Thursday, May 13, 2010

134. Judge Dredd Should Fight Tyrannosaur Men More Often

January 2004: This week, one of those short entries I promised myself that I would write. Over in the Megazine, editor Alan Barnes has, without question, turned the comic into the best it has ever been, with an exciting, fresh balance of really good new comics and a handful of very good reprints. Of particular interest is a new series called Whatever Happened To, which are one-offs done by a rotating bank of creators following up on old characters from the pages of Judge Dredd. First up is Pat Mills and Chris Weston showing that Dredd is still looking out for Tweak, the snouted alien who helped the lawman way back in the 1978 epic "The Cursed Earth," and this issue, we've got Gordon Rennie and Graham Manley introducing us to Maria, Dredd's housekeeper from the strip's early days, who has passed away with a surprising secret.

I really like Whatever Happened To and wish they still did these. Part of it's personal nostalgia - when I was a kid, there was a similar series that appeared as an eight-page backup in the pages of DC Comics Presents that I always liked - and part of it's the tone that the creators employ. Each episode is thoughtful, but it's never slavishly reverent. There's a terrific one by Si Spurrier and Roger Langridge in a few months' time which that revisits that lunatic cooking droid that made Chopper miserable for a couple of episodes during the 1987-88 "Oz" epic, and it's just one over-the-top laugh after another.

Another really interesting thing about the Meg during this period is that Pat Mills is writing Dredd again.

The guv'nor never really gets Dredd's voice quite right, but "Blood of Satanus II" - a sequel to a three-parter that was drawn by Ron Smith in 1980 - is the first of some occasional Dredd stories that Mills will contribute to both the Meg and, later, the weekly. Some of these will prove to be a little controversial. This time out, the art is provided by Duke Mighten.

Speaking of Pat Mills, did you know that a second hardcover collection of The ABC Warriors was out? In case you missed it, here is my review. Spread the word, as they say!

Next time, there's really no way to get around it, we have to address this Valkyries business. See you in seven!

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