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Review: Megazine 343

Published On December 22, 2013 | By Richard Bruton | General

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Oh, that’s a classic Cliff Robinson Dredd cover. Love it.

Inside….

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Ordinary by Rob Williams and D’Israeli

Okay, I admit it, this is the reason I’m actually here. I made a pledge a while back to ignore the Megazine, a self preservation thing, not enough hours in the day to look at all the comics I had to review, plus a weekly commitment to 2000AD and The Phoenix, no time to commit to a monthly review of the Megazine.

And then came Ordinary. Dammit. So ridiculous, so over the top, so silly, so funny, so good. The tale of the only non superpowered man left in the world after an event that sees everyone else struggling to cope with new found powers, some utterly ridiculous, some incredibly terrifying.

This episode we open with a quick glance around the world, overrun with gigantic visions; crusaders over Jerusalem, guitar heroes over Srinagar, something Godzilla-ish over Seoul. Meanwhile, back in the good ol’ U S of A, we get this…

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It goes on…

“You failed at your marriage”
“You failed at your life”
“I screwed that waitress and caught pubic lice!”
“Your wife threw you out because of what you’d done”
“Now please tell us all why you don’t see your son”

And not long after that Michael Fisher, the most ordinary man in this world gone superpower mad, wakes up. Still looking for his son, still on his own, still ordinary.

Meanwhile, down in DC, the quest for a non-superpowered individual is not going too well….

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“Ok, this man shows absolutely no sign of having any powers whatsoever, and he’s the only one reported thus far.”
“Blood checks and DNA are done. You’ve comprehensively physically and psychologically tested him and you’ve kept him in a hermetically sealed, completely clinical environment throughout the process”
“Yes Dr Macdonald.”
“So why, exactly, does he have a pint of beer in his hand, then?”

Falling off the chair laughing is possibly an exaggeration, but dear god, this is funny. But Williams isn’t content with just one gag, nope, this just keeps going, a masterful display of dialogue building layers upon layers, and all accompanied of course with D’Israeli outdoing himself on the inspired visuals, giving full reign to all manner of bizarre and frankly idiotic superpowered freaks.

Yes, Ordinary continues to be the thing I come to the Megazine for. Thankfully, there’s other pretty good stuff in here to keep me around.

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Judge Dredd – Michael Carroll and Duane Leslie

Okay, Carroll is a great Dredd writer. This actually tangentially crosses over with his Dredd tale in the Prog 2014 issue. Clever touch. very nice.

But this is a simple tale, of an old lady there to remind us just how damn old Dredd really is, an old lady just two years older than Dredd, who doesn’t so much blame Joe for all the bad things in her life, but can certainly make a connection. The latest connection is that he’s shown up with a squad for a random crime blitz, which she maintains is all about getting her out of her block, last resident standing before demolition.

Tie all that in to the inept crime gang who show up at the old lady’s door by mere chance and you almost know where this one is going….

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Big firefight. Oh yes. But the ending is bittersweet. Carroll does a grand job of this, as you’d expect, he has the tone of Dredd just right. Leslie’s art… not so sure of. Little rough, little lacking in the basics, especially at the beginning, but it just about carries it off.

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DeMarco P.I. by Michael Carroll and Steve Yeowell

You last saw Galen DeMarco in the pages of Trifecta, the ex-Judge now working as a private investigator. Here, Michael Carroll involves her in his Mega-City One world, revisiting the idea of the new Sov Sector in Mega-City Two, where Sov citizens have been shunted to, after their forced removal from MC-1 in Carroll’s recent serial. It’s good to see Carroll carrying through his ideas, and I’ve long said that Carroll has a real idea of the underlying socio-political structure of the world of Judge Dredd et al, so seeing him revisit his ideas here is a good, good thing.

In addition, he’s setting this up well as an interesting bit of Dredd-world noir, with DeMarco investigating the disappearance of one of the SovSec citizens. Problem is SovSec is on the brink, near boiling over, 130,000 pissed off Sov cits, and less than 200 Judges to keep the lid on things. This feels like it could be great, albeit in a small scale fashion.

Yeowell’s artwork hasn’t been working for me for a while in the strips I’ve seen in 2000AD lately, but here he’s getting a little more detail in his art, and it works well. Enjoyable stuff.

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Anderson Psi Division: Dead End Part One – Alan Grant and Michael Dowling

I really didn’t care much for Grant’s last turn at Cadet Anderson, but it’s good to see a return to Anderson proper, and although I’m not entirely sure of this one yet, there’s much in here to keep me reading, mostly because Grant peels Anderson away from the hustle and bustle of a case involving a coachload of dead kids and heads off to solitude and reflection. That, and seeing a weary Anderson respond to the situation with a business as usual Dredd is what makes this a cut above Grant’s recent works. There’s far more of a sense that this is thought out, not necessarily a by the numbers thing.

Artistically Dowling’s doing good, and nearly great, things here. Love the sequence below of Anderson in quiet repose, the body language in that first panel just perfect, the close-up in panel 2 not so much, but the final two panels make it a wow.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

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