Comics: Judge Dredd Megazine 395 - Reviewed

We review Megazine 395
Judge Dredd Megazine is a British anthology series released by the company 2000AD and mainly devoted to its best known character, Judge Dredd. It also features other characters within the Dredd universe. Each issue features several different stories from different writers and artists. This issue contains five stories and a bonus prologue, with a cover from Brendan McCarthy 

The first story is the finale of “Judge Dredd: Krong Island Part 4” and was written by Arthur Wyatt, illustrated by Jake Lynch, colored by John Charles, and lettered by Annie Parkhouse. Judge Dredd is investigating an ape rebellion on the ape-run Krong Island, with assistance from ape operative Harry Heston. The rebellion is led by Serpico, Heston's twin brother. The rebellion has taken a musical festival, with the aid of the giant robot ape Krong. Dredd uses a giant robot squid from an old Krong movie to battle the robot and defeat Serpico's rebellion. There is a great deal of action in the finale and it's beautifully drawn by Lynch, with so much detail and linework. The panel choices are unique and interesting and the use of a white page background helps make the panels and figures pop out of the pages.

This is followed by “The Returners: Irmazhina Part 2” and was written by Si Spencer, art by Nicolo Assirelli, colored by Eva De La Cruz, and lettered by Simon Bowland. Ciudad Barranquilla, 2140 AD. This South American city is poor and rough, with many people meeting untimely ending. In part one, we were introduced to four very different people who all died. What makes them special is they came back to life. In this part, the four are the only people that can get past a forcefield to examine a mysterious ancient ruin that popped up from out of nowhere. The group sort of resembles the Suicide Squad, they don't like each other and are considered expendable by the justice system. We get a small taste of what they be in store for and potential danger for one member of the group. Assirelli's art is terrific and filled with a decent amount of black shading and his figures are very descriptive with good facial gestures. The colors from De La Cruz are fantastic and really make the artwork pop, featuring a muted earth tone palette.

The third story is “Cursed Earth Koburn: The Law of the Cursed Earth Part 4” and was written by Robert McConville, illustrated and colored by Carlos Ezquerra, and lettered by Simon Bowland. Koburn is a circuit Judge in the Radlands of Cursed Earth, patrolling the outposts and townships in this desolated area and maintaining peace in the chaotic area. The veteran Judge Boyle has gone mad and tried to kill Koburn and his partner Alonso. Boyle has told the other Judges that Koburn is dead and murdered by mutants. In this part, everything comes to a head as a war breaks out between the Judges, mutants, and bandits. Koburn is beautifully crafted by the legendary Ezquerra (co-creator of Judge Dredd and Strontium Dog) and the art is just rich in his unique look and style. It is full of interesting details and loaded with an immense amount of violence. I cannot wait to see what happens next.

This is followed by the new story “Chopper: Wandering Spirit Part 1” and was written by David Baillie, art by Brendan McCarthy, and lettered by Ellie de Ville. This is the first time Chopper has appeared in a Megazine since the first issue in 1990. Marlon Shakespeare AKA Chopper was one of the greatest skysurfers , winning the illegal Supersurf 7 before retiring to the Oz Radback. In this part, Chopper tries to save some inexperienced surfers from a dangerous radstorm. He crashes and is rescued by Karadji Wally who tells him of a dream that foresees Chopper's future. After being helped by Karadji, they encounter a mutant gang and something far worse. The art from McCarthy is truly something special to behold, containing a rich tapestry of bright psychedelic colors to match with this strange world of dreams and monsters.

The fifth story is “Dredd: The Dead World Part 4” and was written by Arthur Wyatt & Alex De Campi, illustrated by Henry Flint, colored by Chris Blythe, and lettered by Annie Parkhouse. Set in Mega-City One, Judge Dredd is battling creatures that have crossed over from an entropic dimension. This is straight horror as Dredd takes on these scary creatures and the mirror world that the dead inhabit. Part 4 sees Dredd in great peril and forcing to make a dangerous decision to save the city. Flint's art is fantastic and filled with heavy dark shading, a great deal of line work, and some excellent gore-filled scenes. The colors only further enhance each panel, adding some extra depth to these creepy monsters.

Finally, there is a prologue tale for Razorback, preparing readers for her upcoming battle with Dredd in next month's issue. “Razorback: A Glimpse of Summer” was written by Michael Carroll, illustrated by John Higgins, colored by Sally Hurst, and lettered by Ellie de Ville. Set in feudal Japan, the beast wanders the snowbound country tearing apart samurai warriors in search of one person whose life will impact the future. The art has a classical feel to it, embodying a style that works great for a story set in the past. The colors are mostly grays and whites to match with the snowy landscapes.

If you like Judge Dredd, sci-fi, and futuristic stories then you really should pick up the Megazines. With multiple tales in each issue, there's always little bit of something to appeal to everyone.