Covers: Simon Davis on the Prog vs Cameron Stewart on the Meg.
This is S.P.Davis' 3rd Slaine cover of this particular run and probably my least favourite as Slaine struggles to catch the fish that got away while pursued by blobs of paint. I enjoyed his 1882 wraparound the most, although the Sinead profile on 1880 was the better piece of art. Meanwhile on the Meg Stewart gives us a lovely cartoony depiction of Dredd and MC1 with Anderson giving it a bit of the James McAvoy as Professor Xavier.
Result 1-0 to the Megazine
Judge Dredd: Trauma Town by Carroll and Percival vs Rad to the Bone by Eglington and Cook
I'm still not impressed by the Rad to the Bone storyline, especially with the amount of physical damage Dredd has sustained yet he continues standing and fighting. He gets a new helmet and everything is all hunky dory again, plus there is another medically inappropriate use of adrenaline as the get out of jail card for Dredd which just annoys me. I like seeing another of Dredd's tough female sidekicks but apart from that this story has been a dud, and goodness only knows what Smiley is there for other than to give Hershey someone to vacillate with. Over in the Prog it's a different ball game with Carroll and Percival's fantastic Trauma Town just ruling the roost. In Mega-City One the night is dark and curdled with nightmares (no-prize if you know what Alan Moore story that line is borrowed from) and it looks like Dredd is the epicentre of the psychic earthquake. This is just compelling stuff. Pity it wraps up next week.
Result 1-1 and all to play for.
Terror Tales: Done Deal by Alec Worley, Tom Foster and Ellie De Ville Vs Two Tons of Trouble by David Baillie, Eoin Coveney and Ellie De Ville
Tom Foster won the Thought Bubble art competition and gets his first try out in the Prog on this four page terror from Mr Worley. In retrospect the twist may seem a bit obvious but it doesn't detract from a clever little tale expertly told. The black and white art is very detailed and looks great. The visual sound effect of the slap at the top of the second page is particularly well done. I doff my cap to Mr Foster, and to Tharg for giving him his shot. Hopefully he's drawing a five page Future Shock as we speak. In the Meg we get a rather pedestrian tale of Two Ton Tony that takes nine pages and overstays its welcome. Nothing terrible but very dull in comparison.
Result. The Prog comes from behind to go ahead 2-1
Slaine: A Simple Killing by Pat Mills and Simon Davis Vs The Man from the Ministry by Gordon Rennie, Kev Hopgood and Simon Bowland.
The best complete Slaine tale I've ever read wraps up, and it's all about that last panel which is brutal but not in the way we have come to expect from Slaine. An older but not necessarily wiser Slaine sags to his knees as the weight of family defeats him when giants with axes could not. It leaves me eager for his return.
In the Meg the fantastic Man from the Ministry continues to mix Churchill, Dan Dare and Quatermass, and throw in a dollop of Lovecraft. I love it.
Result. A tie, can't decide between them. The score remains 2-1 to the Prog
Grey Area by Dan Abnett, Mark Harrison and Annie Parkhouse Vs Anderson: Dead End by Alan Grant, Michael Dowling and Simon Bowland.
Very tricky as Grey Area looks great and Alan Grant's destination episode is not quite as good as the journey that got us there. Both are enjoyable stories but Dowling's art and Dredd pulling off another of his signature richochet shots swings the vote.
Result. The Megazine claws back to 2-2
Indigo Prime by John Smith, Lee Carter and Simon Bowland Vs Karyn by John Freeman, Adrian Salmon and Gordon Robson.
Indigo Prime continues to look wonderful but I have no idea what's going on other than the elderly Nazi wants to mess with the Crucifixion in Behold the Man fashion for some reason. And everyone seems to have a magic word that allows them to change reality.
In the free floppy there's an interesting bit of black and white experimentation that includes Peter Cushing as an exorcist Judge. I suspect if I could get over my ingrained prejudice against the floppy I would actually enjoy this one quite a bit. But in the meantime the crazy art on Indigo Prime scores the injury time winner and the final result is 3-2. Victory for the Prog while the Megazine hangs its head for another four weeks.