camp, with a possible Rad-plague infection, and the Varmint has been sold on to the Carny show heading off into the town of Restitution.

 

So, first things first, Angel’s off to Restitution, with Rennie and Carter in full on wild west mode, complete with a gorgeous page from Carter of Angel walking his horse into town – a classic riff on the cowboy coming into town, with Carter’s thin lines and sumptuous colours really adding to the whole vibe of this slow-burn series.

THE RETURNERS – AMAZONIA – PART 4 – Si Spencer, Nicolo Assirelli, colours by Eva De La Cruz, letters by Jim Campbell

So, the four Returners are back in South-Am, meeting the locals, and trying to work out just what the hell is going on.

Well, at least three of them are. The third? The ex-Judge?

I do love just how well Assirelli does the facial expression in that second panel – is she dead? Was she eaten? One thing we know by now with the Returners is that things often shift around and are rarely as they seem – and the Returners themselves should know that they usually manage to land themselves in worse shite than they were in before. All of which brings us to the final page and things are looking bad, bad, bad.

As before, with the Returners, there’s a sense that Spencer was freewheeling this one, letting the storyline drift along and meander, letting Assirelli’s artwork carry so much of the storytelling. Granted, it’s gorgeous bloody artwork, but I’m always left feeling that there’s more to this than we get every month. Perhaps, just perhaps, in a collection this one will come together more, freed from the monthly publication.

DEVLIN WAUGH: THE RECKONING – PART 4 – Ales Kot, Mike Dowling, letters by Simon Bowland

Everyone’s favourite vamp is down in hell, having a Devlin in hell, having a little chat about selling bits of his soul with the Lord of Lies.

Now, this being Devlin, you can’t help but think he’s got this one covered, got a plan in the back of his mind, but this time he’s up against the Lord of Lies… so things are just that little less certain this time around.

In fact, Ales Kot really twists and turns in this chapter to keep us guessing, waiting to see which one of the ultimate con men gets the upper hand. It’s wonderfully well done, an in-between chapter, a conversation, a sizing-up exercise, but you can’t help but love seeing it all play out.

And of course, it all takes place with Mike Dowling drawing it all, full of incredible imagery, deep and dark reds and blacks all over it. This one just reads and looks incredible.