Monday, 30 November 2009
Second post, I'm on a roll now !
I am going to review last months issue (290) of the Judge Dredd Megazine. The Megazine is the bread to the buttery goodness of 2000 AD (please dont use your comics to clean up butter spillage), its the Yin to 2000 AD's Yang, its the ....... well you get the point. Coming out on a monthly basis the megazine was originally made as a spillover for 2000 AD, to further expand the Dredd universe and showcase other works of other creators from the main publication.
I've got a couple of fairly old megazines and I have to say they dont stand well to the test of time paper-quality wise, the few I have from my early days as a comic addict looks like zombified toilet paper. I started buying the megazine pretty much the same time as I started getting 2000 AD reguarly again, it just seems wrong to buy one and then not the other.
This months Megazine has a picture of Bato Loco, a Latino-flavoured strip set in Mega City One. The picture is by Peter Doherty (the one thats a great artist but not also a smackhead). Cool picture in my opinion, but then again its hard to go wrong with militant prostitutes and a psychotic-looking dog. Onto the contents of the Megazine ....
First strip up is Dredd. He's in this cursed earth this time facing off against an old foe, Snake Eyes, a gigantic man-snake (insert knob gag here). It's an action packed issue with lots of the red stuff and an especially good panel involving a wall and a truck full of Mutant Moonshine. The inclusion of the renegade Judge Rogan as a tracker to Dredd's cursed earth group is an especially nice touch and this guy is just screaming out for a strip of his own.
Next up is Tank Girl. You might have seen the film with Lori Petty (one of those so bad its kinda good but also still quite bad type of films), if you havent consider yourself one of the lucky ones. The strip however is a bit like marmite, you either love it or you hate it. I personally think its okay, some of the issues have been bad, others have been good. When Tank Girl is good its very good and actually makes me laugh out loud (which can be a bit wierd for people sitting around me). But when its bad, it can actually cause the reader physical pain and should be handled with care. Ok so i'm joking about that last bit, but sometimes it does become very hard to follow. This months one is luckily in the first category and the opening half of the strip is in a word : cool. It see's Tank Girl's Mutant Kangaroo husband Booga go for psychiatric help after jamming a gun in a donut shop assistants face for asking if he wants sprinkles. Its a good little opening and it made me laugh out loud, scaring my flatmate. The second half is written with illustrations and is pretty funny, althought I would have preferred to see this in panels, the illustrations dont do the words justice (and I want to actually see Tank Girl 'smoking a doobie' as she puts it).
Next up is the aforementioned Bato Loco. The first page is of Bato Loco falling through the mega city skyline with an armed buxom latina woman flying after him. Cant really go wrong there as an opener. Its a funny strip and it sets up the story for a nice twist next month.
Last but by no means least is Armitage. This one is set in Dredd's world as well and features a future Britain (Brit-Cit). The main character is Armitage (basically the sweeney but in the future), a Brit-Cit plainclothes Judge with a penchant to let his fists do the talking. Armitage is a bit like a cop-procedural, but basically with twists involving bio-engineered monsters and shady future mega-corporations instead of say, a purse thief. Armitage is also this months free graphic novel supplement as well so basically enough armitage to gorge yourself on (please dont eat your comics).
All in all last months megazine was a good buy (bit pricey at £4.99 but what can i say ? I am an addict) and had a decent armitage-shaped graphic novel supplement.
Im going to try and post a bit more over christmas so watch this space .....
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
OK guys here is my first review !
I have chosen to do last weeks issue of 2000 AD (prog 1657), the popular British Comic published by Rebellion. For anyone who doesn't follow 2000 AD, its one of Britain's longest serving sci-fi/fantasy comics; the home of characters like Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog: Johnny Alpha and ABC Warriors. Its also a big hotbed of talent with lots of the artists and writers going on to work in major roles within the comics and film industry.
I first picked up a copy of 2000 AD when I was about 10 (I'm 23 now, damn I feel old !). I cant really remember what attracted me to pick up my first issue, I think I was going on a long trip and needed something to read in the car so I grabbed it and within the first few pages I knew I was onto a winner. I have collected it pretty much on and off since, but the last year or so I have stepped it up a gear and I pretty much buy any related merchandise (I still haven't found a Judge Dredd brand Vegetable Steamer but my quest continues ....).
