Covers: Glenn Fabry on Dredd and the Calhab question versus Paul Marshall and Chris Blythe with Dredd and the Lawlords.
I'm not really a fan of either cover, both of which make Dredd look rather buffoonish. For some reason the Paul Marshall version looks like an action figure with all the colours being rather too bright for me. I prefer the muted tones on the Fabry cover so the Meg gets the win but neither cover will be making my top five of the year.
Result: 1-0 to the Megazine
Judge Dredd: Dead Zone by John Wagner, Henry Flint and Annie Parkhouse versus Cascade by Michael Carroll, Paul Marshall, Gary Caldwell and Annie Parkhouse.
Dredd has to step up the action in both stories. In Dead Zone he is perhaps on more familiar territory as he faces down a gang of rogue traders. Meanwhile in the Prog he has to deal with the overwhelming threat posed by the Lawlords. Cascade has been an interesting story which perhaps wraps up a little too soon and all too neatly but it's been fun to see Dredd back out in space again, and I'm always happy when Dollman turns up. It is difficult to tear these two stories and two great creator teams apart. Last month I gave the nod to the Wagner and Flint combination but this time I'm going with Carroll, Marshall and Caldwell for the overall story and the shock of bringing back the Lawlords.
Lawless by Dan Abnett. Phil Winslade and Ellie De Ville versus Aquila by Gordon Rennie, Leigh Gallagher, Dylan Teague and Annie Parkhouse
The Aquila arc wraps up with Gallagher's lovely art and Teague's vibrant colours stealing the show. I'm still not entirely sure what this particular installment has been about other than seeing Aquila defeat a series of big bad guys. Now is probably a good time for me to go back and read the whole thing from start to finish. It does end with a very creepy sequence so bonus points for that.
Lawless continues to establish the new Marshal in town scenario. Winslade's black and white artwork is lovely and he does some particularly fine textures on the backgrounds of the Megabuild. He does show us that Lawson's uniform is as impracticable and uncomfortable as her hairstyle but I can forgive that because of the fantastic science fiction panel of her chasing Jaroo on the robot cat leaper thingy (catchy name for it).
Result: 2-1 to the Megazine.
The Man from the Ministry by Gordon Rennie, Kev Hopgood and Simon Bowland versus Brass Sun by Ian Edgington, INJ Culbard and Ellie De Ville.
Dan Dare punches the Lovecraftian Slithoks while Professor Quatermass explains the plot. Einstein and Turing get their brief mentions just so we all can acknowledge how smart we are, and how terribly bigoted our grandparents were. Hopgood does some lovely stuff with lighting and shadows on faces and the Dan Dare moment is great but this seems to be treading water slightly. However it all kicks off next month so hold on tight till then.
More references in Brass Sun and, just to be clear, that is Kurt Vonnegut appearing as the Watchmaker as this latest arc wraps up with our protagonists on their way to another clockwork world with the deadly android in hot pursuit. I just love Brass Sun, maybe in bigger chunks than this but I still love it. And Culbard's colours are fabby. This one takes the point and do check out the US reprint or the trade which is due soon.
Result : 2-2 and so far I can't tear the two titles apart this month
Dredd: Uprise by Arthur Wyatt, Paul Davidson, Chris Blythe and Simon Bowland versus Future Shocks: Personality crisis by Eddie Robson, Nick Dyer and Ellie De Ville
The Uprise plot gets more convoluted. I presume Wallace is a member of whatever the Wally squad is called in this Dredd-verse, and he has joined up with the originator of the Uprise movement because her cause appears to have been hijacked by some corrupt Judges. This is getting rather interesting and that's without any mention of the robo-cops. Wyatt's version of Dredd could be a bit more intuitive and listen to what his rookie is trying to tell him rather than brushing her aside. And the other Judges just seem incompetent which always bugs me, the Judges should all be nearly as good at their job as Dredd is and shouldn't get wiped out easily by a lone gunman on a motorbike. But minor quibbles aside the story is much better than the first attempt at a sequel, and Davidson's artwork is perfect for this stuff. It's a top thrill.
The Prog's Future Shock did nothing for me. I always enjoy Dyer's art but the story and twist just passed me in a blur.
Result: 3-2. An easy win for the Meg
Calhab Justice by Jim Alexander. John Ridgway and Lol with lettering by Gordon Robson and Annie Parkhouse versus Black Shuck by Leah Moore, John Reppion, Steve Yeowell, Chris Blythe and Simon Bowland.
I haven't read the whole of Calhab Justice yet. I rarely do read all the floppies even though they are effectively free content. But even so it seems more entertaining than the confusion that is Black Shuck. I think the hero has a magic sword and teams up with a hammer wielding Were-Bear to defeat a Troll king but this is another one I need to go back an reappraise now that the story arc is complete. Watch this space for separate and more considered Aquila and Black Shuck reviews.
In the meantime it's another win for the Meg which takes this month's contest with the same 4-2 score that made Guy Britton so happy in the Man from the Ministry.
Still the best things in comics though and always give me a thrill when they drop through the letterbox.