Covers: Jake Lynch on the Prog Vs Ben Willsher on the Meg.
Two pure Dredd covers with Ben Willsher delivering his first version of the Dredd movie costume. These are two great images but for some reason it's the newcomer Jake Lynch who narrowly edges this one for me with a beautiful moment of Dredd on the Lawmaster.
Result: 1-0 to the Prog.
Judge Dredd: Cascade by Michael Carroll, Paul Marshall, Gary Caldwell and Annie Parkhouse Vs Dead Zone by John Wagner, Henry Flint and Annie Parkhouse.
Wow this is a tough one. I love what Michael Carroll is doing in the Prog and how he's bringing in Dollman and Gideon Dallas again. I'm very tempted to give the win to him and Paul Marshall for the slow build of tension this Cascade tale is creating. But Wagner and Flint and a bunch of Radlander crazies mining grave pits for terrible treasure is just too good too miss. Henry Flint is a genius and does things with colours and panel lay outs that sets him almost too far out in front of other art art droids. Seriously if you're not reading the Megazine you should be getting it just for Flint's artwork in this story alone.
Result: 1-1 and it's going to be a close contest this month.
Aquila by Gordon Rennie, Leigh Gallagher, Dylan Teague and Annie Parkhouse Vs Lawless by Dan Abnett, Phil Winslade and Ellie De Ville.
I quite enjoyed Aquila battling Electro as he works his way through the Sinister Six, and I like how this is all tied into the history of early Christianity and Roman legends. Meanwhile Marshall Lawson continues to deliver frontier justice in black and white. I still think her ponytail is impractical and her low slung belt looks sexy but would surely fall off as soon as she starts moving. However it's comic book art and we can accept all this because the story and world building are interesting, and it's nice of Steptoe and Son to make an appearance.
Result: 1-2 to the Megazine
Brass Sun by Ian Edgington, INJ Culbard and Ellie De Ville Vs The Man from the Ministry by Gordon Rennie, Kev Hopgood and Simon Bowland.
I love how Culbard is constantly changing the colour palate as the protagonists move into each new world or ecosystem. I know people are finding this series slow moving and it does read better in bigger chunks than the five pages it gets each week. I'm getting the US style reprint series and enjoying it so I can forgive Brass Sun anything. Over in the Megazine the Man from the Ministry is all a bit expositional this month, with not enough British science fiction references to satisfy me this time. I'm still loving it but Brass Sun gets the win for Culbard's colours.
Result: 2-2 and it's still all to play for.
Black Shuck by Leah Moore, John Reppion, Steve Yeowell, Chris Blythe, Simon Bowland Vs Dredd: Uprise by Arthur Wyatt, Paul Davidson, Chris Blythe and Simon Bowland.
I'm still finding it difficult to find any interest in Black Shuck. It just seems like a cheap attempt to produce a Game of Thrones series for 2000AD but all it manages is some clunky dialogue, confusing flashbacks and not enough action to grab me. The Dredd Uprise story gets much more interesting this time and Wyatt and Davidson may actually have something good going on in this story. The rookie who redeems herself, the way they find the sniper, and all the political stuff about the Uprise movement are all well handled and it would appear that my initial doubts about this last month may have wrong. At the moment it's a far better story than Black Shuck and the Trolls so the Megazine sticks it's nose back in front with only one more contest to go.
Result 2-3 to the Meg.
Jaegir by Gordon Rennie, Simon Coleby, Len O'Grady and Ellie De Ville Vs Valkyries by Steve Moore, John Lucas, Len O'Grady and Ellie De Ville.
I'm still enjoying the gothic grimoire that is the world of Jaegir although Coleby's body poses with all those torsos thrust forward are starting to look at bit repetitive and frankly rather uncomfortable. O'Grady's muted colours work very well for the gritty story even when it does explode into psychedelia on the last page.
I rarely read the Megazine floppy freebies in full and rather wish I hadn't this month. It's a shame to remember the passing of Steve Moore with this bit of gratuitous voyeurism. I'm not opposed to some sexy women in a comic strip but this seems more Mayfair than Megazine. Maybe I should stack Jaegir up against the text articles in the Meg but I haven't read them yet so the Prog gets a soft last minute goal to leave the contest tied.
Result 3-3. A draw and despite my moaning these were still the best comics I have read all month. There are four top stories going on in the Megazine and if you're not reading that as well as the Prog you should be.