Its got a great mix of stories, the artwork is phenomenal and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who hasn't ever read it or is into all the superhero comics but is looking for something with a different take on the medium.
Anyway, to the job in hand. Here is the cover for prog 1657. Drawn by Henry Flint and Mike Mc Mahon, it shows Shakara, the last remnant of a long dead alien species that has been regenerated to give vengeance to those that destroyed his race. Cracking cover in my opinion, but then again I'm biased as Shakara is one of my favourite strips in the comic !
The actual content of the comic itself is, as always, top quality. Things kick off with a strip for the popular character Judge Dredd (you may have seen the Stallone movie, if you havent .... your lucky !). Dredd makes an appearance in 2000 AD every week and it is around his canonical universe that many strips, in both 2000 AD and its sister the Judge Dredd Megazine, are set. I'm a fool for Dredd, I think his characterisation is spot on; he's a brilliant heroic figure but you wouldn't want him to be around if your say, robbing a bank or urinating in public (both of these I heartily discourage any reader from doing, especially both at the same time). The major story arc for Dredd at the moment sees the city he polices (Mega City One) adopting new anti-mutant laws and evicting all those with genetic disorders to a new settlement in the Cursed Earth (most of the area outside the mega cities of Dredds world is considerably less than 5* accommodation). Its an interesting direction the story is going and shows that Dredd is as much about blowing perps away as it is about politics and morals.
Next strip is Shakara (The angry looking guy in the picture at the top). As I mentioned earlier Shakara is one of my favourite strips, as much for the artwork as the storyline. Really good read and so many cool bits in it that I pretty much order you to stop reading this and get down to your local comic shop and get a hold of this prog. There have been some big revelations over the past few weeks with Shakara and I expect there are a few more to come yet.
The next story is Kingdom. Not too sure whats happening in this one as I missed out on the first book of it, but in a nutshell it seems to be basically Mad Max with dogs instead of people and giant horrible bugs instead of amateur leather fetishists. I enjoy the artwork and I am going to try and get hold of the Graphic Novel of the first book so I can make sense of all the doggie/giant bug shenanigans. One thing to point out is that I could tell about 3 issues ago that the little dog/chihuahua/man-thing was evil ! All Chihuahua's are evil - that is a fact.
Next up is Necrophim, a grim and moody strip about servidtude in hell under Lucifer. I caught the first part of it in 2000 AD and it was pretty good. I seem to remember my favourite part was when Lucifer was bumming a lady with a pigs head. Brilliant stuff ! Anyway, this part of the series see's Uriel, Lucifer's chosen warrior, returning to hell after defeating Jotunheim. He has returned to not such a warm welcome as one would expect from a realm consisted mainly of fire. Its left on a cliffhanger so I am pretty stoked to see what will happen next week.
Last, but by no means least, is Johnny Alpha in Strontium Dogs. I like Alpha generally but I am finding this story a bit of a chore. Its basically about a rich, megalomaniacal father who is hunting for his mutant son, conveniently kidnapped and taken halfway across the galaxy by his mother. Of course Alpha and his bunch of mutant bounty hunters are hot on the trail and it looks like its coming to head next issue. This is definitely a must for hardcore Johnny Alpha fans but give it a wide berth if stories about intergalactic bounty-hunting mutants arent your thing (Who the hell am I kidding, if its not your thing what the heck are you doing reading this blog ?! Go read Good Housekeeping or something ...)
So yeah, all in all a very good prog, strong stories, good characters and little to complain about. 2000 AD can be purchased from most good newsagents and I wouldnt worry if you cant find it in your local comic shop - if they dont sell it they will probably go out of business for being idiots. Its priced at £1.90 and is out every wedensday. I just wee'd myself a bit because I have realised that its out tommorow. Thats literally how excited I get about this comic. Also worth mentioning is the Judge Dredd Megazine, out monthly and a bit heftier at £4.99 but still very much worth your worthless earth pounds. Its a bit thicker, has good interviews and reviews from the industry and it also comes with a graphic novel of reprints every month, which saves all the addicts like me rooting through back issues like a crack-addled tramp going through the bins at Mc Donalds. I think thats a good note to end on so hope you enjoyed reading and I will post some more reviews and stuff in the future.