Judge Dredd Megazine: Graveyard Shift (#448) – Various

3 out of 5

The continuation and completion of the multi-verse zombie saga kicked off in the prog.

Here’s what I appreciate: despite this being essentially structured like a bumper issue of 2000 AD, with no text pieces and 6-page stories, this still reads like the Meg, which is a much different beast. The stories of the Meg tend to be a bit heavier in my opinion, owing to the longer format; the monthly schedule maybe asks for a more dedicated reader, so the stories are often more involved, though that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better or worse than those in the progs. And that flavor is maintained in this special.

…But the stories are only six pages. So the way they’ve effected that is by making these individual entries much more linked than the 2000 AD counterpart, which used its multi-verses more in one-shot fashion; here, every appearance is intended to feed into the main story – Johnny Alpha’s assault on zombie Dredd. So, in theory, every story in the Meg is about Alpha either eliminating someone in his way, or recruiting someone to his cause. But in practice, this just means a half dozen writers and artists only get to write half-stories; they have minimal pages to concoct something unique, but also pass the torch off to the main storyline. And it just never picks up steam.

When we make actual movements forward in plot – introducing Anderson; Missionary Man – it works. When it’s just a cameo to get us from A to B – Cadet Giant; Devlin Waugh – it does not. Kenneth Niemand sticks the opening and closing, though, maintaining the guiding spirit of the story and ending it in a very fitting 2000 AD fashion, which doesn’t flinch on its way to justice.