Comic Review 226 // Devlin Waugh: Swimming in Blood

Time to start heading back into Judge Dredd. I have been missing the series of late but wasn't quite ready to jump the whole hog into the case files, so I thought I would warm up with some Devlin Waugh.

Title: Devlin Waugh: Swimming in Blood

Author: John Smith

Art: Sean Phillips and Steve Yeowell

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THE MEGA-CITIES THAT ARE HOME TO THE LAST VESTIGES OF HUMANITY are constantly preyed upon by bestial forces from beyond the realms of decency. Thankfully such monstrosities are kept at bay by spiritual envoys employed by Vatican City such as Devlin Waugh – a Brit-Cit born bon viveur and jolly good fellow to boot.

When Vatican precognitive telepaths predict a horrific presence at the underwater prison of

Aquatraz, Devlin is sent in to investigate and uncovers an uncompromising evil which will cause him to cancel elevenses and abandon the Queensbury rules in order to survive!

Created by the pairing of distinguished scribe John Smith (Indigo Prime) and the illustrious artist Sean Phillips (Marvel Zombies), with additional art from Steve Yeowell (Zenith) Swimming in Blood sets the precedent in elegant, pugnacious fiction!


It felt nice to be back in the post-apoc world of Judge Dredd. I am also glad I started on a more light-hearted collection like Waugh. This title is a collection of Devlin's adventures, starting with the title piece "Swimming in Blood."

But who is Devlin Waugh? Well, we already know he is from the timeline of Dredd and the Mega-Cities. But he was born in Brit-Cit and became an Olympic athlete specializing in flower arranging. From this career, he soon joined the Vatican forces as a trained Exorcist Assassin (two words I never imagined putting together) and now travels the world fighting the occult. He enjoys drinking tea and the company of younger men. His personality traits lean heavily into the sadistic side, and whilst his muscular frame isn't just for show, he loves to show it off.

In the title "Swimming in Blood," we are introduced to Devlin, in heart racing vampire adventure full of gore and violence. The Vatican pre-cogs have sensed something a miss, and only Devlin can solve the case. Sent off to the Bahamas, Devlin discovers an unwater prison called Aquatraz has been overrun by Vampires. We get a survivor-style story as Devlin must defeat the Vampires and save the remaining humans. I enjoyed the story, and the ending was excellent, with some Vampires escaping into the ocean whilst Devlin himself succumbs to a Vampire bite!

After this main tale, we get a short story titled "Brief Encounter,"- Which sees Devlin heading to MC-1 to partake in a Cat show. Of course, Devlin ignores the rules, is soon facing the chin of justice, and is forced into a screening process that discovers tobacco, alcohol, and a large amount of Blood. Along with porn and other contraband. Lucky for Devlin, he has diplomatic immunity, but that doesn't stop Dredd, who changes gears and goes after Devlin's cat!

Then we move into the second main tale, "Chasing Herod." This story begins by being told through the narration of a paparazzi. Who kindly informs us of Devlin's past before revealing that something is coming and that the world's end has come! Soon Devlin is out of retirement and back, helping the Vatican to save the world. This leads us to a collection of adventures where Devlin teams up with previous villains (unknown to me before this) to save the world! It is full of humour, some great characters and a lively narrative.

We then finish up with "A mouthful of Dust," another one-shot piece, where Devlin helps an old friend to find a cure for a demonic disease. 100% filler, but an okay read if a little flat compared to the Herod tale.

Here is where the book should have ended. Instead, we get one of the old Megazine short stories called "A love like blood." A straightforward and dull tale about an overtly obsessed fan of Devlins. Doesn't really add anything and could have easily been left out. Feels like it was thrown in as an afterthought for the collectors?

Overall I really enjoyed the book, and now I have the thirst for more!


  1. If I'm remembering the interview correctly, Devlin was conceived as "what if we crossed Noël Coward with Arnold Schwarzenegger and made him a troubleshooter of the supernatural in Dredd's world"


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